School Alumni and their Schools have the capacity to work together to mutually benefit each other and to contribute to the existing students at the School. Well established private Schools are experienced in courting their alumni so that they contribute to the existing and future students in a variety of ways. However, the option to maintaining contact with alumni is available to all Schools. Alumni are a valuable resource to their respective schools in a multitude of ways.

 What Schools Can Contribute to their Alumni

The School should have the overarching responsibility, but rely on an alumni committee to organise events and other activities. It is the School which has the database of all previous students. At the end of their Schooling students may give permission for their contact details to be given to the Alumni committee, which organises activities on behalf of the School and themselves.

A member of the School Staff and the Alumni Committtee can organise reunions. Every 5 or ten years alumni may choose to have a reunion at the School. Teachers may be invited – students love catching up with favourite teachers. It is rewarding for teachers to see how their students have grown and developed, knowing they have contributed.

The School may include updates in Alumni newsletters about what is happening at the School. Alumni can be invited to certain events such as the opening of new buildings or fundraising activities such as garden parties.

The School is what the alumni have in common and therefore plays a central role in ensuring that alumni keep in touch with what is happening at their School and within the alumni community. An alumni newsletter every month or quarter is a good way of keeping ex-students in contact and informed.

What Alumni Can Contribute to the School

Of course there are many ways in which  the School’s ex-students are able to contribute. One favourite is to have an interesting and/or successful ex-student speak to current students at Presentation day. Or they may speak to a particular group of students. An author who is an alumnus of the School may be invited to speak to an English class. The possibilities are endless.

Alumni may return to their School to coach students in sports, debating or academic work. They act as role models for existing students, and can inspire them to achieve. If a student is having difficulties, be they behavioural or academic, alumni can act as mentors and coaches. The bond of attending or having attended the same school is a strong one.

Building support programs for existing students is a wonderful way in which alumni can be involved with the School in current times. Alumni act as a mentors and guides in Support Programs for Students which are struggling in some way. With the School in common, existing and past students have a basis for communication.

Alumni are often invited to donate money to their School. While money enables the School to upgrade buildings and to buy resources, it is far from being the only way in which alumni contribute.

In Conclusion

Throughout their lives people feel a sense of identity with their School. The formative years of childhood are spent at school – it is where we meet our friends, are inspired by teachers and learn about a world beyond our experience. Bonds between strangers are formed on the basis that they attended the same School.

It is worth nurturing your School Alumni Community – it is a rich resource for all Schools. The schools you attended as a young person are woven into your adult identity. It is unusual to find an adult who is not proud of the Schools they attended – regardless of the type of School or its reputation. Past students have the potential give back to the School more than they have taken.

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures (specialising in Literary Translation) Department of International Studies Macquarie University