By Logan Johnson, December 20, 2018, Published in Rotary International
For the past few years, Rotary International has been promoting Reconnect Week as a time to remind Rotary clubs of the value of reaching out and “reconnecting” with alumni of Rotary programs like Interact, Rotaract, scholarships, Rotary Peace Fellowships, youth exchange and other regional programs. But celebrating alumni and making them feel welcome to your club is something you can and should do year-round. Alumni of Rotary make great leaders and innovators and may possess the skills you need for your next service project.
So in that spirit, we collected five events that impressed us during this year’s Reconnect Week in October to encourage you to think of ways you can reconnect with alumni in the new year.
District 7020 Alumni Association – Video Conference
District Alumni Chair William Inniss of Cayman Islands has made it a tradition with his district’s alumni association to hold an annual video conference for Reconnect Week. Since his district is made of many islands, travel between them is more difficult for in-person meetings, so this is simply the best way to keep up. During the meeting, members of the alumni association discuss their past experiences and decide how best to partner with local Rotary clubs.
Northern Illinois Rotary Alumni Association – Networking Event
Members of the Northern Illinois Rotary Alumni Association, Rotaract Club of Chicago, and Rotarians in the greater Chicago region came together for an evening of networking at One Rotary Center in Evanston, Illinois. This provided alumni and Rotaractors the opportunity to engage with Rotarians from around the region and get to know what they are accomplishing in their clubs so they might join them.
District 7600 – Alumni at the District Conference
For the second year in a row, District 7600 in Virginia, USA, has made a point to include alumni in their district conference. Not only did they have a space for the local alumni association to welcome their new members, but they also used Facebook Live to record a breakout session that focused on past program experience from a Group Study Exchange team member.
Rotaract Club of Patan – Past presidents welcomed back to club
During your time as president of a Rotary or Rotaract club, you learn a lot about leadership. The Rotaract Club of Patan in Nepal recognized this and invited 10 past presidents back to the club to share the wisdom from their time as president and past projects they worked on. This led to discussion about the future of the club and how they can expand their potential alongside local Rotarians.
Rotary Club of Invercargill Sunrise, New Zealand – Alumni video updates
The Rotary Club of Invercargill requested short, 1-2 minute video updates from a handful of the youth exchange alumni they had sponsored, that they then shared with members on Facebook. The alumni talked about long-lasting relationships with their host families and how the exchange shaped them. When alumni are unable to visit a club meeting, video updates like these are helpful in maintaining a connection with alumni despite long distances.
When you reach out to alumni and invite them to your club meetings and include them in projects, you strengthen their ties and remind them of how Rotary is reshaping lives. You also expand your network and secure support for future work. Make it a resolution in 2019 to reach out to alumni in your district. Contact your District Alumni Chair, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started today.