by Ty Saini '93
I am no stranger to the question, “What does the Alumni Council do?” Officially, we advise the college president and members of the senior staff on matters pertaining to the college in general as well as specific alumni issues. This certainly is no small responsibility and a rather large purview. Realistically, where should we begin, and what can we truly offer the college community?
At our Executive Committee retreat, which was held on campus during Homecoming & Family Weekend, the Alumni Council’s leadership had the opportunity to meet and strategize for the near future. Our guiding question for the next two years is to ask ourselves, “What does an engaged Dickinson alumni body look like?”
Certainly, there are many facets to this question, and once we better understand each component and how they relate to one another, it is our intention to provide meaningful opportunities for all alumni to better support one another, current students and the college. This, in my opinion, is why we exist as a council.
To this end, since the council’s first meeting after the retreat intentionally coincided with Networking Day on Nov. 2, we charged the Career Committee (there are five committees serving the Alumni Council) with facilitating our general session. David Lee ’92, chair of the committee, along with Phil Jones, dean of career development and assistant vice president for student development, proposed an important and realistic goal for Dickinson this year: identify and recruit 2,000 alumni to volunteer as career mentors.
We discussed the need to enlist the support of alumni in this arena, the method by which we could ask alumni to help in this endeavor, the desire to make it easy for alumni to sign up (no lengthy questionnaires, asking you to sign into portals with passwords that you don’t remember, etc.), the ability for current students and interested alumni to access the database for their professional development, a timeline and costs associated with achieving this goal.
Later that afternoon, we shared our vision, discussion and findings with other alumni and seniors during Networking Day. It was remarkable how many alumni were interested to know what we hoped to achieve, the urgency we collectively recognized and their willingness to help (many even offered financial support). If we could reach out to the nearly 5,000 Dickinsonians on LinkedIn, after we have the mechanism in place to capture their commitment and make the database easily accessible to students, we could quickly turn around and help today’s students and recent graduates as they navigate life beyond Dickinson. The purpose of an Alumni Council and, more importantly, the alumni body, is well articulated when we can work with the college, identify a problem and leverage our time, treasure and talent to find meaningful solutions.
As the Alumni Council’s year progresses, we will be tasking other committees to identify similar goals relative to communications, development and alumni and student engagement. Please visit my.dickinson.edu for updates, and send any suggestions or thoughts to email@example.com. I would like to personally thank everyone who attended the Volunteer Leadership Summit (VLS) last August as well as Networking Day in November. The next VLS is Aug. 2-3, and Networking Day will be Nov. 1. Please consider participating in these events and mark your calendar now.
Published January 15, 2014