A couple of years ago, if you asked a random Bates alumnus or alumna to describe the function of the Alumni Council, the answer, I suspect, might have been vague: “Nominate alumni Trustees? Make alumni awards? Pick the food at Reunion?”Today, in addition to our traditional functions of nominating alumni Trustees and bestowing alumni honors like the Alumni Distinguished Service Award (no, the Council doesn’t choose food at Reunion!), the Council has worked to become a more meaningful part of alumni life and a more helpful alumni resource, especially for young alumni.
To make progress on these two fronts, we’ve has established several working groups of Council members. During the past year, these groups have addressed a range of issues.
- In the past, the traditional small size of the Council (twelve members) ensured efficient communication and handling of traditional tasks. With the Council’s agenda becoming more ambitious each year, it became apparent that a larger Council could help us tackle more alumni issues we felt need attention. With that in mind, last spring we voted to increase the Council’s size to sixteen, effective this fall. The larger size will also help us provide stronger links among the various College volunteer groups.
- We’ve also worked to make students and alumni aware of activities the Council sponsors on their behalf. We’re continuing our presence in Bates Magazine, as well as producing a Council page in the Mirror yearbook, which welcomes the most recent graduates to the Bates “family.” Periodic Council articles appear in The Bates Studentdescribing Council activities that affect student life, and we produce annual updates of our very successful Life After Bates directory for recent graduates.
- Through the Bates Magazine Advisory Board, recently established by the magazine editors, the Council has become more involved with this most important College publication. The board is a candid group of media professionals who discuss the magazine design, content, voice, and photography, offering approval, criticism, and new ideas. I’m the current representative from the Council, and this relationship has helped communicate alumni views about the magazine.
- Over the past year, members of the Council have spent time working with the Office of Career Services, helping cultivate networking opportunities for current students. For the last two years during Back to Bates weekend, the Council and Career Services have sponsored a well-attended alumni-student networking session. Last winter, nearly 150 students turned out for a career panel and pizza party, again hosted by OCS and the Council.Together with OCS, we sponsored a student-alumni event in Boston that coincided with the 1996 Boston Recruiting Consortium. Alumni employed by companies taking part in the consortium attended an informal reception with Bates seniors. Some fifty alumni and students came together. This gathering will be repeated in 1997; our hope is to extend it to other cities, as well.
Other ongoing issues for the Council include the enduring need for an alumni house on campus. While I can’t report anything specific, I can say that the day is not far away when Bates alumni will have a place on campus to gather, relax, and feel at home — indeed, it would be a tangible expression of the importance of an alumni presence in the midst of College life.
The 1996-97 Bates Alumni Council
Geraldine M. FitzGerald ’75 (president)
Nancy E. Higgins ’81 (vice president)
Scott E. Steinberg ’86 (secretary and director of alumni relations)
Robert B. Bowden ’67
Mary Capaldi Carr ’88
Mark G. Doctoroff ’94
Janet Face Glassman ’71
Rosalyn Scudder Harrold ’59
Bradford Hobbs ’86
Thomas A. Kolodziej ’71
Jamie P. Merisotis ’86
Arlene Wignall Nickerson ’63
Kendall A. Snow ’62
Jodi D. Sturgis ’93
Susan Peillet Yule ’78