Planting seeds: alumni office works with students to cultivate future alumni
Being a student at Texas Wesleyan is a special experience, one that will hopefully have an impact that lasts a lifetime. The purpose of the Office of Alumni Relations at Texas Wesleyan is to foster relationships with former students and keep them engaged with the university long after they’ve graduated. But for many alumni, staying connected with their alma mater isn’t something they’d given much thought to during their college career.
That’s why the alumni relations team at TXWES works to connect with current students before they leave campus, to help them understand what being a “Ram for life” really means. “Current students are focused on getting their degree, and don’t often think about what their relationship with the university will look like once they’ve graduated,” says Christian Garcia Wommack ’12, Director of Alumni Relations. “The more we can get in front of them while they’re still here, the better chance we have of connecting with them as alumni.”
The programs and opportunities for alumni to connect with their alma mater are often pretty well-known, but how do you foster that feeling of connectivity with current students? It starts with getting out of the office and going where the students are! There are many opportunities throughout the year to meet the students and let them know what the alumni association is all about. Forming partnerships with other departments on campus, such as Student Affairs and the Student Government Association (SGA), helps provide those opportunities.
Here are a few ways in which alumni relations connects with current students:
Graduation: party, pictures, and pinning
The alumni office partners with SGA to host “Grad Toast”, which is a special reception for graduating seniors, held just days before graduation. It’s a great time to welcome students to the Alumni Association and celebrate their accomplishments. On graduation day, the alumni office takes pictures of grads and posts them to the Alumni Association Facebook page, encouraging new grads to connect on social media. During the ceremony, members of the Alumni Board of Directors give the graduates their official alumni pin and welcome them as the newest alumni.
On-campus events and free stuff!
The first day of classes is a great time to be present on campus and greet students. In the fall 2021 semester, the alumni office helped staff an “Ask me anything” tent to help students find their classes and get the information they need. Early in the year, the Student Affairs team also hosts the “Ramboree,” which highlights campus organizations and involvement opportunities. Alumni relations took fun photos at this year’s event and had the opportunity to talk to students about the alumni association. The alumni board also sponsors “Crunch Time Munchies,” which provides snacks and drinks on the day before finals begin. What better way to connect with students than with free food?
With close to one-third of students involved in athletics, supporting Ram sports is an important – and fun – way to connect with students. Getting to know these students, who are very involved and active on campus, helps promote the alumni office to the campus community. The alumni office has a regular presence at home football games and sends notes of encouragement to teams heading to playoffs or tournaments. This fall, the alumni office co-sponsored an all-sports pep rally that included food, games and lots of TXWES spirit right here on campus.
These and other efforts have strengthened the relationship between the alumni office and current students. This helps achieve the goal to help alumni—both past and future—feel connected to and loved by the TXWES community for the rest of their lives.