The perpetual underdog, ACRN never expects to win at anything, so when the OU Alumni Associationâ€™s Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Development Greg Scharer announced the winner of the 2008-2009 Outstanding Society Award at this year’s Alumni Leaders Conference banquet, at least the Rock Lobsters in the crowd were shocked.
It wasnâ€™t that we hadnâ€™t tried. Nominations were submitted in all three categories: Outstanding Society, Best New or Reorganized Society, and Innovative Society Program. We are a modest bunch, so we submitted only under protest that â€œwe couldnâ€™t possibly win.â€
We were barely eligible for Best New or Reorganized Society, having officially been formed two years prior, squeaking under the deadline for nomination. Our innovative program wasnâ€™t really that innovative (the Chicago Brunch 2008, which started our national tour), and we didnâ€™t consider ourselves â€œOutstandingâ€ but, apparently the Alumni Association did!
The Alumni Association established the Outstanding Society Award to distinguish societies that demonstrate initiative, exhibit quality, and contribute to the overall participation of alumni in renewing affiliations with their alma mater. Each society may only receive the award once every three years. Notable former recipients include: Society of Advocates, Singing Men of Ohio Society of Alumni and Friends, College of Business Society of Alumni and Friends, and the College of Health and Human Services Society of Alumni and Friends.
The physical award is a plaque and a banner which can be displayed prominently at alumni events, and there is also a $100 gift card for use in the online Bobcat Store, to use to buy merchandise for promotions and drawings throughout the year.
So, why did we win? In the course of the last year we: maintained and revamped our web presence, expanded into social media, and held programs which took our student staff all over the country, directly to you in both Chicago and LA. We met in Athens for two events, doing a live â€œtown-hallâ€ streaming event with a follow-up podcast, and celebrating the 10-year anniversary of our broadcast stream. The society board meets monthly via conference call, which often drags on into the night, and now weâ€™ve started publishing our news online and via this newsletter!
As we continue on into the next year, more events are planned including a co-sponsored â€œWelcome to Columbus, Alumni!â€ event for recent grads, an end of summer picnic, and a yet-to-be-determined event over Homecoming weekend.
We hope youâ€™ll continue to support ACRN by any means available, whether itâ€™s recruiting new students, donating time or equipment, speaking at an ACRN meeting, or just getting to know the current staff and listening. We also hope to see you return at a future event, either in your town, in Ohio, or even in 2011 for the ACRN 40th Anniversary Celebration! (Help us win again, wonâ€™t you?)