Closing the gap
Motivated by his excellent student experience, the value of his education and how much he has enjoyed returning to campus, Minesâ€™ new director of alumni engagement seeks to close the gap between the time students graduate and when they once again become involved with the Oredigger community.
â€œI love being around the students, and I really want to see the school succeedâ€”thatâ€™s the underlying impetus of it all,â€ said Andy Flynn â€™86, ME â€™98, who started his new position on December 2 after years of volunteering for Mines, including serving on the Mines Alumni Board.
While earning his bachelorâ€™s degree in geophysical engineering, Flynn played on the football team and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. â€œThere were a lot of social opportunities,â€ he said. â€œI enjoyed E-Days, there was always something to do, we had a lot of fun people to go ski and climb with.â€
However, other than meeting former football players, he rarely interacted with alumni as a student. â€œI always heard stories about them, and they came through in the school traditions and what they had accomplished,â€ Flynn said. â€œBut I felt that I could have used that kind of interaction as a studentâ€”it wouldâ€™ve been very helpful to learn from them.â€
Flynn said it can often take alumni two decades or more before reengaging with Mines, a loss of
an invaluable resource for the institution and its students. â€œIâ€™ve been on calls with young graduates, and our students really connect with them because they belong in the same generation and they have a lot of questions about their career,â€ he said. â€œClosing that gap is really critical.â€
Improving engagement with alumni starts with asking them back to campus, Flynn said. â€œI want to remind alumni that theyâ€™re part of the fabric of the school, that they bring value to the students and the institution. I want to give them opportunities to engage with the departments and the programs.â€
This connection with alumni is a big part of the MINES@150 strategic plan. â€œItâ€™s about recognizing where weâ€™ve been, as well as where weâ€™re going,â€ Flynn said. â€œIt will require increasing alumni visibility and bringing them into interest groups, to Oredigger Camp. Getting them involved now is laying the foundation for the next 150 years.â€
While the university has changed, it shouldnâ€™t keep alumni from finding common cause with todayâ€™s students. â€œSpeaking with alumni who are grandparents now, they say it was hard. Itâ€™s still hard. Because of [the new] amenities on campus, new classrooms, student housing, athletics facilities … thereâ€™s a tendency to believe that itâ€™s easier,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s really important to listen and understand where theyâ€™re coming from. They all want the same thingâ€”they want the school to remain the best. And if you look at the rankings, thatâ€™s not changing.â€