To meet the goals of the Elon Commitment strategic plan, our community must develop an alumni network that is vital to the advancement of the university. This requires providing alumni leaders a significant stake in the ownership of their alma mater as architects and implementers.
Elon currently has established programs that engage alumni in meaningful ways, through regional alumni chapters and on-campus events and activities. Yet financial support of the university from alumni is on a downward trend despite the fact that Elon is graduating larger and larger classes.
After a year and a half of research, consulting with alumni leaders and university administrators, the Office of Alumni Engagement has assembled a plan to more directly engage alumni in the life of the university. The following priorities will help us build a vibrant alumni network.
This plan seeks to increase the number of alumni volunteers. Alumni are needed to serve as:
These volunteers will receive new training, staff support and university resources.
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In addition, this plan seeks to increase alumni giving participation by utilizing a peer-to-peer solicitation model with a focus on classes and affinity groups. It also seeks to increase the alumni employment information database by 10 percent annually to facilitate career services for both Elon students and graduates.
A top priority of this plan is to educate current students about the lifelong relationship with Elon, especially through the newly established Student Alumni Council. Existing programs to support and celebrate the senior class will continue, but the Office of Alumni Engagement and the university will collaborate on a four-year program that incorporates programming, communication and fundraising activities that explain to current students what it means to be a successful Elon alumnus. These graduates are:
President Leo M. Lambert says often that Elon's success "will be told through the success stories of Elon alumni." As such, this plan calls for new and enhanced ways to recognize Elon's outstanding graduates. This includes expanding the number of alumni awards including the long-standing Elon Alumni Awards (formerly known as Elon Alumni Association Awards), bestowed at Homecoming, and new awards such as the Department of Physical Therapy Education's Distinguished DPT Alumnus of the Year Award and the Top 10 Under 10 Awards for young alumni.
In addition, alumni engagement and communications staff will continue to collect and publish alumni success stories via various media, including E-Net, The Magazine of Elon, on-campus speeches, etc.
Alumni provide an important resource for current students and through their experiences validate the value of an Elon education. This plan seeks to invite at least 50 alumni each year to return to campus as guest speakers in classes, campus organization meetings and other events to share their experiences and offer career advice.
The Office of Alumni Engagement offers an Alumni Visit Program similar to admissions welcome events to incorporate fun activities for graduates and their families who return to Elon. In addition, the plan seeks to grow participation in Homecoming by 15 percent each year through a collaborative effort with student life, schools and academic departments, athletics and other programs.
Because returning to campus physically is difficult for many alumni, the Office of Alumni Engagement's regional programs offer a critical link to the university. This plan seeks to increase the number of regional alumni chapters, in addition to increasing the number of regional alumni contacts in areas not served by chapters.
At the same time, the Office of Alumni Engagement will double the number of its outreach events, visiting more communities and inviting more faculty and staff members to join in. In addition, more frequent events will be held in areas where there are large concentrations of alumni, such as the Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C. areas.