The Alumni Association received an injection of energy when Chad Warren arrived in June as the new executive director. He brought more than his years of experience building alumni programs with him. He is shaking things up and has an open invitation for alumni: Share your thoughts and help shape the future of alumni engagement. [Take the alumni survey today]
Warren was recruited from Ohio State University to serve in the roles of executive director of the Alumni Association and of senior associate vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving in the newly retooled Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. We asked him just what those lengthy titles mean to you.
The role of the Alumni Association: The broad vision is to preserve a relationship that lasts well beyond a student’s graduation. Your relationship as a student with UNLV is brief. Commencement is not the finale — it is just another chapter of a long relationship with UNLV.
After commencement: The association serves as a resource for alumni and campus leaders for outreach and engagement. There’s a stereotype that alumni associations are only about tailgate parties and social events — and we do have those; they are important traditions — but as the university and the association are maturing, it’s becoming only a sliver of what we do. To use a Las Vegas analogy, we have to offer a buffet — a range of programs from career services and mentoring to regional mixers and family-friendly events.
Diverse programs to match a diverse campus: UNLV was just named the most diverse campus in the country. We have more than 115,000 alumni in more than 80 countries — that’s a powerful network. Our average student is 26 years old, not the traditional 19. Yet our alumni base is young. Also, about 57 percent of our alumni are female and 40 percent live outside Nevada. By any measure — ethnicity, skin color, gender, you name it — it is a different campus, so our programs must be too.
Expanding reach: We already have UNLV Connect, a way to network with alumni professionals, and we are building on the successes rolling in. We are launching plans to revitalize and expand our regional clubs because we know it’s important to bring UNLV to you and your community. It helps you, and it helps build UNLV’s reputation globally.
Related to this, we know so many graduates want to give back to the university by helping current students and the programs that made them a success. This fall, we’ll hire a new staff person to organize and enhance volunteer opportunities for alumni.
Two-way communication: We want you to think of the alumni association board and staff as both a way for the university to communicate with you and a way for you to communicate with the university. This fall, we’re conducting an extensive alumni survey. We really want to hear what your experiences have been, what you like and dislike, what needs we can help meet.
We’ll supplement that with increased opportunities to speak face-to-face. I’m launching a listening tour around the country, meeting with alumni and learning from alumni. I’ve been to Washington, D.C., and I’m going to Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, and Reno later this fall and spring. So come share your thoughts with me.
Three Ways to Connect with Fellow Grads
Join UNLV Connect —This private social network specifically for UNLV alumni lets you tap into the expertise of fellow alumni, track events, post job openings, and more.
Get involved in an club/chapter: Groups within the association help you reconnect with fellow Rebels from your college (an association chapter) or in your community (regional club).
Take the Alumni Attitude Study — This national research tool benchmarks similar universities and helps associations build programs specific to their members. This survey will go out this fall to all alumni with a current email address, so make sure your record is updated.