By Masha Zhdanova
Leaders from key University groups met to share information and ideas on how to engage constituents (alumni, students, parents and friends) and further the University’s advancement in an inaugural summit on Friday, Oct. 21.
The Volunteer Leadership Summit was sponsored by Alumni Relations, theCareer Development Center and the Bucknell University Alumni Association. Some of the participants included the Bucknell Alumni Board, Parents Board, Trustees, Black Alumni Association, the Engineering Alumni Board, GALABI, Association for the Arts, Bison Club and Alumni Greek Council.
The key objectives of the event were to build a sense of community between the groups, enhance collaboration in areas of common interest and strengthen the volunteer network. Four BSG officers and seven student members of the Alumni Board were invited to the event to represent the student perspective.
“What I liked the most about the summit was every person I spoke with shared the same love and passion for the University as I did and we never ran out of things to talk about,” said Abby Vidmer ’13, Vice President of Administration for the Bucknell Student Government.
President Bravman spoke about “who we are becoming,” his current plans to make the University a better place and the contribution of University constituents. Former University President and professor Gary Sojka gave remarks on leadership and the role of volunteers in the University’s success.
During the Volunteer Group Showcase, each represented group briefly spoke about a project they were most proud of having accomplished. Some of the examples were an LGBT supporters reception organized by GALABI during Reunion Weekend, mentoring and career assistance offered by the Engineering Alumni Association, the Brawley Fund supported by the Black Alumni Association and the Bud Ranck-Tom Gadd Memorial Kickoff Classic golf tournament organized in Lewisburg by the Bison Club.
“The energy in the room kept growing as the day went on. I was amazed to see all the connections the volunteer leaders made with each other, both professionally and personally,” said Kristin Stetler, associate director of Alumni Relations and co-chair of the summit.
“These Bucknellians took time away from their families, jobs and studies to reconnect with the University and they all have a common goal: to help take Bucknell to the next level,” said Stetler.
Later in the day, all participants convened in small groups to discuss challenges and opportunities for engaging the University. From this discussion, improving communication tools was identified as of primary importance. In order for all organizations to achieve their respective goals and fully engage constituents, it will be crucial to further strengthen the professional network and develop effective programs for collaboration. One example of this included creating a consolidated calendar of all events to foster community and ensure that all alumni, parents, students and friends around the globe know what is happening and when.
“The summit allowed us to form different connections with other Bucknell groups and really put our purpose and goals into the perspective of the University as a whole. It was a phenomenal way to explore different ways to synthesize our work,” BSG president Phil Kim ’12 said.