Upping the Ante
When it comes to encouraging Reunion attendance, alumni volunteers have powerful new tools at their disposal. “Social media makes it easy to stay in touch,” explains Matthew Rogers ’04, who served on his 10th Reunion committee. “You’re able to pick up with friends like you’ve never left off.”
Using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is second nature to many alumni, like Mary (Harrington) Hart ’94, a 20th Reunion volunteer, who is a marketing manager for a technology company. “I work at home, so Facebook is my water cooler of sorts,” she says.
For months before Reunion, both Rogers and Hart [pictured]used Facebook to create a buzz for the big event, posting photos and updates on Reunion details.
But even though social media makes outreach easier, that doesn’t mean it’s effortless. In the fall, for example, Hart spent one weekend creating a class Facebook group, poring over a spreadsheet with classmates’ names and email addresses. “I searched for everyone on Facebook, inviting them to join,” she says. “If I didn’t find them on Facebook but we had an email address, I sent them an email encouraging them to join the Facebook group,” she says.
Following Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’s controversial selfie with President Obama, Rogers went out of his way to snap a selfie with Stonehill President John Denning, C.S.C. “I was on campus for another event and saw that there was a reception for admitted students. I figured Fr. John would be there,” Rogers recalls. He dropped by, and after capturing the shot, posted it with #selfiefrjohn. “Fr. John said to me, ‘That was my first selfie.’ ‘It won’t be your last,’ I told him. ‘You’re now trending.’”
At Reunion, both Rogers and Hart snapped many smart phone photos, which they then posted to Facebook. In addition to the special #StonehillReunion, the Class of 1994 created its own Instagram account.
Rogers credits social media with helping his class break the 10th Reunion attendance record. “Social media made a difference without a doubt,” he says. “It was a good touch point for people.”
And though the Class of 1994 fell a bit short in beating the Class of 1993’s record-setting 20th Reunion, “We learned our lesson,” says Hart. “Next time, we’ll start a year in advance so people can get the date on their calendars.”
Want to volunteer for Reunion 2015? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.