Building a Successful Alumni Engagement Program

Photo courtesy of the Office of Alumni Relations

Alumni and students work together to fill backpacks with school supplies destined for underprivileged schools on the 2011 National Day of Service.

In recent years, college graduates have begun to see their alma maters as valuable resources in both their personal and professional lives. The alumni family at Montclair State is more than 100,000 strong, and the Office of Alumni Relations is helping graduates reconnect in a variety of ways.

According to Jeanne Marano, executive director of Alumni Relations, the University has a deep commitment to alumni engagement. “We use the word ‘engagement’ because it truly describes the active process we use to identify the needs and interests of our alumni, and provide them with programs and opportunities for involvement,” she says.

More alumni than ever before are returning to campus for events; to support admissions recruitment activities; and to take advantage of job resources, share their expertise with current students, or take part in volunteer activities.

The Alumni Relations department is building upon an already successful program to bring engagement to the next level. “Our alumni play an important role in the future of Montclair State because they—perhaps more than anyone—share the University’s vision and commitment to excellence,” Marano says.

“We develop programming that builds on our strengths and resources, and that is responsive to the needs and interests of our alumni,” she adds. “Expanding on- and off- campus activities, programs, benefits and services increases the sense of connection and belonging we want our alumni to have with the University.”

To help understand and address these needs, the department is using alumni focus groups to assess program effectiveness and surveys to gauge alumni engagement in specific programs. Alumni Relations also launched a new online community, MONTCLAIRconnect, and is in the process of redesigning its web presence.

Marano says that the department is also working with the individual schools and colleges to expand offerings geared to their graduates. “This is a very exciting time for all alumni of Montclair State. There are more ways than ever to be involved with the University and the opportunities are continuing to grow. We want to remind alumni that this is a lifetime connection, and we encourage their involvement.”

For more information on alumni events, activities, and resources, visit montclair.edu/alumni or call 973-655-4141.