How COVID-19 has shifted the CSU Alumni Association

How COVID-19 has shifted the CSU Alumni Association Image
How COVID-19 has shifted the CSU Alumni Association April 30, 2020

As the pandemic poses its unique set of challenges for colleges and universities around the world, alumni associations are also facing a shifting landscape, requiring new modes of engagement, namely digital.

Instead of seeing the barriers to interaction, CSU Alumni Association Executive Director Brian Breittholz saw the opportunity. CSU’s alumni events are typically centered in the Northeast Ohio area with select regional events throughout country. But now that face-to-face meetings are off the table, Breittholz saw the void as a space to connect with even more alumni than before.

Coffee Talk is a new digital engagement series on Zoom that will feature University deans sharing important information about each college, priorities for the upcoming year and the ongoing response to the pandemic. The series launches on Wednesday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. with Dean Roland Anglin from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Another initiative coming soon is Alumni College @ Home, the virtual edition of Alumni College, a popular series that put knowledge experts at CSU in front of alumni audiences to explore topical, relevant subjects. Stay tuned for details.

“These new initiatives have enabled us to reach alumni not only in Ohio, but across the world,” Breittholz said.

“I suspect online engagement will play a significant role in our overall engagement efforts from this point forward.”  He added, “It won’t replace in-person events, but will certainly augment our efforts while attracting new audiences with opportunities that may not have reached them previously.”

Social media has also increasingly become the place for connection and the alumni association swiftly developed digital programming to help alumni occupy time at home.

"We're going to continue exploring new ways to stay connected to our alumni and campus community. In addition to moving lectures and informative programming online, we're experimenting with a number of fun, more social activities,” said Anthony Fossaceca, director of advancement marketing and communications.

“We've asked our alumni to locate old photos as part of our Viking Scavenger Hunt. We've shared classic Vikings basketball games during the March Madness void. And last month, we launched our first round of Viking Team Trivia on Facebook Live. Next week, we'll be calling out numbers in our inaugural Viking Bingo Night. Maybe someday, we'll be able to mail out some great prizes!"

Keep a look out on the alumni association website, your inboxes and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to stay informed about all of the exciting developments.

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