Elizabeth Allen, one of the presenters at last week’s CASE Conference on Communications, Marketing and Technology, graciously accepted my request to guest-blog about the conference. Her post is below. Liz is assistant director of communications for the Caltech Alumni Association (that’s “Caltech,” one word, little “t,” as I learned last week), and she did a great job presenting about using social networks to connect with alumni. If you’d like to get in touch with Liz, email her at elizabeth AT alumni.caltech.edu.
One of the things I enjoyed at last week’s Communications, Marketing and Technology Conference in San Diego was the opportunity to interact with colleagues from a varied set of backgrounds, institutions, and geographic locations. Most remarkable (to me) was the diversity of the roles and departments of each of the attendees. This lively group of more than 140 consisted of web developers, communications coordinators, executive directors, writers, pr staffers, VPs, webmasters and designers. They represented departments such as Admissions, Public Relations, Alumni Relations, the President’s Office, Student Affairs and Campus Diversity.
Communications and technology positions have moved well beyond the “tech person” in a dark room filled with whirring servers, hammering out html code and java script. Today, communications and technology are an integral part of every event, program and service we provide to prospective students, current students, parents, alumni and donors. The diversity of participants in San Diego reflected this paradigm shift: regardless of their department or their role in it, everyone came to learn more about using technology to connect with their constituencies.
The faculty presentations reflected the change too. We each represent a particular segment of our institutions, but the solutions and ideas in our presentations apply to many program areas and departments. Casey Paquet showed an example of Eckerd College’s holiday card. Its primary function is a recruitment tool for the admissions office – yet it has proven very popular with current students, families, alumni and beyond. Colgate University’s Tim O’Keeffe demonstrated how a blog post with news of the passing of William F. Griffith (“Dean Griff”), is still generating comments, four months after it went live. The post was intended as general university news, but alumni have used it as a forum to share their memories and condolences for the beloved administrator.
Clearly it’s important to stay informed about the communications efforts across your campus, regardless of the department. Each of their endeavors may have direct connections and benefits to you and your division – and vice versa. Though technology has the power to bring us closer together, many of us still seem to be operating in a “silo” mentality. Instead, take the initiative: learn how you can bolster communications efforts on your campus, and think of ways other
departments can help you in turn.
elizabeth AT alumni.caltech.edu