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Making the Case for Alumni Engagement in Education Abroad Blake Hart, SIT Study Abroad Ashley Waggener, University of New South Wales Rhonda Waller, University of Texas – Austin Jen Nielsen, University of Queensland


Why alumni engagement? • Why is alumni engagement important? • What are you hoping to get out of this session?


Engaging SIT Alumni Staying Connected

• Student Ambassador Program • Study Abroad Mentors

Giving Back

• Global Reciprocity Fund • Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship

Going Beyond

• EIL Group Leaders • Human Development Conference


Student Ambassador Program • 19 students selected for pilot program • All students approved by their home campus and their SIT Academic Director • Commitment of one academic year • Engage in at least 6 events/programs at their home campus • 2 days of training at Brattleboro, VT campus • $200 stipend


Student Ambassador Program Benefits for Student • Stay connected with SIT and their host community • Passing along their experience and knowledge to other students • Gain professional skills (event planning, budgeting, networking, etc.) • Resume building Benefits for Home Campus • Ambassadors collaborate with study abroad office on all programming • General study abroad outreach and promotion • Students compensated by SIT Benefits for SIT • Student trained on how to talk about SIT and their experience • Dedicated student to help with fairs, info tables, info sessions, etc. • Gain knowledge of campus culture

2012-2013 Student Ambassadors Training in Brattleboro, Vermont


Student Ambassador Program International Research Sampler • Proposed by CU Boulder Ambassador Annie Brashear • Opportunity for CU students to present their research completed abroad • 8 students participated • Faculty, staff, students, and family members attended • Becoming an annual event on campus


Global Reciprocity Fund • Opportunity for alumni to support local initiatives in their host country that benefit marginalized communities and change lives • Alumni propose a project to the Academic Director of their program for SIT’s and the local community’s approval • Alumni create a personal fundraising page for their project on the SIT website • All money raised by the alumni is received by SIT Study Abroad and transferred to the Academic Director in the host country to apply to the project


Global Reciprocity Fund Current Projects for Funding: Kids’ Books Bolivia •

Production of bilingual children’s books written by SIT Study Abroad students

Few For Change •

Provide financial assistance to high-achieving middle and high school students in Panama who would not otherwise be able to continue their studies

Hazo Kily •

Provide funds to repair schools, purchase school supplies, and offer scholarships to students in Southern Madagascar

Shirazi Community Health Clinic •

Help bring affordable and accessible healthcare to an underserved population in Kenya


Global Reciprocity Fund Kids’ Books Bolivia

• Created in 2008 • A series of bilingual children’s books researched and written by SIT Study Abroad students • Books serve to celebrate Bolivian reality and raise awareness about Bolivia’s rich Laura Sprinkle, Gettysburg College cultures and pressing social issues. Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change • All funds are used to subsidize the production of low-cost books, book donations, and workshops in Bolivia • Books are donated to Bolivian children, schools, libraries, community organizations and literacy programs


All of the books in this series are bilingual (Spanish and English) and some are trilingual in one of Bolivia’s 36 indigenous languages. The books are designed to celebrate Bolivia’s diversity and affirm the cultural identity of a people who hosted our authors with open arms.


Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship • A living tribute to Alice Rowan Swanson, an SIT: Nicaragua 2006 alumna • Awards of up to $5,000 awarded twice annually • Returns SIT Study Abroad alums to their host countries to conduct development projects that benefit human rights


Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship Salome Vanwoerden • Rice University alumna • Psychology and visual arts major • Nepal: Development and Social Change 2009 alumna Fellowship Project • Photography and art therapy class for mental health patients at the Maryknoll Mental Rehabilitation Center in Kathmandu • Project provided patients with easy to use 35mm cameras • Patients explored the creativity and independence that comes with artistic expression

“Just the act of creating something and getting feedback really helped their self-esteem.” –Salome Vanwoerden

Currently • Organizing an exhibit to feature the patients’ photographs in galleries in the US • All proceeds from the exhibition will go directly to the Maryknoll Mental Rehabilitation Center


• UNSW & Study Abroad - Friends and US Alumni Inc, is a 501(C) (3) organization


Range of activities for UNSW graduates based in the US including: – Events for alumni and friends throughout the year – University exchanges for staff and students – Guest lectureships by graduates and experts in their field

– Opportunities to donate to UNSW enhancing students' lives, building on UNSW research efforts and supporting the University's goals


• Giving options: – General Scholarships and Fellowships – Study Abroad Scholarship Fund – The US/Aust Scholarship and Fellowship 




• Alumni Events:

– How are they beneficial to fundraising?

Nurtures connection to the University Informs alumni of current affairs/successes Increases research and industry linkages Networking between recent graduates and more established graduates • Promote future study at the University • • • •


• Challenges:

– Communication between Study Abroad Office and Foundation Office – Unified support from all departments/levels – Maintaining current contact information – Hosting events in multiple cities


• Ways we’ve been successful: – Joint events with other Australian Universities in the US – Bringing in relevant speakers – Outreach

• Things we hope to do in the future: - Start city chapters - Look at incorporating community service into events - Host more events specific to Study Abroad Alumni


The

Perspective


After study abroad…at UT Three years ago… 1. StüfSA 2. Planet Longhorn


After study abroad…at UT Now… StAMP: Study Abroad Mentor Program - Currently defunct

- Purely social


Programming One year ago: The Pizza Party concept Now:


Shameless Plug


The future Expanding partnerships More programming which is career-focused ???


The UQ Perspective UQ North America Office: – Collaboration between UQ International and UQ Advancement Office – Purpose: engagement with US and Canadian alumni, institutions, government, businesses


External communication with alumni


Internal Communication about alumni International Alumni Steering Committee – Meet four times a year on campus – Drive the strategy for engaging with UQ’s overseas alumni – Goal of creating stable and sustainable alumni networks in strategic places around the world

UQ Alumni Overseas , 17%

In Australia, 83%


Discussion Themes: Alumni Engagement ALL: Identifying your alumni Group 1: Marketing and recruitment Group 2: Fundraising Group 3: Communications Group 4: Careers and networking


ALL: Identifying your alumni • Who are your ‘alumni’? (exchange students, short term study abroad, faculty led, international students, etc.) • How do you capture that data and ensure it’s up to date? • Ownership of alumni – who owns alumni engagement on your campus? Who manages it on an ongoing basis?


GROUP 1: Marketing and Recruitment ?s 1. How can education abroad offices effectively utilize alumni to promote study abroad on their campuses? 2. What types of activities can alumni undertake to assist education abroad offices? 3. What type of incentives are effective/appropriate for alumni who assist in marketing and recruitment efforts? 4. What are the obstacles and/or drawbacks to consider when recruiting alumni for marketing and recruiting efforts?


GROUP 2: Fundraising questions 1. Who has successfully raised money for education abroad through alumni engagement? How have you done it? 2. How can education abroad offices work with their advancement colleagues to raise money for international programs, scholarships, etc.? 3. What are the benefits of starting a foundation? What are the challenges?


GROUP 3: Communications questions 1. How are you communicating with your alumni right now? How would you like to communicate with them in future? 2. What role does social media (Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) play in engaging with your alumni? What works best, and what doesn’t work? 3. Who is responsible for communicating with alumni? If it’s more than one office, how do you coordinate those communications? 4. Do you have any best-practice examples to communicate with your alumni?


GROUP 4: Careers & Networking ?s 1. How can education abroad offices use alumni to mentor, network and engage with recent returnees? 2. What platforms for engagement might exist, outside of the education abroad office (possibilities for collaboration)? 3. Identifying Internships? /Future study (postgraduate) opportunities?


Contact Details Blake Hart University Relations Manager (Southwest Region), SIT Study Abroad blake.hart@sit.edu Ashley Waggener International Coordinator, North America, University of New South Wales a.waggener@unsw.edu.au Rhonda Waller Advising Team Leader, University of Texas- Austin International Office rwaller@austin.utexas.edu Jen Nielsen Associate Director – Education (USA), University of Queensland jen.nielsen@uq.edu.au


Makingthecaseforalumniengagement