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New plan helps students network with alumni

The Bradley Alumni Association plans to keep alumni actively involved with campus activities and connected with students after graduation.
“The BUAA Student Engagement Plan is designed to engage current students with Bradley alumni throughout their years on campus,” Executive Director of Alumni Relations Lori Winters said. “It is a collaborative effort between the alumni association, the Bradley Fund and the Division of Student Affairs.”
In the first year of this plan, several new programs are being implemented. Dinner for 10, New Student Awards and Young Alumni are all items on BUAA’s agenda this semester.
Dinner for 10 involves an alumnus hosting up to 10 students to help students network.
Students will start being recognized as leaders from their first semester on campus through the New Student Awards. One freshman from each EHS 120 class will be chosen as student leaders and invited to a special dinner with alumni and members of the administration.
Another goal of the plan is to inform students of Bradley’s long history, Fan said.
“The BUAA has provided all EHS 120 students with a special edition of ‘The Forgotten Angel,’ the incredible story about our founder, Lydia Moss Bradley,” she said.
Students who are brought into the campus community early in their career at Bradley should be more likely to stay involved through all four years, senior multimedia major Mark Ross said.
“If you are more involved when you are a student, of course you are going to stay involved as an alum,” he said. “It’s the people who do nothing on campus that will never come back to Bradley.”
Alumni-student relations are key to any university’s success, Fan said.
By exposing students to opportunities for meeting successful, connected alumni, Fan said she hopes to add value to what most already consider a fantastic student experience on the Hilltop.
“Active and connected alumni have helped to build this institution for more than 100 years, and they are crucial to the future of our alma mater,” Fan said. “They are mentors, volunteers, donors and advisers on all levels – from classroom speakers and fundraisers to policy makers on the Board of Trustees.”
Fan said she thinks this plan will be greatly benefit students, as it will give them opportunities they would not have unless they knew alumni.
Instilling pride in students will also keep them coming back to Bradley after graduation, she said.
“We want our efforts to help students understand the importance of giving back to Bradley,” Fan said. “That way, when the time comes, they are ready and willing to answer Bradley’s call to be a mentor, host an event, lead an alumni chapter, hire graduates or make a contribution to their alma mater.”
Ross said since he lives off campus he sometimes doesn’t feel like part of campus.
“But I will still come back to Bradley and attend something like Homecoming,” he said. “It will be nice for future students to feel more like part of the community here so they will keep coming back and participating in campus.”
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