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Recap: “Faculty Dance/Collaborations” from UW Dance

Cast members from "The Rite of Spring"

Pamela A. Gregory (front) and Kristin Hapke (back) in “The Rite of Spring” // Photo courtesy Steve Korn

When my coworkers hatched the plan to set me up on six dates and write about them in conjunction with the UWAA’s Arts Dawg program, I became anxious.

I wasn’t stressed about finding dates or subjecting myself to the public scrutiny; rather, I realized that I didn’t know much about the performing arts. I’ve only attended a handful of plays and couldn’t tell you how the Renaissance era set the stage for the Baroque period of classical music. (In fact, I had to look those eras up on Wikipedia.) I respect the arts and admire artists, but rarely enough to make them part of my Friday night.

Naturally, I came into the first of six Arts Dawg performances – the dance production Faculty Dance/Collaborations – knowing next to nothing about dance. In a way, I was the ideal customer. When the UWAA and ArtsUW partnered to create the Arts Dawg program, the goal involved introducing patrons to the wide variety – and high quality – of fine and performing arts offered by the University of Washington.

My date for the evening expressed similar sentiments at the Arts Dawg-only pre-show reception in the Meany Theater lobby. She admitted that she wouldn’t think to attend a dance performance while planning a night out, so she was intrigued by the new experience.

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Preview: “Faculty Dance/Collaborations” from UW Dance

The cast from "The Rite of Spring"

The cast from “The Rite of Spring”

Collaboration in the UW Dance Program is nothing new. Most UW Dance productions feature partnership with one or two departments, said Betsy Cooper, M.F.A. ’97, director of UW Dance. But no program in recent memory has featured as much teamwork as the next UW Dance production, Faculty Dance/Collaborations. “Dance is a particularly collaborative art form,” she said. “To see the majority of us in the performing arts coming together and working on this level, I’m excited by that.”

Faculty Dance/Collaborations, the second UW Dance Program production this season, spotlights contributions from community performers, the School of Drama, the School of Music, and the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media. “I think the level of collaboration is unique,” Cooper said. “Everybody has come together.”

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Going backstage with Arts Dawg

I never imagined that my coworkers would try to set me up on a date, let alone six dates. Not just that, but that I would be tasked with blogging about each date. But, over the next six months, that’s exactly what will happen.

The idea started when a few of us in the Alumni Association talked about the Arts Dawg ticket package as a great date night. With six great campus arts events, pre-show receptions, and backstage talks with the brains behind the productions, the package would be a treat for any arts-loving couple.

That’s when my coworkers suggested that I take a date to each performance and write about the experience afterward. After a bit of cajoling, I went with along with the idea.

You’re probably wondering who I am by now. My name is Matt, and I recently moved to Seattle from the Portland area, where I spent the previous seven years with my local newspaper. I enjoy hiking, watching the TV series “Community,” and going to Paseo Caribbean Restaurant in Ballard.

Along the way, I will write about the dates, sure. But more importantly, I will write about the Arts Dawg experience, which includes six great performances.

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Members Thanked by UW President, Coach, Professor

Coach Sark at the Member Celebration

Coach Sark thanking members

President Michael Young, UW Football Coach Steve Sarkisian and popular UW Professor David Domke took the stage at the UW Alumni Association Member Celebration to thank UWAA members for their century-plus support of the University and higher ed.

Held in an enormous pavilion on Red Square, stuffed with art by UW students, three stages, a jazz combo, and buffet tables groaning under piles of delicious food, the UWAA Member Celebration hosted over 300 alumni and friends for an evening of music, conversation and fun.

Taking a break from the music (provided by a trio from the UW School of Music) President Young briefly traced the evolution of the UWAA from its earliest days in 1889—when there were 60 living UW alumni—to today’s 55,000-member community, united by a love of the University. He shared that the UW deans’ consensus that the mission of the UW was to “optimize human potential,” and his opinion that a strong University relies on a strong alumni association.

Coach Sarkisian took the stage next and shared his thoughts on the upcoming season at Century Link Field.

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Alumni relations in the Facebook era

Why on earth would you give priority to people on Facebook? Ridiculous! — UWAA member quote

A few years ago, if the University of Washington wanted to connect with alumni it had to spend a small fortune in direct mail marketing and print publishing costs. Email changed all that, and social media is changing the game again. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are giving the UW and all of higher education an immediate and engaging channel to connect with graduates, friends, families and more.

At the UW Alumni Association, we think the 50-plus percent of UWAA members who use Facebook should become our “friends” because there is so much more that can be done through Facebook that email just can’t touch.

For starters, Facebook puts members in charge of their own subscriptions. It allows for more frequent and interactive communication. And it gives alumni the chance to connect with the University and fellow alumni on a deeper, more personal level. Alumni engagement is an inherently social experience, and Facebook is perhaps the most appropriate mass communication tool precisely because it is so social. Plus, it does all of this (and more) for free.

Not all alumni believe this is the best approach. But the UWAA is embracing today’s communications channels and reaching graduates wherever they may be, Facebook or not. Recently, we gave our 6,000-plus Facebook friends a “heads up” that tickets to a members-only showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides would be going on sale soon. We didn’t give Facebook users priority access to these tickets. We merely gave them a “heads up” that tickets were going to go on sale (which we also did for members in the latest issue of the Member E-news). So really, the people who got priority access to these tickets were the members who we have email addresses for. But that caused a stir, as the quote at the top of this post indicates clearly.

Do we have your email address? If not, be sure and update your contact info today.

So, are we backing away from email and replacing it with Facebook? Absolutely not. But we are aware that many of our younger members are doing exactly that. As hard as it is to imagine, “I don’t check my email—I just use Facebook,” is a growing sentiment among new graduates and students. For this reason alone we have to be on Facebook. But the use of any single communication tool should not be a requirement to have a great membership experience, and we can’t force someone to use email any more than we can force them to use Facebook. We need to communicate with alumni on their terms, regardless of whether they prefer email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, web browsing or good ol’ fashioned print media.

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1970s, 2000s stand out in “I love the UW” survey

"I love the UW" member survey

Now that our Spring Membership Drive is underway (it’s going GREAT by the way!), we are starting to look deeper at the more than 900 member comments we received during our “I love the UW” survey.

Some exciting stuff is coming to light. For instance, alumni from the 1970s were well represented, while our newest members (2000-2010) came out in force. The classes of 2010 (62 comments), 2009 (36 comments) and 2006 (32 comments) led all participants. This clearly shows, in members’ own words, that the University of Washington is just as transformative as ever despite deep budget cuts.

Take a look at the above graphic showing survey participants by graduation year. Click here to see a larger view and access more data. Try hovering over 1999 to see how many participants we had from that year.

As always, you can read all the member comments or search by college, class year or favorite UW memories by visiting loveuw.blogspot.com.

Share the page on Facebook to help us spread the word!

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Feel the love – Spring Membership Drive is underway

UWAA members tell us why they love the UW.
Members are the heart of the University of Washington’s alumni community. That’s why we asked members to tell us why they love the UW, and they responded with more than 900 powerful stories.

Our team is working on a new site that will showcase these comments and allow you to read through them. Believe me, they are incredible. We’ll let you know as soon as the page launches, but in the meantime you can get a snapshot of what members said with the tag cloud above.

The size and weight of each term represents the frequency it was used by members in the survey. Clearly, members love the UW. But they also love the campus, Husky sports and the community of people they met along the way. This was an amazing project for the UWAA’s membership team, and we are really excited to share it with you soon.

Great universities have great alumni associations, and more than 50,000 alums have already joined the UWAA. If you are a member, thank you! If not, consider joining during our Spring Membership Drive and cast your vote to stand with fellow Huskies that love the UW and know what a difference it makes.

Learn more about membership here.

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Huskies atwitter over new UW debit card from BECU

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The University of Washington and UW Alumni Association are proud to announce a new partnership with BECU, a business that shares our values and understands our mission. BECU’s new Husky debit card is pretty spiffy and the video promoting it has garnered lots of attention so far.

Detlef Schrempf, Kenny G, Nate Robinson, Rick Steves and Bill Gates Sr., all singing “Bow Down to Washington” … what’s not to love?!

Here is just a sample of what our friends and followers are saying on Twitter:

We’re loving this BECU commercial. Bow Down to Washington! #UW http://ow.ly/3X8MA

UW Husky greats team with @BECU to sing fight song, promote new debit card: Yes, that’s UW Husky Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame!

Love it! Must order it now! Go UW Alums! – Husky Legends Sing UW Fight Song In New BECU Ad http://t.co/SLRT7Ns

I’m taking my talents (and by talents I mean money) to @BECU. How cool is this @UWAlum debit card? http://bit.ly/hXLsea.

Bow Down To Washington With BECU! Go Huskies! #UW #gohuskies #becu http://www.becu.org/uw-debit-card.aspx

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