By Taryn Orava (BKin ‘08)
This past September, the Brock University cheerleading team had its first inaugural “generations” reunion with more than 40 teammates in attendance. Alumni from as far back as 1990 and as recently as 2012 came out for a day packed with spirited games, team-bonding activities and the opportunity to catch up with old friends.
The event, held during Brock Days Alumni Weekend, kicked off in Market Hall, where attendees received gift bags stuffed with goodies from sponsors such as Ecco, Sugarhouse, Isaac’s Army and Brock Alumni Relations. Over the next few hours, the group enjoyed a specialty cake donated by cake decorator and current team captain, Jenna Mongraw, laughed over a slideshow of highlights from team socials, engaged in team trivia and scavenger hunt challenges and took part in an alumni photo outside Schmon Tower.
Each alumna left with a smile and a T-shirt, which put a spin on the team’s longstanding mantra: “Thought it. Believed it. Achieved it.”
It’s hoped that the generations reunion will become a yearly Brock Days tradition. As the alumni leader for this event, I encourage all former athletic, club and organization representatives to plan a successful and memorable reunion like ours. Here are some key things I learned from this experience:
- Save the date. With the Grape and Wine Festival, Community Days and a ton of alumni-targeted events, Brock Days is the perfect time of year to host your alumni reunion.
- Promote…early! Get in touch with Alumni Relations for a full list of alumni from your organization and for the opportunity to set up your own Brock Days website. Don’t be afraid to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to start people talking. Grads are busy people, so make sure people are aware of the date months in advance.
- Round up the troops. Ask former club members to act as alumni leaders for the day. Delegate tasks such as organizing transport, gift bags, room bookings and registration. It’s also a wise idea to recruit volunteers from multiple Convocation years to get the message out to the teammates from their cohort.
- Stay true. Plan your activities according to your target audience. Incorporate any unique traditions honoured by your organizations into your alumni reunion.
- Pre-register. One of the keys to running a successful and jam-packed reunion was asking alumni to register online for each events they were going to attend. Some events had fees associated with them and to ensure all events were paid in full, alumni were asked to make a payment prior to the event.
- Enjoy the day. During your reunion, enjoy reconnecting with old teammates and club members. Ask people to sign in and to include current contact information and permission to contact them for future events.
- Keep connected. Use the contact information you collected to send out an online evaluation survey to ask what alumni enjoyed and what would they change. Consider all feedback and make next year a bigger and better success.
- Read the Reunion Guide. Brock Alumni Relations has compiled a useful reunion guide that will help you throughout the entire planning process.
Have fun planning your alumni reunion and we’ll see all of you at the next Brock Days Alumni Weekend.