Everybody knows how important it is to stay in contact with those who move abroad. Now, however, Alumni Relations Officers at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have put such words into action and, together with the new Provost, Patrick Prendergast, they have been getting in closer contact with their vast network of graduates across the globe.
Alumni Office Administrator Amy Brodigan explained the approach. “We have a very active international alumni group—we have about 90,000 graduates in 130 countries, and we have approximately 70 alumni branches across the globe.” Brodigan did note that some branches are more active than others, but that, in general, each would have about three formal events per year, a stipulation that is part of the branch guidelines on the number of events they should hold. “The main aim is to keep the Trinity community alive abroad, enabling graduates to keep in touch with each other and the college,” she said.
“It’s a good way for us to keep in touch with our graduates too, who are going to all corners of the earth at the moment,” said Brodigan.
Regarding increased graduate emigration in recent years, she said, “We have always had the UK ones because a lot of our graduates were traditionally from the UK, but recently, with emigration, a much larger percentage of our alumni are in countries like Canada and Australia.”
Australia is a country where TCD alumni are making more efforts to stay in contact with Trinity graduates. Trinity’s Provost, Patrick Prendergast, will be travelling there next week on a fundraising mission, and he will be visiting some of Trinity’s alumni branches while there (e.g. in Sydney and Melbourne).
“We always try and tie in alumni events with the itineraries of travelling academics,” explained Brodigan.
“For a lot of the younger graduates, especially the ones that arrive in New York, they are really looking for jobs. The alumni can’t always help them out with that, but it’s an excellent platform for them to network. Our most active branches are in London and New York—they would have a lot of business-type networking events that younger graduates find very useful,” she said.
In recent years, TCD has put a lot more emphasis on staying in contact with alumni. “There are obviously huge benefits in keeping in touch with our alumni. There is also the fundraising element to it: as things get tighter, we are looking to the alumni to give back to the college, where traditionally they might not have,” said Brodigan.
Trinity’s emphasis on alumni traditionally wouldn’t have been like American models, where wealthy graduates would provide vast financial funding because they would have seen the greater costs associated with education there.
Brodigan said that if alumni can’t give financially, they can still give back in non-monetary terms, such as through career mentoring and networking.
In an initiative introduced by the new provost, Trinity has also introduced a Global Relations Department, the mission which is to raise Trinity’s profile internationally for student recruitment, ranking, and research collaborations.