Michigan State University has more than 460,000 alumni. A number of those come from the school’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences and were PRSSA members. The Ned S. Hubbell Chapter of PRSSA at Michigan State University values this alumni base and works in many ways to create a relationship that benefits both the alumni and the Chapter. On our executive board, there is a designated person to handle affairs with alumni – the vice president of alumni relations. This member works toward the goal of building relationships with as many Chapter alumni as possible.
Even without a designated member in this role, an alumni program can still be developed. Divide initiatives among the executive board and members. As the program grows, an executive or committee can be added later.
Use social media to keep up with your Chapter’s alumni – follow them on Twitter, create a LinkedIn group or a circle on Google+. This will help initiate two-way communication. Another great way to update your alumni on everything going on in your Chapter is through a newsletter. The newsletter can include content on upcoming events and other Chapter updates. They can be distributed as frequently as needed – MSU releases three to four a year.
A key part of MSU PRSSA’s alumni relations is the Mentor-Mentee program. Alumni are recruited and matched with current members based on career aspirations and background. Some mentees can meet their mentors locally for coffee or lunch on a regular basis; others use Skype and email to communicate with mentors across the country. The mentor and mentee establish their own guidelines and goals for the program. This usually opens doors for members and is a great outlet for advice.
Chapters without an established alumni base can begin building one. Before members graduate, get their contact information and place of employment when available. Create and updated spreadsheets and keep them in the files you will pass down to future board members.
It is crucial to maintain these databases in order to grow your program. Check in on these new alumni within a few months of graduation. Include them in newsletters and events. Continuing this practice will build an alumni base that will help your Chapter in the future.
PRSSA alumni can help members network, prepare for interviews, and provide advice for internships and post-graduate careers. Leveraging alumni has also led our Chapter to guest speakers, advancement of Chapter programming and many learning opportunities. They can provide resources to the Chapter and help it grow. It is important to recognize the importance of the alumni base – build beneficial relationships by showing alumni how much the Chapter cares about them. Don’t forget about alumni, and when members graduate, don’t let them forget about the Chapter.
About the blogger This is a guest blog post by Jeannette Conklin, president of the Michigan State University PRSSA Chapter. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter Follow the Michigan State University PRSSA Chapter at msuprssa.org. [twitter_follow username=”JeannetteConk” language=”en”] [twitter_follow username=”MSUPRSSA” language=”en”]
[highlight]How does your Chapter work with your alumni? Share your experiences with us. [/highlight]