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An affinity group refers to alumni with similar interests/majors regardless of graduation years. In the past, we have hosted theatre, sport, club, Greek, and Honors Program affinity groups.
What do they do at Alumni Weekend?Typically, there is some time set aside for a separate reception or gathering of all those within a particular affinity group, most likely on Saturday of Alumni Weekend. Such a gathering would involve current and, if possible, past faculty members and/or moderators with ties to that affinity group. It is a time for alumni to hear more about the program today and to discover, if applicable, ways they can get involved in some of the department or group’s initiatives.How are affinity groups chosen? What do I need to do if I want to bring back a particular affinity group?An affinity group can be identified in a number of ways. Sometimes affinity groups are identified by the Office of Alumni Relations or by the Alumni Association Board of Directors, but most often they are driven by the alumni themselves. Sometimes a faculty member is retiring or marking some significant anniversary. In 2002, for example, more than 100 alumni who had participated in theatre at Saint Francis came to Alumni Weekend to celebrate Kenny Resinski’s 40th anniversary as a professor here. Sometimes alumni will come forward and ask if they can organize an affinity group reunion, such as the All-Greek reunion we had in 2005. Sometimes an academic program or club is celebrating a significant milestone or anniversary. 2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the first graduates from our Honors Program so all Honors graduates were invited back. Past affinity groups have included Greeks, Honors Program alumni, and various sports teams. Affinity groups are welcome to have reunions at whatever frequency they prefer, but most opt for every five years.Any alumnus/a who would like to organize an affinity reunion should contact Anita Baumann, director of alumni relations, at 814-472-3015. To organize a successful affinity reunion, the organizer needs to be willing to make calls and send emails inviting alumni to attend the affinity reunion and encouraging them to call their friends. If the affinity group is identified by March, information can be included in the Alumni Weekend brochure that is mailed to all alumni in late April or early May.What is needed for a successful Affinity Group Reunion?1) It helps to identify current and retired faculty as well as organizational moderators who would be willing to attend the affinity group reception.2) It helps to have alumni from different decades who might be willing to call/e-mail alumni about attending – this can be done via an email to all alumni from that major, or can be done more selectively if faculty already know of alumni willing to help.How many affinity groups do you want each year?Ideally, no more than three in some combination of academic, club, Greek, and sport Affinity Groups.
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