Virtual alumni engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Virtual alumni engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic

Four ways universities are providing alumni engagement opportunities on social media

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked many questions for alumni relations teams: how can we continue to engage alumni while also offering support? How do we shift existing engagement opportunities to fit a new format? What tools do I currently have to help facilitate new forms of virtual engagement?

Below are 4 examples of how universities have shifted alumni engagement techniques to fit the new COVID-19 context:

Chestnut Hill College launches a virtual coloring page contest for alumni and their families

To show support for alumni parents and provide a relaxing activity, CHC used the Colorscape app to convert campus photos and logos into coloring pages “for kids and kids-at-heart”. Check out their coloring pages here.

To further engage alumni, CHC also launched a competition via social media encouraging alumni to download one of the coloring pages, color it in, and share it. They plan to compile the submissions into an album and allow alumni to vote for one winner via social media who will receive a CHC prize pack.

The University of Virginia rallies alumni around sports despite wide-spread cancellations

The cancellation of the NCAA March Madness tournament left many basketball fans and alumni disappointed that they couldn’t cheer on their alma mater. Recognizing that many supporters were devastated and searching for an opportunity to connect over college sports, UVA has provided several virtual engagement opportunities across the past few weeks for fans:

UVA is asking alumni to submit pictures of their watch party set-up and form virtual watch parties on Facebook. The goal is to encourage alumni to watch and engage as many networks stream “big moment” games from previous seasons.

UVA is creating videos featuring athletics staff asking alumni to post their favorite moment in UVA athletics history on social media. They’re using these posts to ignite conversations and prompt alumni to take a walk down memory lane.

UVA is sharing Q&As with coaches, student athletes, and athletics staff to maintain and strengthen connections with teams during this difficult time.

UVA is hosting a “UVA Football Play of The Year” bracket challenge -alumni can vote every day via twitter to pick the winner. This is a creative way to fulfill individuals’ desire to fill out a bracket and focus alumni attention on the Fall football season.

UCLA creates a “Health Tips of The Day” Instagram highlight featuring student health center staff

UCLA is using Instagram to keep students, staff, and alumni safe with their “health tips of the day” series. In each health tip of the day clip, the Associate Medical Director of the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center provides a COVID-19 health tip, such as reducing person-to-person spread, testing, and directions on what to do if you have a fever and a cough. To ensure easy access to the series, each video has been added to an Instagram highlight, which remains stationed at the top of UCLA’s Instagram page.

The University of Vermont collects COVID-19 related stories in their call for class notes

In a recent email calling for quarterly class notes, UVM alumni were asked to submit stories of how they’re coping with or affected by the pandemic. The collected anecdotes will be posted on a UVM COVID-19 webpage to build a sense of community during the crisis.

“We are also interested in hearing stories of how alumni are coping/being affected by this pandemic. This content will be included in Class Notes and may also be a part of a webpage we are working on that is focused on how the UVM Community is responding to the current situation. You can email these notes/stories to: alumni@uvm.edu.” – University of Vermont Alumni Association

How are you driving alumni engagement via social media? Are you running a creative Instagram campaign? Doing something fun on Twitter? Leveraging podcasts to connect with alumni? We want to add it to our resource center. Please email it to kcude@eab.com.

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