Georgetown students love to stay busy — so busy that as clubs and organizations with legitimate and worthwhile causes compete for students’ finite time, conventional means of outreach such as tabling, flyering and chalking Red Square may not be effective enough to spark and retain the interest of members and the larger student body. For organizations that are not as well known on campus, largely because they appeal to niche demographics, it becomes harder every year to engage a student body that flocks to the better-known organizations on campus. To change this, organizations should focus on hosting alumni networking events that utilize the tradition and the value of its alumni network to engage the student body in important issues.
As midterm season begins to slow down on campus, student clubs begin looking for ways to re-engage their members, especially underclassmen, many of whom are likely still searching for that niche group to call their own. An organization that regularly hosts alumni networking hours can hope to regain the interest of pre-existing and potential members. The multiple days Black Alumni Summit, an event done in collaboration with the Office of Advancement, is a fantastic example of alumni engagement. More than 230 alumni gathered during three days of social activities, networking events and panel discussions, drawing the attention of students to issues of diversity and the relationship between black alumni and the university. Although a considerable amount of work is required to successfully pull off an event like this, the benefits — in the form of effective engagement — are clear.
Similarly, last month, the GU Improv Association seized its 20th anniversary as an opportunity to connect with the student body in a new and exciting way. The group invited alumni to return to the Hilltop and perform onstage with current members. The event enjoyed wide attendance across the student body, energizing the troupe and exemplifying the publicity power of such an event. Publicizing and commemorating an organization’s achievements is a significant way to draw in new students and remind the general student body of an organization’s importance on campus, while also raising money for worthwhile causes.
The main challenge to improving engagement on campus through new events and marketing is time. Students at Georgetown pride themselves on dedicating incredible amounts of time, effort and energy to the organizations they care about. If club leaders want to continue bringing in an engaged audience, they must draw on their alumni network to spark an interest in the missions they champion.
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