David Bartholomew ’81 writes:
When friends outside of Wesleyan ask how I became chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association, they assume that I carefully considered the decision to run for the office, campaigned eagerly, and was thrilled with the results of the election. The reality, however, is a bit different. While it is true that I carefully considered the decision, I was an unopposed candidate. I didn’t campaign; I’d been an active alumnus, so I accepted the nomination when Bonnie LePard ’82 asked me. The results of the election weren’t a surprise–but I wish they had been.
That’s what I’d like to see change over the next few years: it would be great if Wesleyan alumni actually competed for leadership positions within the Alumni Association. Mark Edmiston ’65, who will serve as Vice Chair, agrees. He, also, was nominated because he had been active in alumni activities, and he, too, wonders: We have multiple outstanding candidates for Trustee, why not for the Alumni Association?
For example, alumni of USC (where I attended law school) see it as very prestigious to take part in alumni association activities. USC alums have an extensive network and work hard to win leadership positions. Alumni strive to be considered for top roles within the USC alumni association. My hope is that more alumni will aspire to leadership roles and compete for positions within the alumni association. In 2004, I hope we have several names on the ballot.
I know many alumni are very proud of Wes but don’t think beyond reunions and WAF. Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to our alma mater and to see what is going on at the University. I hope we can draw from our ever-increasing pool of alumni–with our variety of experiences and much-prized diversity–to organize and attend local events, serve on the executive board, and seek leadership roles for the Alumni Association. I hope you will consider volunteering, and I suggest three other simple ways to stay engaged with Wesleyan:
First, attend campus or off-campus Wesleyan events. I find camaraderie at Wesleyan alumni association events; I get to hang out with really fun people–lots of people I didn’t know as an undergrad, but people I now count as close friends. I sometimes even see the freshmen from Foss 9, where I served as RA in 1980. Some people also attend events because they want to give something back to the University; some are even looking to create a career network. I continue to be tremendously impressed by the people who get involved in WAF, admissions, Weseminars and other activities.
Second, make your home page Wesleyan’s Website, so whenever you go on the internet, at home or work, Wesleyan is the first thing that pops up. Wesleyan has a new Web site, frequently updated with campus news and alumni concerns, which will keep Wesleyan in the front of your mind.
Third, get a Wesleyan e-mail address. All alumni are entitled to one; it’s easy and it’s free–and some are even forming online alumni communities. You can even keep your existing address, and Wesleyan will forward e-mail to wherever you are. I got one because Gao-Wen Shao ’86 extolled the virtues of a Wes address. If you use @wesleyan.edu, she said, you put your affiliation right out front, to all your friends and colleagues, telling them that Wesleyan is important to you.
So, I hope that the future Chairs of the Wesleyan Alumni Association will have a little more competition for the opportunity to work closely with University leaders. And if you have any ideas, you can reach me at email@example.com.
Alumni interested in obtaining a Wesleyan e-mail address may request one by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 685-4000.