New Theme Connects Alumni

Members of the Ford Scholar Alumni Association Board chose “connecting” as this year’s theme.

After much discussion at its annual meeting in Eugene, Ore., on July 14, board members agreed to focus on engaging alumni rather than the traditional planning of events.

New FSAA board member Robert Teel concluded by saying, “With less than 10% of the alumni body actively participating in our events and voting in elections, lack of involvement clearly remains our largest obstacle as a young organization. Holding events will be continually frustrating due to low attendance and dwindling membership activity if we do not change our method of reaching out to alumni.”

FSAA President Andrea Smith added that she has “heard from many alumni that feel they lose touch with their classmates once they graduate.” Smith went on to say, “Many alumni also have a difficult time finding employment and volunteer opportunities and likely have a desire to ask their Ford Scholar classmates for help. Alumni want to be more connected.”

According to a recent article, “How many alumni live near you” on the FSAA website, alumni membership now stands at 1,473 individuals with the vast array of professional skills located all over the world. Tyler Smith, co-chair of the communications committee, noted “a network of this scope has potential to serve as a valuable resource for every FSAA alumni.”

The FSAA recently sent an e-mail to all members announcing the new “connecting” theme and inviting them to the join the Facebook group and the LinkedIn professional network. The FSAA board encourages all alumni to join the groups and contribute to the conversation on how to make the network stronger.

In addition, the FSAA will blog Ford Scholar Alumni stories on the association website and eventually expand the “connecting” theme to include all alumni of Ford Family Scholarship Programs and Ford Institute for Community Building programs.