Since launching in 2015, UCalgary Alumni has run a weekend — and then starting in 2020, a full month — of programs, experiences, sessions, shindigs, even a posh awards night, aimed at alumni and friends. Typically held in September, the goal of Alumni Weekend is to celebrate UCalgary Alumni as a community of learners through innovative programming, and deepen alumni connections to the faculties, the UCalgary Alumni Association and the university. The event offers a jolt of nostalgia, intellectually rich sessions and unbridled fun with activities like tailgate parties, Homecoming Games, family-friendly scavenger hunts, period-costume photo shoots and behind-the-scenes tours.
Whether it’s held over a weekend or a month, in person or virtually, the annual alumni event is a significant part of the alumni experience. That’s why it needs a name that is not bound to a duration of time — one that will carry the tradition as the event evolves into the future.
“We want every aspect of UCalgary’s fall alumni event to resonate with our community, including the name,” says Jennifer DeDominicis, BA’99, director of alumni programs. “The event is designed for our community, so who better to ask for input?”
Cast your vote
Name options have been whittled down from a long list to the top four contenders below. To vote for your favourite, head to the poll on LinkedIn and choose your favourite.
• Alumni Extra
• Alumni Edge
• Alumni All-Access
We’ll share the new name of Alumni’s signature event with you once the votes are tallied next week — watch UToday and LinkedIn for results.
A chance to rebrand
Once COVID-19 struck, all the physical connections and tactile experiences that we took for granted went virtual. Rather than condense Alumni Weekend programming, however, UCalgary Alumni did just the opposite and boosted the number of programs — growing the weekend to span an entire month of virtual sessions.
“It was a risk and a phenomenal amount of work, but we were astonished at the number of people who attended and the sheer diversity in programming,” recalls DeDominicis.
Nearly 3,000 people registered for Alumni Month sessions last year, with some of the highest-demand programs being Defund the Police, the annual Arch Awards, and Haskayne Hour.
Last year’s experiment — like so many programs — reinforced the notion that we need to stay agile and responsive to community needs and not be tethered to a rigid time frame, adds Colleen Bangs, BA’03, senior director of alumni engagement.
“We’ve learned so much since Alumni Month 2020, that it got us thinking that this may be a terrific opportunity to rebrand the program,” she says.
Programming for the fall alumni event will be announced later this summer on the alumni website.