UConn Considering New Approach to Realign, Expand Alumni Outreach

The University is working with the UConn Foundation and UConn Alumni Association to improve outreach to the more than 230,000 UConn alumni worldwide.

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The University of Connecticut is in discussions with the leaders of two independent organizations, the UConn Foundation and UConn Alumni Association, to realign and vastly improve outreach to the more than 230,000 UConn alumni worldwide.

The discussions come as the board of the Alumni Association has voted to disband the organization, a 501(c) (3) entity independent of UConn.

Although the decision is solely under the organization’s purview, the University does not intend to diminish alumni engagement activities. On the contrary, it is committed to substantially expanding outreach, including establishing a newly constituted alumni community that would no longer charge membership dues.

The Alumni Association’s membership currently encompasses approximately 10,000 alumni, which is less than 5 percent of UConn’s total living alumni base of 230,000. The University has paid about $13 million over the past two decades to the Alumni Association through fees for services, but during that time, the association has been unable to show a significant increase in membership.

UConn and the Alumni Association board are cooperating to envision new models of alumni engagement, including the possibility of an enhanced partnership with the UConn Foundation. President Herbst has asked the Foundation, an independent 501(c) (3) organization, to take on alumni relations activities on behalf of UConn. For this change to occur, it would have to be approved by both the board of the Foundation and the UConn Board of Trustees.

The integration of Foundation activities with alumni engagement mirrors the model increasingly employed by many of the nation’s top colleges and universities to forge alumni bonds with the institution and among each other.

UConn does not intend to cease or reduce alumni relations activity in any way. Far from it, the University wants to do more to connect – and in many cases, re-connect – in more meaningful ways with a broader and more diverse population of alumni.

Any changes to the alumni engagement structure would be seamless for UConn’s alumni. Those who are connected to the University through one of its alumni chapters, UConn clubs, or the UConn Alumni Association would see no changes. They would still have the same access to alumni events, programs, publications, and communications. In addition, the University intends for the Alumni House to continue serving as a home on the Storrs campus for all alumni.

By strengthening the collaboration between the UConn Foundation and alumni relations activities, operations would become more streamlined and cost effective. Currently duplicated services and some administrative functions can be eliminated, and the services can be provided in a more efficient manner. This would result in more resources available for coordinated and substantive outreach to alumni.

Most importantly, alumni communications and activities will be more consistently coordinated and effective, thereby enriching the experience of our alumni and enhancing their relationship with the University and each other.