The Value of Alumni
E. Ramone Segree
It has been said that even if the walls of the institution go away, the one constant that remains is the alumni. For me, this statement connotes the significant value of alumni, though all too often overlooked by institutions and alumni alike.
Students are very busy, focused and engaged in their academic, social, and day-to-day lives, and often do not awaken to alumni status until provoked by nostalgia or the perennial gift request. Institutions on the other hand, are at varying stages of alumni relations ranging from requests for gifts, to class reunions, to alumni associations.
This reality and continuum are also present at community colleges, which have additional challenges to alumni affairs that come from being two-year, commuter, and non-traditional institutions. Regardless of the challenges, institutions and alumni alike will speed up the gain to both by embracing alumni affairs best practices.
The alumni/institution relationship begins with communicating the meaning and value of being an alumnus/alumna before and shortly after student matriculation. Many institutions welcome students into the family of alumni in their first year. Also, it is important that alumni branding and communication be a constant in the institution, and that alumni groups such as alumni associations share in the student and alumni experience.
The value of alumni must be seen beyond giving to the institution. Institutions benefit from the association made between them and the lives, family and experiences of their alumni. Also, alumni are natural ambassadors and brokers for the institution, generating vital ongoing resources such as awareness, students, faculty, and giving.
With 30,000 alumni and nearly 60,000 students, LaGuardia Community College’s family of alumni is formidable and growing. We have both a responsibility and opportunity to connect and reconnect, to develop and support, and to partner and lead our current and soon-to-be alumni for sustaining and enhancing the College and its value.
E. Ramone Segree is LaGuardia’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
This is an article from the September issue of LiveWire, LaGuardia's internal newsletter for faculty and staff.