Often the most elusive animal in the wild kingdom, the Young Alumnus is usually defined by being 10 years out or younger. This rare species sometimes requires special handling, but with proper care and feeding you’ll not only bring fresh ideas to your Club, you’ll secure future Club leaders. Recent graduates may have different interests than older alumni, not always identifying with “traditional” club programming.
Do Your Own Thing
Young alumni today are far more diverse than any previous generations, providing a challenge for Club programming. Plus, very recent graduates may not identify with the label “alumnus” until a few years later, when there has been some time and distance from Yale. (It’s weird enough just graduating and accepting you’re no longer a student, forced out into the Real World.)
Power to the People
A Young Alumni Coordinator/Committee is the best first step in creating an active young alumni population. Provide a budget and encourage involvement in your Club’s board. Other ideas include a Young Alumni welcome committee/person, periodically surveying young alumni for ideas, open planning meetings, etc.
Oldies But Goodies
Don’t forget that young alumni ideas will also appeal to the not-so-young but certainly young-at-heart. While some events should just be for recent graduates, don’t label every activity as “Young Alumni Only.” Just organize the events, and they will participate.
Whether Yale Only or an all Ivy Event, you can’t go wrong with social gatherings. Some clubs have had great success organizing happy hours, singles nights, athletic events, trivia competitions, young artist studio tours and wine tastings.
Lifestyles of the Young and Poor
Between graduate school loans, starting a family and getting a career off the ground, young alumni often don’t have the financial resources older alumni do. Successful ideas include offering free or discounted memberships for recent graduates as well as tiered pricing for events. Consider incentives for referring other young alumni to join the Club (get two friends to join and your membership is free) and special mailings to young alumni who have recently moved into the area. For large events such as a gala or scholarship banquet, offer free admission for volunteering to work part of the event.
Today’s recent graduate is wired in ways you can’t even imagine so be sure your website is current ...
Today’s recent graduate is wired in ways you can’t even imagine so be sure your website is current and electronic communication is advanced enough to appeal to young alumni. Make membership and event planning easy to use with online dues collection and event registration/payment. Consider online chat/discussion groups, links to personal web pages, online club membership directories, etc. Encourage recent grads to become your club’s Electronic Guru/Webmaster.
Survival of the Fittest
Let’s face it, young alumni may not be smarter than you, but they’re sure as heck in better shape, and they definitely enjoy outdoor/athletic activities--hiking, skiing, snow shoeing, road races, wall climbing, etc. Invite other alumni associations to compete in a local athletic event or organize an all-Ivy activity.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Accustomed to the many community service opportunities at Yale, young alumni often continue their volunteer interests wherever they live. Consider a young alumni community service project or “day,” or at least offer a Club-wide volunteer event. Invite the other alumni associations to “compete” for the greatest number of volunteers or volunteer hours on a project, perhaps followed by a social event to bring everyone together.
A Little Love Goes a Long Way
Don’t forget to acknowledge and reward key young alumni volunteers—they may become club presidents one day. Invite your young alumni coordinator to serve on your board or perhaps be a club delegate. Encourage term limits or co-coordinators to share responsibility so volunteers don’t burn out.
Unusual, off-the-beaten path and hard to get into (in other words: hip) venues will more likely appeal to recent graduates.
All the Cool Kids are Doing It
Unusual, off-the-beaten path and hard to get into (in other words: hip) venues will more likely appeal to recent graduates. If you don’t what’s new and exciting, just ask a young alumnus—he/she is sure to know. Considering the typical work hours of recent grads, schedule activities after work hours and/or on the weekends. Look out for grand openings and behind-the-scenes opportunities. Trendy is as trendy does.
I’ve Got a Yale Degree, Now What Do I Do?
Networking/mentoring events are always popular, especially with recent graduates. Some clubs have had great success organizing networking luncheons, receptions, forums, panels and/or seminars with topics ranging from current business and technology trends to the film and theater industries. Consider offering panels specifically targeted to young alumni—financial “check-up,” first home buying, graduate/professional school information sessions, etc. If your young alumni population is small, bring in other ivy associations for a larger pool of volunteers and attendees.
Reinventing the Wheel
Save yourself some time and tag onto existing events such as local art and theater festivals, museum exhibitions, athletic competitions, gallery openings, and public lectures. Build in an educational component to the event such as a private tour or talk. Make a habit of checking community and university calendars, and talking with local ivy young alumni associations. Annually survey young alumni for ideas and suggestions, learning to which organizations they belong and what connections may be interesting and useful.
For God, For Country and For Yale…
Young alumni are much closer to “Yale Today” than alumni who graduated 20-30 years ago and a valuable resource to the Alumni Schools Committee. If a recent graduate seems reluctant to become involved in club activities, the ASC may be a way to connect them to Yale and to other local alumni. Invite young interviewers to participate in club activities and talk to your local ASC Director about potential young alumni club leaders.
Get ’Em While They’re Young
Never forget, today’s student is tomorrow’s young alumnus and possible club volunteer. Keep current students involved by keeping them on your club’s mailing lists, meeting with them during campus visits, inviting them to club events, and supporting them with emails, exam survival kits, etc. Don’t forget Yale parents!
A Helping Hand
Every Yale Club/Association is looking for new and innovative ways to attract and involve young alumni. Keep in contact with other Clubs to exchange ideas. Should you wish to learn which Clubs are “leading the pack” with young alumni programming, contact the AYA.