Sarah Jackson-Han '88, vice chair of the Communications Committee, opened the meeting and explained that Jon Murchinson '91, committee chair, was unable to attend the Alumni Council meeting due to his child's illness. She welcomed the five first-year councilors who have joined the committee. Sarah provided a summary of 2008-09 alumni councilor communications. Councilors sent out 213 emails and reports (more than a 100-percent increase over the 99 reports sent last year) and received more than 600 responsive messages from alumni. The responses of alumni feedback were forwarded by councilors to the Alumni Liaison Committee, which compiled the annual report for the board of trustees. The report has been posted in its entirety and is also available in two sections (body of the report and appendices). These downloading options resulted from a recommendation that was made by Communications Committee member Jay Davis '54.
The committee discussed the meeting summary, which will be produced by Brooks Clark '78. The summary is made available to all alumni councilors for their use when communicating with constituents. Lynne Gaudet '81 of Alumni Relations told Brooks that many councilors liked the format he had used for a previous meeting, which provided both a short "elevator statement" of main points as well as the more detailed summary of the meeting. Some councilors used the elevator statement and then provided their own commentary in their communications.
Communications regarding the 2010 trustee election were addressed. In response to some questions from committee members related to the history of the trustee election process, Lynne Gaudet and John Mathias '69, president of the Association of Alumni, provided information about this. Sarah informed the committee that the Nominating Committee, which includes Jon Murchinson, is working on providing councilors some communications pieces about the trustee nominations. The committee also discussed ideas for outreach to increase voter participation.
Committee members agreed to continue the practice of following up with councilors who do not promptly send out an email to their constituencies. Approximately six weeks after the Alumni Council meeting, Lynne Gaudet will provide each committee member with names and contact information to follow up with some councilors about this. Elliott Weinstein '56 '57Tu mentioned that the committee used to also contact councilors in advance of meetings to encourage them to contact their constituencies in preparation for meetings. The committee would like to do this again, and so Lynne Gaudet will email each member the contact information for some councilors before the spring meeting.
A discussion followed about sending effective communications to gather feedback. The committee would like to recommend to the Alumni Council's Executive Committee that it have a panel presentation at the spring meeting composed of particularly effective Alumni Council communicators who could share some "best practice" ideas with fellow councilors and lead a brainstorming session on this topic.
Diana Lawrence, director of Alumni Relations communications, then made a presentation about online communications and showcased the following sites and pages:
- http://alumni.dartmouth.edu (Alumni Relations home page)
- http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/greennews (GreenNews)
- http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/voxbox (VoxBox multimedia page)
- http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/council/resources (Resources for Alumni from the Dartmouth Alumni Council)
- http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/dcn (Dartmouth Career Network)
- http://voxthevote.org (election Web site)
Diana also mentioned that alumni like to download the Baker Library bell tones for their cell phone ringtone. A holiday email card will be sent to all alumni; the office is exploring the demand for mobile applications, and they hope to place more communications online.
Sarah Jackson-Han discussed the Alumni Council Facebook page, and explained that she would be making a presentation about it to the entire Alumni Council during the Saturday morning plenary session. Also during that session, Mike Backman, director of alumni information resources, was to speak about Dartmouth alumni technology.