As word of the recent wild fires in Southern California hit the news media, Montclair State alumni living near the affected areas began calling the University with offers of assistance to fellow graduates in the region. The regional alumni, who had been getting in touch with each other about an upcoming event, contacted Julie Adams, executive director of alumni and community relations, who decided to create a way for the University and all the Southern Californian alumni to communicate news or offers of assistance with each other.
Within hours, through the collaborative work of Adams, Jeff Giacobbe, director of networks and telecommunications, systems and security; Jeanette Hanlein, data manager in advancement services; and Cindy Meneghin and Matt Pierce of the Web services team, a listserv was set up to connect the University and the over 200 alumni in Southern California. An e-mail with a message of support from President Susan A. Cole announced the listserv and the response was immediate.
Dozens of alumni posted messages telling others their particular situations and offering advice and assistance. The vast majority of the responders were safe although some had had to evacuate their homes and many were dealing with gale-force Santa Ana winds, smoke and falling ash. Through the listserv, alumni found fellow graduates living near them and soon were exchanging e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
Overwhelmingly, the Southern California alumni were thankful for the University community’s concern and for the listserv. Many alumni were not aware that so many other Montclair State graduates lived in Southern California and used the opportunity to begin setting up get-togethers once the situation returns to normal. “It’s been great to read about what folks are doing, and to ‘listen’ to the connections, care and concern. And who knew there were so many Montclair Alumni in the area?” wrote Steve Fiechter ’86. “It’s awesome.”
The Southern California Montclair alumni listserv is still active and growing.