Local chapters of UM’s Alumni Association in 28 different cities welcomed new alumni to their area Sept. 12.
The Alumni Association Regional Engagement and Young Alumni Programs Team sponsored the first annual event called “Welcome to the Neighborhood.” The initiative was meant to increase membership by getting young alumni to network and learn about the resources in their local chapter.
The program had almost 1,900 registrants for its inaugural year.
At the New York City event alone, more than 200 alumni met at the Hudson Common in Columbus Circle. The NYC chapter of the Alumni Association has the largest membership outside of Florida.
As attendees signed in, they were given handouts on different alumni benefits, ways to stay connected with other alums, and “best of” surveys that had recommendations on favorite NYC spots that included best places to get a haircut, best happy hour spots, and the best place to watch a UM game.
“‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ is a great tool to let people know this is a great family you’ve walked into and to rekindle relationships we had and develop new ones in a social setting,” said Asgar Ali, president of the NYC chapter. “Sometimes alums are in an unfamiliar area and we want to establish a level of comfort for them.”
And alums are responding positively to the Alumni Association’s efforts to step up its presence and offer more networking events.
“I didn’t even know the [Alumni Association] had events like this,” said Nick Harbaugh who graduated from the masters program in multimedia journalism. “It is a great opportunity to make contacts.”
Alexa McCanisk, a 2012 MBA graduate, agrees. A UM alum recruited McCanisk for a top Wall Street bank position.
“I came because I am very local to my school and its social events,” she said. “I have definitely seen more events lately and I plan on supporting them.”
According to Adlar Garcia, director of Career Services & Alumni Education, “Welcome to the Neighborhood” is just one of many programs the Alumni Association is planning.
“The huge turnout at the NYC reception is a testament that our alumni have one of the strongest affinity and that they want to maintain their network,” Garcia said. “We are taking a holistic approach to give alumni the best by also offering more career-related forums for them.”
According to Garcia, the association is piloting a program called Global Networking Day that is scheduled for April 30, 2014. The program’s aim is to provide additional opportunities for alumni to network and connect with fellow alumni and professionals in various locations throughout the country and abroad.
The program is designed for alumni clubs to organize a networking event held in their city on that day. The networking events will be in the form of breakfast or lunch panels, career forums or a simple networking night at a local venue or business. The Global Networking Day will be part of Professional Development Month in April 2014.
There will also be a series of webinars on leadership and networking during that month. UM Campus Career Services Center partners will also be encouraged to participate in the Professional Development Month by providing speaker and panel suggestions, programming, staff participation and expertise.
Veena Abraham, senior director of Alumni Programs and the mastermind behind the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” program, attended the Los Angeles event which hosted more than 100 people.
“This event was created to welcome alumni to their local UM community and to let them know they have a local alumni community that can be a resource to them and there are many benefits that the UM Alumni Association offers to alumni,” Abraham said. “Through the event in LA, we were able to introduce our alumni network leadership and find new volunteers that will help bring the Los Angeles UM community to the next level.”
The Association hopes to host “Welcome to the Neighborhood” annually in the fall. For more information, visit miami.edu/alumni.