University: A Lifelong Relationship.

By Posted in - Alumni Relations & Higher Education & Social Media on May 16th, 2012 0 Comments

Chris Gibbons is an undergraduate finalist on the BA(Hons) Business programme at Durham University. As his graduation fast approaches, he’s keen to share some of his thoughts on how he would like to stay connected with his university and the social media platforms that might support this.

As my time as an undergraduate at Durham University comes to an end, I’ve been thinking about those who I’d like to keep in touch with at my university. After pondering the usual list of friends who will remain in my phonebook for quite some time, I started to think of others I want to continue to connect with. Soon three groups of people emerged; other alumni, my department and current university students. Yes, that’s quite a lot of people, I admit, but I very much believe that with the vast array of communication tools available, it’s not a big ask… and I have some thoughts.

Like any alumnus, I’m keen to connect with other alumni to see what they’re doing, where in the world they are and whether there are any opportunities to learn and/or work with them. Whilst I see LinkedIn alumni groups as a key forum for sharing and discussion, I’d be interested in pushing some of these conversations out into other platforms like Google+ to utilise functions like Hangouts for real-time conversations.

During my time at university, I’ve been quite proactive in exploring the research and events taking place within my department. Whilst I think alumni teams appear to “do” the events thing well, I’m less sure about how well they engage alumni in their research. I don’t want my relationship with my department’s research to end when I’m no longer a student. I don’t need to know too much, 140 characters should be enough backed up with a couple of blog posts around the more prominent research taking place. I’m also quite interested in my university’s take on current affairs, so it’d be good to see some commentary on the upcoming Facebook IPO for example! Hint, hint!

Lots of alumni communications tends to be about them communicating with me, but I’m not just interested in the “stuff” that’s about me. I strongly believe that becoming an alumnus is your chance to give back to your university and support the next generation of students as best you can. It’s a tough world, if I can support others like others have supported me – great! I think it’s important for alumni teams to support this relationship between alumni and current students by providing the forums and opportunities to make it happen. I’m currently a member of the University’s ‘Connections’ group on LinkedIn and will continue to contribute to this, but also keen to share my experiences through blogs and engage with students through Twitter chats. I’m sure I’d learn this and that through the process too!

Hopefully you can see here that I’m keen to become an active member of my university’s alumni community – now go make it happen!

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