As the 150th anniversary of the Notre Dame Alumni Association approached, the organization launched the Re-Envisioning strategic planning initiative. As part of Re-Envisioning, it had Huron Consulting survey alumni, parents and friends and University community partners. The research led its leadership to identify five strategic areas of focus to implement over the next five years. The association has introduced some programming in each of the five areas, and there’s more coming.
Student and Young Alumni Programming
Young Alumni Board: A 16-person board will launch in June with a focus on strengthening bonds between young alumni and Notre Dame. The board, representing alumni under 32, will build relationships with students and assist them with the transition to life as young alumni. The board will also create and promote a broad array of initiatives to engage young alumni, including leadership opportunities within Notre Dame clubs.
Life Beyond The ND Bubble: When surveyed, students, rectors and the Office of Student Affairs identified life skills education — budgeting, cooking, networking, financial planning, etc. — as a need for students. That was the impetus for February’s “Life Beyond The ND Bubble” event for seniors and graduating graduate students. More than 400 students gathered to hear a lineup of speakers that included former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, finance professor Carl Ackermann, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others.
Celebrating Traditions: The survey also revealed a small, yet noticeable decline in the appreciation of Notre Dame traditions by alumni 25 years old and younger. This led the association to develop a traditions-themed book to welcome new Notre Dame students and parents to the University each fall. The first book will mail in late summer. During Welcome Weekend last fall, students received a “bucket list” poster of traditions to experience before they graduate.
Online Learning Community: In the survey, retired and mid-career alumni identified a high desire for lifelong learning. Younger alumni, meanwhile, indicated an interest in brief video content, primarily focused on career and professional development. The association is taking these interests into consideration as it, with the assistance of the Office of the Provost, develops a new online learning community where visitors will find existing faculty lectures, original learning programming, research news and career and professional development content.
Clubs Governance: Notre Dame has one of the most prestigious models for alumni and friends engagement of any university. There are 270 Notre Dame Clubs around the world and all are guided by consistent systems that include officers, similar programs and initiatives (using the “6C’s” — camaraderie, Catholic/Christian spirituality, communications, community service, continuing education and current students) and a points reward system that recognizes club success annually. In the coming year, the association will review the governance model and rewards system to ensure the collective goals of the association and the clubs are being met.Local Community Networking
Career and Professional Development
Last August, the association and the Center for Career Development launched IrishCompass, a robust, online professional community for alumni and students. The more than 9,700 current registrants use it to tap into the Notre Dame network in a wide variety of ways — from networking and mentorship to a private job board (for alumni and graduate students) to industry group discussions.
We Are ND: The Alumni Association launched a storytelling platform (weare.nd.edu) to celebrate all the ways our ND family members are living up to Father Edward Sorin’s call to be “one of the most powerful means of doing good.” We Are ND, publishing online each Monday, tells stories of Domers doing good in the world.
Spirituality Engagements: The spirituality footprint of the association has expanded in the past few months with the introduction of new engagements centered around Liturgical seasons. For Advent 2017, the seasonal website (chapelsof.nd.edu) garnered more than 173,000 video views in the month of December. Each daily video featured a different student providing a reflection of the day and hosting a tour of one of Notre Dame’s many chapels. During Lent 2018, FaithND introduced us to a different work of art each day with a brief narrated audio meditation for each image garnering more than 68,000 audio plays.