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New connections

New alumni programming will foster relationships despite COVID-19

By Heidi Wicks

The face of the world has changed, and with change comes adaptability and reimagined ways to connect.

Gatherings may look different these days, but Alumni Engagement is finding new ways for alumni and friends to stay together.
Photo: Submitted

As such, alumni programming and events have shifted from in-person events, programs and celebrations to creating opportunities for alumni to embark on new, exciting and blended ways to build relationships with each other.

The Office of Alumni Engagement has reinvented its website to reflect the suite of new, virtual programming and services being offered to Memorial’s alumni family, which spans 100,000 across the globe. While the world remains physically distanced due to COVID-19, virtual and hybrid programming and events are keeping alumni connected.

As well, the Office of Alumni Engagement recently aligned with the Office of Public Engagement. This development merges the concept of public engagement as a principle for fostering connections with alumni and friends with building relationships of mutual benefit and contribution between Memorial and its alumni.

‘New opportunities’

“We are so excited to be at the point where we can start rolling out these programs for our alumni,” said Lynn Squires (BA, BBA’96), assistant director, Office of Alumni Engagement.

“Our vision was to create new opportunities to connect and unite our alumni through learning and mentorship programming, book clubs and virtual events. We’ve offered webinars in collaboration with Gardiner Centre, Student Life and Career Development. We are always open to working with other academic units within Memorial, as well as groups outside of Memorial who can collaborate with us and provide programming that engages and supports our alumni and friends.”

Ms. Squires encourages people to look for the new programming opportunities throughout the fall and winter semesters.

Coast Lines: Alumni Book Club

Coast Lines will encourage alumni to connect through a common love of reading and literature from Newfoundland and Labrador, featuring authors from this province, many of whom are also Memorial alumni.

The first featured selection will be Michael Crummey’s The Innocents. Following that will be three selections that members will vote on. The office will host a virtual event featuring a conversation with each author later this fall.

“We will include graduates of Memorial’s hugely successful creative writing program, which has produced some of the province’s brightest literary voices,” said Ms. Squires.

MUNalum Chapters

The MUNalum Chapters Program provides alumni with resources and tools to help create regional and themed communities across the province, country and globe.

Crowds aren’t gathering right now, but that doesn’t mean alumni and friends can’t connect.
Photo: Submitted

While Memorial currently has chapters in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Houston and London, the office encourages pockets of people to connect wherever they are. Alumni can also gather global groups around topics of interest.

With a chapter Rules and Tools Handbook, as well as support with promotional items and more, MUNalum is all about making the process of self-organizing as easy and fun as possible, whether the goal is to connect with an existing chapter, or create a brand new one.

MUNalum Days

Each October, Memorial hosts a series of events to create opportunities to reconnect with alumni and friends.

While 2020 will be unique, the Office of Alumni Engagement is planning a virtual Alumni Week with events from faculties, schools, departments and administrative units across all campuses.

 

Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for details on 2020’s MUNalum Days, which runs Oct. 26-31. An event celebrating the 2020 Alumni Tribute Award recipients will take place on Oct. 26 (details to come).

Other programs such as GlobalNL and Ten Thousand Coffees offer platforms for alumni and friends to connect, mentor and learn from each other.

No matter where in the world Memorial alumni are, and despite the restrictions imposed by a global pandemic, distance needn’t keep us from connecting.


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