After the Advancement Live show on August 6th on the subject of Homecoming and fall signature events, I asked Gretchen Edwards, Christine Scheirer, Derrick Smith, Johanna Montague and Chase Carter to offer one final thought – a tip for anyone attempting to start or improve a Homecoming event. Below are their thoughts:

Christine Scheirer, University of Delaware:

“By-in from key administrators from Student Life and Athletics is important. Meeting with the upper administration regularly is important to discuss important topics such as budget (!!!) and for general awareness.”

Chase Carter, Oklahoma State University:

“I think our tip would be to make the most of the resources (large or small) that you have. Oklahoma State has been able to do a lot with relatively little money, a staff of only 20 full-time workers and a lot of hard work. The last part is the key.”

Derrick Smith, Dartmouth College:

“I would encourage classes, clubs and groups to hold mini reunion gatherings during the homecoming period. This would help to attract alumni who may not be reached by general homecoming marketing.”

Johanna Montague, University of Virginia:

“My crucial tip for starting a signature event is to involve your students.  Alumni love engaging with current students. After-all, what better way is there to get a feel for where the University is today?! So, be it students leading the weekend or students volunteering at the events you plan, student involvement is a great way to make any event a success.”

Gretchen Edwards, Wake Forest University:

“Real engagement on social media does not just happen. Be sure to integrate it into your event plan. Create real opportunities for event attendees to interact with your institution online.”

Advancement Live airs every Tuesday at 1pm. Next week, join Andrew Gossen (@agossen) for a discussion on crowdfunding!

Ryan Catherwood is the Director of Engagement Strategy at the University of Virginia. He can be reached via twitter @RyanCatherwood or by email.


Ryan Catherwood

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