An Alumni Primer

We thought it might be good to give you a quick (ha ha) primer to understand some of the terms we use and the things we do.

  1. What is the Alumni Association?
  2. What is an Alumni Society (and specifically the ACRN Alumni Society)?
  3. How do we meet our goals?
  4. Events with purpose
  5. Past events
  6. What it means to be an involved alumnus
  7. How do I get involved?
  8. How do I donate money?

What is the Ohio University Alumni Association?

The Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA) exists to connect, inform and serve the University’s diverse alumni and friends in support of the University’s Mission and Vision. This goodwill is achieved through strong leadership, dynamic programs and effective communication. The OUAA’s vision is that every alumnus/na be a participant in the life of Ohio University.

The OUAA has several strategic initiatives including:

  • Increase Ohio University’s annual alumni giving percentage.
  • Involve alumni in regional and business development initiatives.
  • Engage alumni in legislative advocacy initiatives on behalf of the University.
  • Develop Lifelong Learning opportunities for alumni.
  • Involve alumni in recruiting a more diverse pool of students, faculty and staff.
  • Enhance the quality of service to alumni.

There are two types of child organizations which help the OUAA support these goals: chapters and societies. Chapters are centered around geographic locations (Chicago Chapter, Nation’s Capitol Chapter, etc) and societies are described below.

What’s is an Alumni Society?

Alumni societies are parts of the OUAA which represent academic departments, offices, and special-interest groups at the university, such as the College of Business, Sales Centre, and ACRN. Alumni societies serve the University through their respective colleges, departments, or special interest constituencies by providing quality leadership training, communications support, and organizational guidance. Societies exist to promote the interests and welfare of Ohio University and the Ohio University Alumni Association.

Specifically, as outlined in the ACRN Alumni Society constitution and bylaws, our purposes are as follows:

  • To inform alumni of the current status of ACRN.
  • To enhance the recognition of ACRN.
  • To raise funds in support of ACRN, its programs and its student participants.
  • To enrich and expand ACRN experience for current students.
  • To advise and consult with the current staff of ACRN regarding the further development of ACRN.

Former President Wendy Sheridan summed up our goals this way:

“Our mission is to bridge the gap between current students and alums while strengthening old friendships and pursuing new ones.”

This is the most important goal of all. We have the ability and responsibility to provide a sort of “institutional memory” for a group which is both transient and whose loyalties are divided between their schoolwork, involvement at the station, and finding employment after graduation.

How do we meet these goals?

We meet our goals by:

  • maintaining a web and social media presence
  • producing email newsletters
  • coordinating activities on campus and around the nation
  • advocating for ACRN on campus and with administration
  • singing the praises of ACRN within the greater community in which we live
  • looking for opportunities for ACRN to grow in all their current endeavors
  • furthering networking and growth of ACRN staffers by hosting regional meetups throughout the year
  • utilizing our own talents for fundraising to support these goals

Events with a purpose:

The OUAA encourages events with a purpose, and to those ends, suggests meeting at least one of five objectives with each event. These objectives are:

  • Actively encourage and promote the value of alumni fellowship, network development and community outreach.
  • Develop of current and establish future Ohio University student scholarships.
  • Champion volunteerism and philanthropy in support of the University’s Mission and Vision.
  • Involve alumni in the effective recruitment and retention of students.
  • Support alumni education, development and training.

Parallel with these objectives, events can be categorized into many types: advocacy, education, social, athletic, networking, cultural, philanthropic, fundraising, and recruiting/retention.

Things we’ve done in the past:

Several of our alumni have been involved in Alumni Chapter leadership (geographic groups of the OUAA centered in metro areas around the world). Even if they didn’t have the commitment to serve on the boards of these groups, advocating for our students and the Alumni Society in planning events in these areas has been a BIG help to our society.

For instance, in Columbus, Ohio, ACRN Alumni Society has partnered with the Central Ohio Alumni Network (aka the Columbus Chapter of the OUAA) for the Central Ohio Golf Outing, from which we raised $95 and increased awareness of both the continued existence of ACRN but also encouraged utilization of ACRN’s mobile dj services. Alumni coordinated a volunteer effort at Columbus’s Community Festival, Central Ohio’s biggest music festival, which gained ACRN some more publicity and renewed interest among the other volunteers.

ACRN Alumni Society also partnered with the Young Alumni of the Columbus area and raised another $100 for continued programming with our first ever Name That Tune event. And, finally, partnering with The Post Alumni Society, the Society of Advocates, and the Marching 110 Alumni Society, launched Central Ohio Alumni Network’s first annual Inter-society Chili Cook-off, which sent $175 to the Athens County Food Pantry, helping support our “hometown” community.

We have also worked with alumni in the media to establish internships. We’ve sent students to meet with influential alumni around the country, and to events in cities where alumni are concentrated (so far: LA, Chicago, NYC, and DC), to foster alumni/student communication and good-will. We’ve also sent students to media conferences all over the country.

Being an Involved Alumnus

So, what does it mean to be an involved alumnus? It means giving back in a meaningful way, whether monetarily, or by giving a student a couch to crash on while he or she is in town for an event, or offering advice. It means helping to set up internships at your place of business, hosting an event in your city, or simply writing postcards to prospective students through OU’s VAAN program. It means, when you’re back on campus, volunteering to speak at a jock meeting, or to meet with students regarding their position or major or job opportunity. It is, most definitely, not all about money. However, if, you feel you can help monetarily, there are ways to do that, as well.

How can I get involved?

Ideally, we’d love to get you involved in leadership, fundraising, event planning, and all of our greater initiatives. But, we also realize you have a life outside of Ohio University and ACRN Alumni. While we know you’re all super, we know you’re not Superman (or Wonder Woman). We only ask that you get involved to a level that you feel is meaningful to you, whether in financial support, event coordination, conference/travel sponsorship (or being a host for a traveling student), or simply by telling your friends about the alumni society, and encouraging them to update their information.

One easy volunteering opportunity is to volunteer to write 10 postcards to prospective students who have applied and been accepted to Ohio U, but haven’t made the decision. This is part of the VAAN program. You’ll be sent 10 stamped postcards, names and addresses of students, and majors/minors so that you can better target your notes. The ACRN Alumni Society Board of Visitors all participated in this project and sent 80 postcards singing the praises of OU (and sneaking in a line about ACRN). To get involved in this program, you can sign up at: http://www.ohio.edu/admissions/vaan/postcards.cfm (This opportunity is closed for this year, but you can still get information about next year and other parts of the VAAN program).

Another easy way to get involved is through the Bobcat Mentor Network (http://bobcatmentor.org/). As a mentor, students (and other alumni) can seek you out for advice regarding careers and majors, or things as mundane as where to live (or not to live) in your city once they graduate.

As far as ACRN involvement, get to know the staff, and provide any encouragement and share any knowledge you can as they move forward in their goals and 5-year plan. Each of the exec positions has an email address, available at http://acrn.com/about/execs/. A copy of their business plan is also available here:

If you’re interested in serving the Alumni Society by either helping coordinate an event in your city, serving on a committee, or even serving on the Board of Visitors (our Board of Directors), contact info@acrnalumni.com.

The “Rock Lobster Fund – ACRN Account” – Monetary Gifts

The Rock Lobster Fund, founded in the early 00’s, was initially set up to students pay the fees for online streaming and to prep for the worst. Since then, the fund has grown, but acts as a checking account for student needs. All donations to the fund are tax deductible, and can be made online via http://www.ohioalumni.org/give-to-ohio (link is on the right-hand side, and don’t forget to choose “Other” from the drop down list and type “Rock Lobster Fund – ACRN Account” in the box below it). The university is working on both a way to do ongoing monthly payments, and a way to do direct payments, but these are currently offline.

So, in the meantime, if you’d like to donate to ACRN on a monthly basis, and your bank offers online bill payment as a service, you might consider the following: setting up a monthly payment (say, $10?) to have your bank cut a check to The Ohio University Foundation, PO Box 869, Athens, Ohio, 45701-0869 (Phone: 800-592-3863) and add the account number (or memo) “ROCK LOBSTER FUND – ACRN ACCOUNT”

If you’d prefer your phone-a-thon money to go to ACRN, simply tell the student caller that you’d like to designate it to “Rock Lobster Fund – ACRN Account”. The same goes for any donation mailing from the university – you can ALWAYS designate your money go to ACRN!

Remember – if your donation goes through these means, it’s 100% tax deductible, and the university will send you confirmation of your gift.

If you’ve read this far

If you’ve read this far, you’re obviously a dedicated Rock Lobster, and we’d love to have you on board. If you’d like to find out about upcoming opportunities, or how you can give of your time, talent and resources, contact info@acrnalumni.com to see where you’d be the best fit. Be sure to tell us where you are (geographically), and if you think you know where you’d be the best fit (communications, social media, event planning, event hosting, etc) let us know that, too.

Rock on, Rock Lobsters!

Leave a Reply