Last Updated on August 4, 2023
Alumni events serve as a powerful conduit for keeping graduates connected to their alma mater. They provide a platform for networking, reminiscing, and strengthening the bonds formed during school or university years. In this post, we will explore several innovative alumni event ideas to engage and delight alumni, while fostering a strong sense of community.
The Importance of Staying Connected
Staying connected through alumni events offers mutual benefits for both the alumni and the institutions. For the alumni, these events provide opportunities to network, share experiences, and even provide mentorship to current students. For the institutions, active alumni engagement can lead to increased support, both in terms of advocacy and donations.
Here’s a few successful alumni programs you might find inspiring:
- The University of Michigan’s Alumni Association offers a wide range of programs to engage its alumni, including the “Career Coaching Program” that helps alumni grow professionally and “Camp Michigania”, a family camp for alumni. They also offer an “Alumni Education Gateway” that provides access to the university’s educational resources, and a “Travel Program” that organizes travel tours with educational and cultural emphasis, guided by faculty from the university. Lastly, they facilitate a “Clubs Program” that promotes regional engagement through local clubs and events.
- Harvard University has a wide array of events all over the world aimed at engaging alumni in lifelong learning. They also offer an annual Alumni Day that’s available in person or streaming online.They organize various alumni events, including reunions and global networking events, to keep alumni connected with the university and with each other.
- The University of Southern California conducts a “Trojan Family Weekend” which invites parents and family members of students to experience life at USC. This event provides an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with the university, as well as engage in various activities and workshops. They also have a “Day of SCervice” event where alumni, parents, and friends participate in volunteer service projects all over the world, fostering a sense of community among participants and strengthening their bond with the university.
Alumni Event Idea #1: Virtual Reunions
The first of our alumni event ideas is the virtual reunion. As technology evolves, so does our ability to stay connected. Virtual reunions provide a platform for alumni who may be spread across the globe to reconnect and share memories. They also offer a cost-effective and inclusive alternative to in-person events.
During the pandemic it felt like hundreds of companies that offer virtual event solutions sprung up, so you have many choices for creating your virtual reunion. Some of the biggest players in this space are Hopin, Hubilo, and vFairs.
The key to a successful virtual reunion lies in making it interactive and engaging. One way to achieve this is through the use of social media hubs. Everwall allows your alumni to post on social media (or a web form) and have those posts become a part of the virtual reunion. This not only fosters interactivity but also generates a sense of unity as alumni can see their posts alongside those of their peers.
Elevate your alumni event with Everwall’s interactive social wall, connecting and engaging graduates like never before! Start building your social wall today!
Alumni Event Idea #2: Career Networking Events
Career networking events stand out as one of the most beneficial alumni event ideas. These events can provide alumni with valuable industry connections, potential job opportunities, and insights into the latest industry trends.
Organizing career networking events requires careful planning. Focus on industries or job roles that are relevant to the majority of your alumni. Invite accomplished alumni or industry leaders as speakers to share their experiences and insights.
To encourage networking, consider implementing speed networking sessions or breakout rooms where alumni can have discussions in smaller groups. This can help to facilitate more meaningful connections and make the event more personal.
Alumni Event Idea #3: Mentorship Programs
Mentorship programs serve as a valuable conduit for transferring knowledge and experiences from seasoned alumni to current students. Not only does this enrich the learning experience for students, but it also provides alumni with a sense of giving back to their alma mater.
Implementing a successful mentorship program involves careful pairing of mentors and mentees based on their interests, career goals, and personalities. Regular check-ins can help to track the progress of these relationships and provide support when needed.
Such programs have the added benefit of strengthening the ties between alumni and the institution, and fostering a culture of support and continuous learning.
Alumni Event Idea #4: The Classic 5/10/20 Year Reunion (But Make It Themed!)
Themed reunions are another great addition to our list of alumni event ideas. Themes can be based on graduation years, majors, or any other shared experiences that can help alumni reconnect on a deeper level.
When planning a themed reunion, focus on creating an atmosphere that resonates with the theme. For example, a 90’s themed reunion can feature popular music, decor, and even attire from the 90’s.
Here’s a list of some ideas:
- Decades theme: Choose a decade like the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s and ask attendees to dress in the style of that era.
- Sports theme: Encourage attendees to wear apparel from their favorite sports teams, or gear from sports they participated in during school.
- Masquerade Ball: This theme adds a touch of elegance and mystery to your event. Attendees can come in formal attire and masks.
- School Spirit: A classic theme that never goes out of style. Alumni can wear school colors or the institution’s mascot costumes.
- Superhero theme: Alumni can dress up as their favorite comic book or movie superheroes.
For in-person reunions, having a social wall from Everwall can enhance the experience. It allows alumni to share their memories and experiences on a large screen in real time, adding a dynamic and interactive element to the event.
Alumni Event Idea #5: Fundraising Events
Fundraising events are a classic but still effective approach to alumni events. These events not only raise funds for the institution while also providing a fun and engaging experience for alumni. Here are a few ideas to inspire your next alumni fundraising event:
- Charity Run/Walk: Organize a 5K run or walk where participants can raise funds for their alma mater. This promotes health and wellness while also bringing the community together for a good cause.
- Silent Auction: Collect donations of items or services and hold a silent auction. Alumni can bid on items, and the proceeds go to the school.
- Alumni Merchandise Sales: Design and sell merchandise that celebrates the school, such as t-shirts, mugs, or bumper stickers.
- Sponsor a School Project: Have alumni sponsor a specific project at the school, such as a new building or a piece of equipment.
- Social Media Challenge: Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, create a unique social media challenge that aligns with your institution’s mission. Encourage alumni to participate and share on their social media platforms. This not only raises funds (through donations if your cause is worthy enough) but also increases awareness about your institution.
In conclusion, these alumni event ideas all provide numerous ways to keep graduates connected and engaged with their alma mater.
We invite you to explore and implement these proven strategies in your own alumni programs. Each idea offers a wealth of possibilities to deepen your connection with your alumni. From creating engaging learning opportunities to building strong community ties, there’s something for every alumni community to benefit from.
Remember, the most successful programs are those tailored to the specific needs and interests of your alumni. So, don’t be afraid to adapt these ideas to better suit your context.
We’d love to hear about your experiences. Your success stories could inspire others to strengthen their alumni engagement efforts. So, get started today, and don’t forget to share your journey with us!
Unite your alumni with unforgettable events using Everwall’s interactive social media hub. Experience real-time connections and create lasting memories.
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