Build a team: A Citizen Alum team typically includes senior representatives from academic units, civic engagement/community service learning programs, development offices, alumni relations, career services, and other units that have an interest in engaging with alums. Building the team an important contribution to culture change on campus. It extends the public mission to offices and individuals that may not have seen themselves as central to that public mission in the past. It puts people in the room together who may rarely connect otherwise, such as faculty members and alumni relations staff. This team should invite effective “citizen alums”—including recent graduates who were strongly engaged as students–to join the team as full partners.
Make a statement: We ask that you compose a statement of commitment. Examples of commitment statements are available here.
Commit to team responsibilities: These include selecting a lead organizer or co-organizers who will maintain contact with the national network. The lead organizer will serve as liaison to a national members’ council and a small steering committee, to be established by August 1, 2012.
Do an inventory of ways in which “citizen alums” are engaged in their own communities and with your campus: Based on your findings, identify next steps.Activities to build on could focus on campus programs such as mentoring, internships,and capstone or bridging courses. But your team will also locate many alumni who address important public issues (such as education, political participation, sustainability,health, and economic opportunity) in their home communities. New campus-community partnerships may emerge from connecting with alums as “stewards of place” where they live and work.
Benefit from other American Commonwealth Partnership initiatives. Several Citizen Alum campus teams are integrating Citizen Alum with Empowering Pedagogy and Deliberative Dialogues.
Shape multi-campus research projects. We want to hear about inquiries that would be relevant to your campus and alums—or research that is already underway. We are seeking foundation support to fund research, demonstration projects, and events at participating institutions, such as summer institutes or workshops. Plans are afoot for several grant proposals involving different clusters of Citizen Alum campuses. Research areas of interest include: new approaches to philanthropy emphasizing the civic creativity of alumni; impact on student success of alumni participation in courses or mentoring; approaches to the college-to-life transition that support young alums’ ongoing democratic engagement (such as working to solve public problems through community-engaged groups and organizations; or addressing social issues through a professional field); and publishing a collection of essays based on alumni listening projects or an anthology of writings by gap alums.