October 22–24, 2015
Melanie Pastuck ’11, co-chair, started the meeting and welcomed committee members. Kalina Newmark ’11, co-chair, joined the meeting remotely via phone. Each committee member introduced themselves, their Council roles and their favorite place on campus. The committee's meeting focused on discussion of the committee's potential contributions and current efforts.
Martha Beattie ’76, vice president of alumni relations, joined the committee for a discussion about roles of young alumni in bringing their time and talent back to Dartmouth. Martha shared her own journey as an alumni volunteer and the values and lessons learned from those experiences. Young alumni remain a critical cohort to engage at the College, which is becoming more evident.
It is important to have increasingly thoughtful engagement and communication with students about what Dartmouth will be in their lives beyond their time in Hanover. Young alumni can be and are a valuable connection point to current students, whether through highlighting more non-traditional career paths and journeys or simply modeling alumni engagement and volunteerism. The committee also discussed the possibility to more directly connect with students during Alumni Council and other campus alumni volunteer weekends. The committee may explore carving out time for a reception with students during Council weekends, perhaps during part of the Young Alumni Committee meeting time. This may be more feasible if the committee holds calls prior to its campus meetings.
It was suggested that the committee consider promoting the Dartmouth Career Network more heavily to young alumni. The DCN is a valuable tool for all, but especially students and young alumni. The committee may explore promoting a contest, like last year, to increase admissions interviewing participation. Young alumni engagement in and support of the College's admissions efforts remains important. Young alumni more accurately represent the Dartmouth campus of today.
In engaging young alumni in various regions, it remains important that Young Alumni Chair volunteers partner more closely and integrate further with their corresponding regional alumni club boards. Current students might also participate in regional programming when off-campus. In addition to social events, Melanie suggested further incorporating the academic life of the College in alumni regional programming, especially for young alumni. The conversation with Martha concluded by highlighting that the general goal is to build alumni interest in keeping Dartmouth a part of their lives forever, and in fun ways.
Lou Spelios ’95 and Jack Steinberg ’88 from the Alumni Liaison Committee joined the meeting for conversation about engaging alumni via social media. They shared some overarching results from Dartmouth's Moosilauke Forum survey on the topic of social media. Lou and Jack talked with the committee regarding the Council exploring communications with alumni in new ways, rather than exclusively via email. Social media might be one of the places to engage alumni constituents. This 211th meeting was the first time the Council used a social media hashtag, #dartmouthac. Email seems to be used less and less by younger populations. Instagram looks to be the fastest growing platform across ages. Committee members shared some suggestions and best practices for reaching alumni via social media. Luke Antal ’07 noted one very effective best practice – the inclusion of photos in posts. Other ideas were also discussed and it was agreed that the committee and members of the Alumni Liaison Committee would continue this discussion on a later call.
Melanie then led the group in a review and approval of an updated Young Alumni Committee mission. The new statement will guide the work of the committee in more purposeful and impactful ways, helping young alumni form deeper ways of engaging with the College. The revisions were very well received and unanimously approved. The updated statement now better references the very discussions the committee engaged in during this meeting – with Martha, Lou and Jack. The committee looks forward to further collaborating with others within the Council and Alumni Relations to better incorporate and leverage young alumni engagement. Luke Antal ’07 emphasized the importance for the committee to set deadlines and goals for its efforts, so as to hold itself accountable and keep things moving forward.
The committee then discussed its current effort to establish a mentoring program between the classes of 2007 and 2017. Building on the initial program pioneered by the Class of 2005 and 2015, this summer's program will identify ’07 alumni to lead efforts in the following metro areas: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. (other auxiliary cities may also emerge, depending on available alumni leadership). These leaders will help to attract other classmates to participate. The Office of Alumni Relations will continue to support this effort with the committee and class leadership. Melanie shared that regional leaders should be identified late this fall, with other volunteers identified in the winter. The committee also briefly discussed potential alumni leads for the mentorship program between the classes of 2008 and 2018.
The meeting concluded with a final discussion of intersectional collaboration with other Council committees. Committee members shared the other committees to which they belong and their desires to more intentionally contribute young alumni perspective and insight. Again, it was emphasized that the more recent student experience of younger alumni would be valuable to the Council's and Dartmouth's work. Of particular interest was connecting with current students more as a committee. Derikka Mobley ’10 noted that there are two current students on the Council and this Young Alumni Committee. The committee should more intentionally connect with these undergraduate student members. Mel also mentioned that the Professional Development committee will focus on alumni-to-alumni interactions, and that young alumni perspectives, needs, and ideas are welcome. She will pass along key points to that committee.
After all discussion concluded, Melanie and Kalina called the meeting to an end with thanks to everyone for their participation.