“Creating communities of strong and successful women today”… and continuing them tomorrow?
Posted by Claudia Willett Jan 1, 2011 Alumnae, Best Practices, Community
As a fourth year senior mentor with Strong Women, Strong Girls I have found myself reflecting on the impact this program has had on my college experience and my growth as a woman. On numerous occasions I have professed that the most important thing I have done in four years of college has been working with SWSG. I have built my dearest friendships from within my chapter, developed professional relationships from the mentor-to-mentor program, and most importantly found unwavering self-confidence through mentoring. As graduation draws closer, I can’t help but wonder, what will happen to my relationships within the SWSG community?
I have decided to use this forum to discuss what the structure around alumni outreach for Strong Women, Strong Girls could look like. The overall benefits of the outreach program would include reintroducing alums back into the SWSG community fold and facilitating opportunities to remain involved with and invested in the program and the relationships built from the program. The initial reaction might be to suggest the SWSG offices coordinate alumnae outreach, however, as a mentor I recognize that the movement should come from the chapters themselves.
Chapters are currently working to address the gap between alums and the program. What can chapters do?
- Email/Newsletter: This is an easy first step. Make an initial communication with the alums to figure out interest levels, seek their advice on what they hope to get from alumni outreach efforts and so on. Additionally, or instead, a mailer with a newsletter outlining the most recent events from your chapter might be a good first attempt at creating a connection with alumnae.
- Social Media: The National office does support an overarching SWSG Facebook page and a number of other social media components. However, there are additional options that could be maintained by an e-board member or designated to a mentor. Flickr and Tumblr are two great alternatives for creating photo montages and connecting with a specific group of people.
- Involvement Opportunities: Each chapter is responsible for creating field trips for their specific sites. Often volunteers are needed but are in short supply on a college campus. Alums of the program are a great resource for (wo)manpower and for organizing workshops based around their profession for the field trips. It is a great way to keep the women involved and connected to your chapter and the program!
- Multi-chapter Alumni Events: Each year mentors attend two trainings. We bond over a long and informative day. We travel to each other’s schools and scream the cheer at the top of our lungs together. Why not bring the alums back into a group setting with other chapter alumni? This could be a great opportunity for reconnecting, networking, and relaxing way to support Strong Women, Strong Girls.