Congratulations to Wagner College on the launch of Citizen Alum as a partnership between the Wagner College Alumni Association and the Wagner College Center for Leadership and Community Engagement.
On April 13, 2015, President Richard Guarasci characterized Citizen Alum as a logical outgrowth of Wagner’s curriculum: “Excited to launch a new project, Citizen Alum, that highlights alumni who are civically engaged in their personal and professional communities. The Wagner Plan goes beyond 4 years on campus!”
With this alliance, Wagner puts civic engagement at the heart of alumni relations, and vice versa. Student-oriented civic engagement centers and alumni relations offices typically operate in separate silos and speak different languages, so the collaboration between the Center and the Alumni Association is significant. Wagner’s approach offers a useful strategy for colleges and universities seeking to foster a comprehensive. institution-wide civic culture.
Guarasci emphasized the contribution of Citizen Alum in formulating a response to questions surrounding the college-to-life transition:
But what happens once students graduate? What structures are in place to support young people as they transition from life as students to professionals and leaders in their communities? One such support structure is [the] national network of . . . Citizen Alum.
To answer those questions, Wagner is recruiting alumni–especially recent graduates (aka “gap alums”)–for a series of video profiles. Each profile tells the story from the perspective of the graduate and from the perspective of Samantha Siegal, Director of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement.
Watch some of the first interviews about Wagner alums Kevin Ferreira, Jessica Lee, and Aaron Winik. Kevin is a doctoral student at Boston College. Jessica coordinates interns and volunteers for the East Harlem Tutorial Program. Aaron is principal of a charter school for the humanities.
These videos–each under five minutes–are intentional about civic professionalism. Jessica Lee’s profile, for example, takes an integrative look at overlapping and changing roles (student, campus employee, staff member at educational nonprofit, volunteer). Teachers at Aaron Winik’s school are a community of civic professionals. Kevin Ferreira, pursuing a doctorate in Applied Educational and Developmental Psychology, is rewriting the standard scripts of both alumnihood and graduate school. Stories like this help to turn the fuzzy notion of civic professionalism into lived, communicated experience with implications for how colleges do business.
To see how other Citizen Alum campus teams are building interview-based video and print stories into their Citizen Alum activities, check out the Citizen Alum Alumni Profiles at Auburn University, a project of the College of Liberal Arts, and the Listening Project at the University of La Verne.