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If you get a letter in the mail from your alma mater every year asking you to donate, you’ve probably heard the word alumni. You might even have an alumni sweatshirt with your school’s name on it you wear proudly. Whether you know it or not, your school probably considers you to be a part of their alumni community.
What is an alumni community?
An alumni community is made up of the people who graduate from a school or, in some cases, who retire or move on from a business. From the latin word alumnus, meaning pupil, alumni communities celebrate a perceived ongoing shared identity among graduates.
In the past, alumni communities were fairly limited on their options for remaining connected after graduation. Usually, alumni would get requests for money from the school on a regular basis via mail. And a small segment of alumni would choose to remain socially connected to their alma mater by attending in-person alumni events.
But there’s been a revolution in the way we think about alumni communities with the rise of social networks and better community-building platforms. More and more schools and alumni are building reciprocal, beneficial relationships. Alumni benefit from continuing education opportunities, career support (in some cases), and building stronger social networks. The schools can benefit from increased alumni connection to their programs, more visibility and networking opportunities for current students, and – of course – financial donations from alumni.
We mentioned above that some large corporations are also using the word alumni to describe those who retire or move on to other companies. They’re taking the page out of the college’s year book, and giving their former employees a way to stay connected to the company.