Top Tips: Engaging alumni with university events.
ALF committee member Andy Horton shares his experiences of successfully organising a library event that appealed to alumni as well as current students, and brought a closer relationship between the library and the alumni relations teams.
In February 2018, BPP University held our second Digital Skills Conference. This is an event which the library team organised as part of the Digital Skills programme we run to support students. It was an employability-centred student event – a chance for students to experience a one day professional conference with a focus on digital technologies in the workplace. As well as keynote speakers such as (BPP alum) Lord Holmes there were strands for business health and law featuring practitioners such as cardiac nurses and solicitors describing how they use technology in their work and demonstrations of new developments in software and hardware.
We opened booking up not just to our current students, but also to our alumni through the CareerHub portal to which our graduates have access. The reasoning being that early stage professionals, and those actively seeking opportunities, would benefit from the current awareness and networking opportunities of the conference as much as those still on programmes of study.
Our booking form included details of school, and we made Alumni an option for this mandatory field. The booking data was used to create name badges for all attendees, as well as giving an idea of the breakdown by school. We had fifty alumni sign up, out of a total of two hundred and forty-nine staff and student attendees. This was a significant proportion, which suggests that this kind of event would be worth publicizing and offering to alumni.
It was a successful day but a busy one for the conference team. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to speak directly with any of the alumni attendees on the day. We could perhaps have done more to get feedback from the delegates, and had we been able to do so I would have been interested to see what the alumni had to say about the conference.
I certainly did see several alumni talking to speakers from the law and psychology strands, who were happy to offer their experienced perspectives on their profession to early-career professionals.
The success in engaging with alumni at this event did lead to liaison between the alumni relations and library teams, which has seen us working quite closely together over this year on expanding library provision for alumni.
Andy Horton, BPP Library.