Alumni, what are we really talking about?

By Bruno Leyvastre, Chairman of the Novancia Alumni Association

Par Bruno Leyvastre, Chairman of the Novancia Alumni Association

Though initially adopted by the Anglo-Saxon students, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, where alumni associations exist since the 19th century, the name "alumni association" has since greatly expanded internationally, under its Latinism wording.

The term alumni, coming from the plural form of alumnus, which mean student, is now widely used in francophone countries, instead of “former students” or “former students association”.

But beyond the form, directly linked with globalization, what is nowadays the purpose of the Alumni Associations and the role of alumni?

Bringing expertises and skills

It is at first helping its school to pursue her educational role through inputs of expertises and skills via various aids, for entering into the work market, obtaining internships during education, even sometimes bringing financial aids, for the most structured and oldest associations.

In a highly competitive educational ecosystem, it is also helping to promote the "brand" of its school, and bringing the essential support to increase the employability of its graduates and students, which is a key element of the promotion and visibility set up, and thus of the sustainability of an institution.

Although the above points are important, I am however well aware, taking up my new role, that demand remains essentially expressed for uniting alumni and students, around a community network, to mainly promote exchanges and professional integration.

Bringing expertises and skillss

Developing communication within a community

Apart from these aspects, related to the strategic positioning of the School, and the promotion of its graduates, the purpose of any association is to extend the camaraderie, and to develop communication and solidarity within a community, gathered by the passage in a common athanor.

Helping the sustainability of the school spirit

Furthermore, the alumni, who are also the "memory" of the institution, must be supported by the association, which is here to help the sustainability of the of the school spirit, while opening it to the City.

This is usually done by using tools and usual actions done by this type of association, namely meetings, newsletters, website, directory, promotion meetings, conferences, employment services, sports or cultural events, financial support for humanitarian projects, charitable or cultural alumni.