Reunions have always been the basic and one of the most effective events that an institution can plan out for engaging Alumni. They act as a bridge between the past and the present, promoting the involvement of the institution’s community. With the technology showing its impact on almost every aspect, the Alumni Relations playbook has also been revolutionized making it accessible to the present generation and one of the major changes that it introduced is Virtual Reunions.
Instead of gathering in person, alumni from various locations can connect, interact, and engage in activities virtually, using video conferencing tools. Having global accessibility and a broader reach, it is also cost and resource-efficient. But, it’s not a cakewalk to organize. Due to the online work culture flooded with virtual meetings, people are considering any online activity to be part of a work and therefore there is no excitement left to join online events, especially events full of speeches.
Despite being quite a challenge, creating an awesome virtual reunion is not unachievable. Here are a few ideas to create an engaging and interactive experience for Alumni in the coming virtual reunion –
Batch/ Class Themes
Send out personalized invites to Alumni according to their batches/classes allocating them a unique color for each and invite them to join the reunion in color-coded outfits. The idea behind having a batch-wise theme is to start themed networking sessions adding a creative and engaging element to the event. There are many other ideas for having a theme-based virtual event, breaking out into rooms as per the themes for smaller group chats can be used to get the session kickstarted.
Although everyone has familiarity with one another, it gets tricky when connecting after a long time to start a conversation. To break the awkwardness and bridge the silence, start with a polling competition on T-shirt colors to check which batch is having the highest strength and award them with the tag “Best Batch with Strong Network”. This will build up the audience as Alumni will look forward to making their batch win. Poll competition can be done using poll options available in online meeting/ webinar platforms. If the audience is less, one can just use a simple chat option to start this amazing activity.
Encourage any 2 alumni for artistic performance (music /comedy/poetry). This is a great Branding Exercise for Alumni to showcase their talent on a platform engaging a huge audience. Also, set up a virtual photo booth with themed backgrounds and props to add a fun and lighthearted element to the event.
Motivation for Juniors
Feature short videos or live interviews with prominent alumni who have achieved success in their respective fields. Also, invite notable alumni who are experts in various fields to share their journey after graduating from college. This can offer valuable insights and learning opportunities. This, again is a great branding exercise to showcase your eminent alumni and in turn, provides a great platform for alumni to motivate their juniors and batch mates.
Plan interactive activities such as virtual games or quizzes related to the alma mater. Ask the audience what they remember by making a presentation on old pictures of faculty members, campus, classrooms, hostels, fests, etc., and ask attendees to answer. You can use chat or poll to get answers from attendees. Also, encourage alumni to share their favorite memories, photos, and stories. Create a dedicated space for sharing on the event platform or social media.
Invite the head to share about the Alumni Association, its vision, and how it’s aligned with the institution’s objective. Share why and how engaging more Alumni is important. This is a short speech yet prime to convey the message of the Alumni Association to its members. Try to accommodate this between two entertainment performances to maintain the strength of attendees.
Initiate Alumni Development Programs
Initiate the Alumni Development and Welfare Program and invite the President to appeal. They can be related to professional or personal development like mentoring opportunities, networking workshops, and entrepreneurship exhibitions which are focused on enhancing Alumni value. Also, incorporate a service-oriented activity as part of the reunion, such as a fundraiser for a cause associated with the alma mater.
Q&A and Thanksgiving Session
Allow for a Q&A session enabling Alumni to ask queries to fellow Alumni or event organizers. Gather feedback from alumni about their experiences and suggestions for future events by dedicating a session to it. Also, schedule a vote of thanks towards the end, from the Institution acknowledging Alumni for becoming a part of their growth.
While virtual alumni reunions might not entirely replicate the charm of in-person gatherings, they offer unique benefits that can make them a worthwhile experience for attendees and organizers alike. So, don’t miss trying out.
We hope this will help you organize an awesome Virtual Alumni Reunion in the near future by incorporating these ideas, engaging maximum alumni, and strengthening their ties to the institution. Happy Reunion!