Rethink class reunions during COVID-19

Expert Insight

Rethink class reunions during COVID-19

Even as event attendance has declined in recent years, alumni relations teams often turn to in-person programming to bolster affinity. During these uncertain times, colleges and universities are now contemplating what to do with one of their flagship in-person events—class reunions. While a number of colleges have canceled or postponed their reunion weekend indefinitely, below are three different options for institutions rethinking class reunions during COVID-19.

Option 1: Replace in-person reunions with a virtual experience this summer

Smith College is offering their first ever virtual reunion, which will mirror a typical in-person reunion. Alumnae can hear remarks from President McCartney, attend faculty lectures, and connect with their classmates via zoom, all at no cost.

Option 2: Create a hybrid option for blended programming

To connect with Cornellians from around the world, Cornell University has opted for a hybrid model. First, they will host virtual events in June when reunion was originally scheduled. This will allow alumni to participate regardless of their location. If it is safe to do so, Cornell plans to invite the appropriate reunion classes to return to campus to celebrate during fall 2020 homecoming.

Option 3: Launch a dedicated online alumni day

Recognizing that not all alumni are able to travel to campus even under normal circumstances, UCLA has previously offered a dedicated alumni day entirely online. The offerings included virtual tours of places on campus not usually accessible, faculty lectures, and live chats. This option can be a standalone event or as a supplement to an-person gathering.

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