The IU South Bend campus has a terrific retention effort happening in collaboration with the alumni, and it’s come at a perfect time in our current stay-at-home situation.
For two years, my office has worked on a project whereby alumni volunteers write postcards to new graduates, welcoming them to the IUAA ranks. It’s been well received and my board and other volunteers love the opportunity to reach out to new alumni.
The IU South Bend Office of Admissions has taken that idea and put another spin on it – they are asking alumni to send handwritten notes to admitted students who are still deciding on their college plans. The project actually started before the pandemic hit the state, but the timing is perfect for volunteers who are staying home and want some connection.
Our original goal was to have as many postcards as possible sent out in advance of our May 1 confirmation deadline. However, the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in that planning, so the deadline has now been extended to June 1. We intend to use this and other methods to engage with admitted students without inviting them to campus.
To publicize this opportunity we have coordinated an email to alumni, alongside posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, in partnership with the Office of Admissions. We are also preparing for wider outreach by including work-study students needing to make up hours, faculty and staff on the South Bend campus, and alumni leaders on all IU campuses.
Volunteers will be paired with the admitted students based on major, school, or interest. The list of admitted students is quite lengthy so the more help, the better.