Alumni Council sets stage for increased engagement opportunities
By Steve Seepersaud
The future begins now, and it is our future to create together. That was the spirit behind the inaugural Alumni Council meeting, held on campus April 26. About 100 closely engaged alumni volunteers and students provided input on the University's and Alumni Association's strategic goals.
Since 2011, the Alumni Association has focused more on overall engagement and involved the entire campus community in this endeavor. Each year, more than 20,000 alumni participate in the life of the University through volunteerism, attending events, staying connected on social media, giving a cash gift or some combination of those behaviors.
To keep the momentum going, the association presented its new strategic goals at the Council session, which support the University's Road Map and can be considered goals for alumni engagement across the entire campus community over the next five years. An alumni task force developed these after seeking input from University leadership.
- Affirm the Alumni Association as the University's centralized organization for alumni relations.
- Develop high-quality programs and benefits that offer value to alumni.
- Create more opportunities for alumni to connect with each other and with students.
- Create more spirit and pride in Binghamton University.
- Support a dynamic alumni volunteer program that provides opportunities, training, stewardship and recognition.
"Rather than present a completed plan [at the Council], we wanted to provide a forum - through a set of energetic roundtable discussions - for our closest supporters to provide input into the important questions we are trying to answer to advance alumni relations, better serve our students and help Binghamton University grow stronger," says Raymond G. Russolillo '80, Alumni Association president.
Those important questions included:
- How can we provide more career development support to alumni?
- How can we bring more alumni back to campus?
- How can we create more Binghamton pride and spirit?
Overall, there are several take-aways for alumni like you: The Alumni Association will be a more visible organization beyond the physical campus. We will continue to invest in the regional chapter system, both growing the existing chapters and implementing new ones in strategic areas. Alumni will have more occasions to connect - in person and online - for professional networking. And, because learning is a lifelong activity, we will leverage technology to bring Binghamton University to you, regardless of time and location.
The Council provided opportunities for students and alumni to interact. A speed networking session (pictured) and alumni panel discussion preceded the keynote session, in which President Harvey Stenger shared updates on the most important projects contained within the campus-wide strategic plan.
"I was here for the conference last year, and it was really nice to hear all the things that were going on with the University, both within the University and what they're doing in the region," says Lisa Fischoff '10, a volunteer for projects including the Liberal Arts to Careers Externship (LACE). "I was excited to come back this year because it was more of an open discussion rather than 'this is what we are doing', it was 'we want your feedback.'"
"I like to come to Binghamton in all seasons," says Dan Cherico '08, co-chair of the Metro New York Chapter. "Knowing that there will be other alumni here is more of a motivator to come back. Events like the Council are a great way to either reconnect or meet new alumni."
See photos from the Alumni Council at our Shutterfly site.
Would you like to help drive the University's future success? We invite you to be engaged with as a volunteer. Learn more on our website and get involved today.
B-CONNECTED with other graduates! B-connected is a secure virtual community only for Binghamton University alumni. Update your personal profile, search for alumni, and submit and read Class Notes.
NEW SEASON, NEW JOB? To help you move ahead in your career, the Alumni Association offers two LinkedIn groups. Make new connections in our Professional Network group and search for jobs posted by alumni in our Job Forum group (and share postings if you have them).
SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH US! The Alumni Relations office is asked to recommend alumni who are expert speakers. If you are well-versed, because of your education and professional experience, in subjects including national security, politics, technology, career networking, environmental studies or etiquette, please contact Melinda Holicky, associate director for volunteer engagement. Include your name, class year, and a brief description of your experience and expertise. Supporting material could include a c.v. or link to your website.
The Alumni Association and Uncommon Goods (founded by David Bolotsky '85) offer the opportunity to purchase banks made from mailboxes salvaged from Newing Dining Hall. This can be a great keepsake of your time as a student at Binghamton. Banks also make great gifts! Purchase a bank today.