From the Alumni Office:
Can We Talk?
Yes, in so many different ways!
For almost a year, the Alumni Board of Directors has been discussing networking as a way for alumni to connect with Siena Heights. Early conversation focused on how alumni might assist current students—offering mentoring or job shadowing opportunities, welcoming student interns, or simply sharing the wisdom of experience. In a pilot effort, a few alumni did some wisdom-sharing at Homecoming last year, discussing careers with students over Saturday morning coffee.
The talk since then has gone in many directions: How do we bring students and alumni together? What programs or activities might work? And, at our February Board meeting, this question: What are the benefits of connecting undergrads and graduates? Does it make a difference?
Katie Hatch ’07, vice president of the Alumni Board, recalled the impact of a now-nameless art alumna who spoke in a long ago class in Studio Angelico: “She was a woman who worked, had a husband and children, and did her own art, too,” Katie said (attending this Board meeting by Skype from her snowbound home near Akron). “I thought, ‘Wow. If she can teach, have a family, and also do art—I can, too.’ After that, I was ready to major in art. It was a pivotal moment.”
Dennis Reeder, a past Board president, shared a similar story in reverse. At two successive Homecomings, he met Carol Krueger ‘05, who was then a theater major serving as the student rep on the Alumni Board. “I hadn’t been back to Siena in years, and Carol took me all over campus, told me about new programs, introduced me to everyone,” Dennis said. “After the second time, I was hooked. I could see everything that was happening here, and I wanted to be involved.” And so began Dennis’ “ten incredible years” of service on the Alumni Board.
So, yes, giving students and alumni that chance to talk together does make a difference.
Talking face to face is great, of course; but not everyone can make it to Homecoming or into a class on campus. What then? Fortunately, technology today provides lots of options: Facebook,
Twitter, and other social media. (See Social @ Siena on the SHU website for more options.)
One of the most effective new ways to connect—with students and other alumni—is through LinkedIn. If you’re not yet on LinkedIn, think about doing it. In the coming months, Siena marketing, alumni and career services staff will be exploring more ways to share and exchange career information and advice through the University page on LinkedIn. If you have suggestions, we’d like to hear them. (You can email, text, post, call, Skype or even send a letter!)
Of course, the Alumni Office will continue to provide as many opportunities as we can for good old face-to-face conversation at alumni events, both on campus and in your area. So whether you live in Adrian or Timbuktu, if you’re wondering “Can we talk?”—the answer is: Yes, we can!
Jennifer A. Hamlin Church
Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations