This is the 1st post in December’s Top Tens Series. This guest post was written by Lea Marino, NYC resident and Community Manager for Bizzy (if you’re reading via RSS click through for Lea’s full bio).
Okay, maybe your undergrad years weren’t anything like Animal House. But, if you’re like me, you want to hold on to those 4(+) years regardless. After you’re finished reaping the discounts of your student ID years after graduation, grab your college hoodie and your number 2 pencil.
Surprise! It’s time for a pop quiz.
Q: How can you be an awesome alum of your alma mater?
1) Donate money
This one is probably the most obvious, but very helpful nonetheless. With the cost of college rising rapidly, any little contribution helps. Instead of blindly donating funds, talk with your university and see if it has a fund/scholarship set up to specifically help students finish their education during these hard economic times. You may feel more fulfilled knowing your contribution is assisting a current student and not buying the cleaning supplies used for obliterating Friday night’s puke out of the dorm carpet.
2) Join a local alumni club
The clear win-win choice. Colleges often tap these clubs to help speak with prospective students and man the booth at local college fairs. While one month you could be volunteering for these tasks, the next month you could be reliving tales about what floor you lived on freshman year over happy hour — and making invaluable career contacts in the process.
3) Support the sports teams
You don’t need to go all “rah rah” in order to support your college’s teams. Showing up wearing the school colors works just as well. If you can’t make it back to campus for a game, check the schedule online and see if your team is playing within driving distance of where you live. Buy the family tickets, call your sorority gals, or rent a bus for the whole neighborhood. Wear that school pride proudly! There’s strength in numbers… or a lot of foam fingers.
4) Contribute to its publications
Yes, I do recommend some personal PR and getting that blurb in the back of the alumni magazine with your wedding announcement and new job promotion. In addition, why don’t you reach out to the college publications staff and pitch a story that will benefit your college’s community. Or simply let them know what you’ve been working on and that you are open to being interviewed if any relevant stories come up. College publications are always looking for sources and stories to affirm for alumni that they are part of a community doing marvelous things. So, be that marvelous alum support!
5) Make connections for the university
We often help family, friends and colleagues advance their careers and personal goals. Why should your university be treated any differently? I know my college (Syracuse University) didn’t do much in social media when I graduated a few years ago. It’s come a long way since and I’d help set them up with my contacts and keep them in the loop regarding the latest on the NYC scene. I’m dedicated to helping enhance the programs of the university. Think of ways you could do the same!
6) Help conduct prospective student interviews
I must admit, I was a frequent tour guide on campus and spent many hours supporting the admissions department so this is one of my favorites. With campus’ recruiting across the nation (even world) and admissions departments that can’t have that much reach, volunteer a few times a year to assist with student interviews locally. You will be a great resource for the undecided prospective students in your area and the over-worked admissions department will be thrilled to have your help.
7) Participate in mentor programs
If you’re a recent grad, then you truly understand how helpful alumni informational interviews and mentor programs can be. Graduating college and entering the ‘real world’ can be a scary, unknown world for many recent grads. If you have the time, leave your email and work information with the alumni department. Some even have a form directly on the alumni website. These mentor programs help seniors and recent graduates connect with successful alumni in their target fields. You’ve navigated the waters. Help a fellow alum steer the ship a little better with your wisdom and experiences.
8 ) Engage on social media platforms
Thanks to Syracuse’s awesome community manager, Kelly Lux, Twitter and Facebook have seriously aided in keeping my school spirit at an all-time high (It also helps that the founder of Foursquare, Dennis Crowley, is an SU alum). If you’re already using these platforms go ahead and ‘like’ your college on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. It’s an easy way to keep on top of the latest news and engage with people that you wish you would’ve known while you were at school! I’ve connected with many alums – new and familiar – this way.
9) Go to homecoming
Well, that’s a no-brainer. Plus, it’s fun! [insert applicable fight song here]
10) Have your employer recruit on campus
If you work for a company large enough to recruit on college campuses, set up a meeting with your college’s career services and your human resources department. Universities often bring employers to campus and HR departments will search high and low for quality entry-level recruits. This is a great opportunity to help your company bring in new employees with an education you can happily stand behind.
11) All of the above
12) Other __________
(Please let me know anything I missed in the comments!)