Saddleback reaching out to Alumni for the first time

Shivan Cespedes & Kristen Wilcox

 

For the first time in Saddlebacks history an Alumni outreach has been implemented, in hopes of attracting donations, scholarship funding, and bringing together the Saddleback alumni community.

An alumni survey was taken by the Saddleback College Foundation headed by Jennie McCue and backed by director Donald Rickner. The survey was commissioned in October of 2011 and distributed in the Spring.  ” The idea of alumni did not get going until the CSU’s did it in 1992. Community colleges in the mid eighties had only 60 million alumni.” Don Rickner said. While alumni is a fairly new concept to community colleges Saddleback is ready to succeed in their round-up. The purpose of the survey will have a financial benefit but, will also benefit the alumni community that they hope to bring together.  A wide array of alumni functions will be geared to invite current students as well as alumni. The current difficulty with event planning is the lack of staff needed to operate the events. The funding for these events come out of the President’s budget and does not harm or affect students. The alumni outreach operates as a non-profit foundation 501C3.

The main function of the alumni is to increase scholarship funds. As of right now there are 188 scholarship funds and half lay dormant. This project will talk to the dormant donors for emergency student support, asking why their scholarships have not been utilized, if they would like to keep them open and how to best promote them. The five initiatives of the project are scholarship and veteran support, capital campaign, help funding the arboretum trail project, planned giving for the Emeritus Institute, and an event for the annual gala.

Although being in the ‘baby stages’ of this project, the foundation has begun to host and be involved in certain functions like the homecoming ,which was the first effort, and the upcoming dedication of the new library.  During the homecoming which had a turnout double of what it was last year, names of alumni members were taken and are being compared to the list of alumni’s they have from the survey, which is 130,000 out of 500,000 known alumni members. Other efforts to contact alumni by way of social media and snail mail have been slow. The survey uses a service that contacts the alumni and so far 400,000 alumni have not been reached, with an additional 110,000 already validated. For any alumni’s who would like to take the survey, please go to:http://alumni.saddleback.edu/s/1343/index_wide.aspx?sid=1343&gid=1&pgid=373   

The foundation hopes to gain solid alumni members.   When asked what would motivate former students to wish to join alumni Rickner responds “Because Saddleback made a difference in their lives.”  Alumni can contact this program through Saddleback College Foundation’s office at:http://alumni.saddleback.edu/s/1343/index_wide.aspx?sid=1343&gid=1&pgid=327

 

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