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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.

Read more…

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UWAA President talks budget on KCTS 9 Connects

This past Friday, UW Alumni Association President Colleen Fukui-Sketchley met with KCTS 9 Connects to discuss the University of Washington and the difficulties facing our state’s higher education budget.

To see Colleen’s interview, skip ahead to the 17-minute mark.

Please note the interview is longer than what we have access to above, so once the clip stops click the bright green button to go to the KCTS 9 site and finish the interview. It’s about seven minutes long.

Colleen was also quoted in this story from The Daily about UW Impact, a civic advocacy resource that helps Huskies speak out for the UW and higher education. UW Impact is mobilizing alumni and i’s building serious momentum right now. It is part of the independent, nonprofit UWAA and does not represent the views of the University of Washington.

To learn more, visit UWimpact.org. Colleen, you are the best!

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Budget woes all the talk in UW community right now

Cherry blossoms on the UW campus
The state legislative session is in full swing and there has been lots of coverage recently about the University of Washington’s budget woes.

On April 3, the Seattle Times reported budget cuts have forced UW officials to admit more out-of-state students this year, thus decreasing the number of in-state applicants who were accepted. The story, titled “Straight-A’s may not get you into the UW this year,” has generated an astonishing 700-plus comments on the Times website.

UW gives us what we asked for is today’s headline from columnist Danny Westneat, who argues the budget situation at UW is exactly what the state asked for when it demanded the UW do “more with less.” Westneat says declining state support strong-arms the UW into operating more like a business.

It’s clearly a critical time for all of us who love the UW. More information can be found on the new UW In Your Community map, and alumni can read UW Alumni Association President Colleen Fukui-Sketchley’s letter to members in the March issue of Columns.

Now, the happy return of Dawg Treats:

  • UW Lecturer Ali Tarhouni was named finance minister of the shadow government in Libya. In a March 16 interview with Voice of America, the former Foster School of Business senior lecturer said, “There’s no fear of Gadhafi and his forces. We know he’s gone. … The question is how many innocent lives he’s going to take with him.” Read more about Tarhouni from the Seattle Times.
  • Sadly, a 20-year-old UW sophomore was killed during an avalanche while snowboarding near Stevens Pass. A candlelight vigil was held for Riley McCarthy on the UW campus March 31.
  • Former Husky quarterback Jake Locker impressed NFL scouts at Washington’s Pro Day at Dempsey Indoor.
  • UWTV recently debuted two new shows that feature independent film making and contemporary performances from the UW’s Chamber Dance Company. UWTV also won three prestigious Telly Awards!
  • UW alum Joe Sutter, the famed chief engineer of the original Boeing 747, had his initials carved into the 747-8 that made its maiden flight March 20.

    Read more…

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Get your science on at Paws-on Science April 8-10

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From racing a solar car to learning how comic books can make us healthier, the second iteration of Paws-on Science: Husky Weekend at Pacific Science Center will take place April 8-10.

There will be exhibits and hands-on (“paws-on” if you’re a true Husky!) activities for the whole family from more than 30 University of Washington research programs. Harry the Husky, the Husky Marching Band, the UW Cheer Squad and everybody’s favorite mascot, Dubs, will make special guest appearances.

All UW alumni, donors, students and staff receive discounted admission. Click here for more info.

Last year’s Paws-on Science was super successful. If you’re free this weekend and looking for something fun and family-oriented, look no further than Paws-on Science.

Stay tuned for a full report after the event!

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One in 3 million: UW alum Diana Inch is the only entrant to correctly pick the Final Four

UW alum Diana Rich correctly picks Final FourBe honest, how many of your teams actually made it to the Final Four this year? Not many, if you’re like most of America. In fact, 80 percent of brackets filled out on the Yahoo! Tourney Pick ‘Em game failed to pick a single Final Four team. Not a single one!

Diana Inch had them all. The UW alum and high school librarian is the only participant out of rougly 3 million in the Yahoo! universe to correctly pick the Final Four: Connecticut, Kentucky, Butler and Virginia Commonwealth. She has UConn vs. Butler in the NCAA title game, and believes the “other” Huskies will win the national championship.

Read a full-length interview with Diana from Yahoo! Sports. She says her favorite numbers are 7 and 11 and picked teams closest to that throughout the tournament. Butler is a No. 8 seed, while VCU was a No. 11 seed. She also picked winners based on mascots that were either dogs, cats or had four legs. UConn Huskies. Kentucky Wildcats. Butler Bulldogs. VCU Rams. “Any mascots we didn’t know, I looked up online,” Diana told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s what librarians do, we look things up!”

A 1996 graduate of the UW iSchool, Diana is a librarian and coaches girls soccer at Jefferson High School near Salem, Ore. Way to go, Diana!

Photo courtesy of AP.

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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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Two UW alums elected to National Academy of Engineering

UW alum Frank Robinson elected to engineering academyTwo UW alums, Frank Robinson and Hank Levy, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the most prestigious honors an engineer can receive.

Robinson, a 1957 UW alum and lifetime member of the UW Alumni Association, is retired president and chairman of Robinson Helicopter Co. He was elected for the “conception, design, and manufacture of low-noise, low life-cycle cost, and high-reliability helicopters.” A former engineer for Bell and Hughes and a few other multimillion-dollar helicopter makers, Robinson wanted to create a reliable “personal” helicopter that was affordable for flight schools, small business and thrill seekers. In 1973, he founded Robinson Helicopter in his living room and today outsells all North American manufacturers put together. Robinson was named one of the 26 most fascinating entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine in 2005.

Levy, a 1987 UW alum, teaches at UW and is the Wissner-Slivka Endowed Chair in Computer Science and Engineering.  He was elected for “contributions to design, implementation, and evaluation of operating systems, distributed systems, and processor architectures.” Levy is the author of two books and over 100 papers on computer systems design, and in 2006 co-founded of Skytap, a Seattle cloud-computing company. He also co-founded Performant, a Java performance company acquired by Mercury in 2003.

Here are this week’s Dawg Treats:

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New – Watch videos on the Columns website

Seattle Camera Club photo by Frank Asakichi Kunishige Betti, ca. 1924. Like Columns magazine? Like UWTV? How about the Seattle Camera Club story that ran in Columns in December and on UW 360 this month?

Then, we hope you’ll love this: Readers can now enjoy our Camera Club story, then watch UW 360′s fantastic episode on the club, all from the Columns website. Click here to watch the video and see the new feature!

This is just another look at how we storytellers are beginning to work together across the UW campus. I’m excited to see how this evolves.

Until then, check out the entire UW 360 February episode :

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