Alumni Volunteer Connection

New Alumni Advisory Committees Introduced

Alumni volunteers wear many hats in working for the Association and the Institute. A few new hats were thrown into the ring this summer, as the Association established a pilot program of five alumni-advisory groups for alumni activities. Groups of 15 to 20 alumni volunteers will advise and serve the association in the areas of the Alumni Travel Program, Classes and Reunions, Graduate Alumni, Young Alumni, and Alumni Clubs.

Members of these five committees will work with the Association staff in their respective areas. Advisory groups are expected to assist the Association in evaluating existing programs, communicating alumni preferences and interests, and cultivating other alumni volunteers.

“We are looking to build partnerships with our volunteers in building programs and services that we provide for the entire alumni community,” says Rosemarie Resnik, director of alumni activities and geographic programs. “These committees will be a tremendous resource.”

Members of the new committees were drawn from a diverse pool of volunteers representing a cross section of the alumni population. “In order for these committees to be successful, they needed to include alumni who were both undergraduate and graduate students, male and female, from all different courses, a variety of class years, and a variety of geographic and cultural backgrounds,” says Resnik.

One committee that has already begun contributing is the Alumni Travel Program advisory group, which was up and running in the fall of 2001. “Our travel program has really benefited from having alumni input,” says Resnik. “They have helped us make decisions on which trips to offer, how to market the trips to other alumni, and how to better structure our Web travel pages.”

The committees met for the first time at the Alumni Leadership Conference in September, and many will convene again in the spring of 2003. Association staff in the respective areas will also be in continual contact and communication with the volunteers on a more informal basis. Advisory group members will serve either two- or three-year terms, which are staggered to rotate membership evenly.

“These committees help give a broader range of alumni a voice in what goes on with their association and the Institute,” says Resnik. “Reunions, clubs, and alumni travel are some of the most popular alumni programs. Graduate alumni will soon encompass a majority of the alumni population. Our young alumni encompass the future leaders of the Association and the Institute. These advisory groups and the feedback they provide will be central to all we can accomplish in the coming years.”

Marks Named Chair of Alumni Fund Board

When he was a young man, Scott P. Marks Jr. ‘68 says his personal circumstances gave him a vague notion of the importance of alumni support for the Institute.

“As a student, I was very conscious that financial aid was important to me, otherwise I couldn’t have been there. As I remember it, my undergraduate scholarship was underwritten by AMF,” Marks says. “But my awareness of the importance of giving came later. I remember that, inevitably, I was solicited after graduation, but the first time I can really remember thinking about the importance of giving back was when I was living in New York City, maybe 10 years out of the Institute.”

In accepting the important MIT volunteer chairmanship of the Alumni Fund Board, Marks will now be charged with thinking-more than ever before-about the importance of alumni support for MIT. A veteran of the Fund Board and former chairman of the Alumni Fund’s goals committee, Marks brings a wealth of fund-raising experience to his new post. He is a member of MIT’s Corporation Development Committee, and in the past, he has served on several reunion gift committees.

It’s not surprising that Marks’s extensive experience as a volunteer with the Alumni Association has helped him build strong ties with the Association staff with whom, as Fund Board chair, he will be working.

“We are very excited to have Scott as this year’s Fund Board chair,” says Elizabeth Garvin HM ‘02, managing director of the Alumni Association and director of the Alumni Fund. “He brings to the position a tremendous range of experience from serving on other nonprofit boards, as well as incredible marketing expertise, enthusiasm, energy, and a creative drive.” In 2000 he was the recipient of MIT Alumni Association’s Lobdell award, which recognizes alumni relations service over a sustained period.

“An MIT alum who continues to this day to be very active in MIT affairs, a man who worked at Morgan Stanley, came to visit me in my office at American Express in New York City,” Marks says, recalling his first up-close-and-personal brush with MIT fund raising. “I remember I was enormously flattered that this obviously quite senior person had taken the time to call on me. I had written a few small checks to the Institute, not much. But he came as part of a personal solicitation program, and it made an impression. That’s when it really clicked.”

Marks received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, and he has amassed a wealth of experience in the private sector, working at such firms as First Chicago NBD, American Express, ROI Consulting, and McKinsey. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Pamela.

“I think giving to MIT is important because I feel an obligation to repay a kind of debt,” he says. “On a different level, I feel that giving is important because MIT holds a unique place in the ranks of U.S. higher education, and the Institute needs the support of all its alumni and friends to remain at the leading edge.”

FY03 Alumni Fund Board Members

The Alumni Fund Board boasts several new members, a new chairman in Scott P. Marks Jr. ‘68-who replaces Gregory E. Moore ‘73-and a challenging task in the year ahead: keeping the Alumni Fund going strong in a year of fiscal uncertainty. The FY03 board members include:
Gregory Arenson ‘70
(goals committee)
Scott Marks ‘68
Douglas G. Bailey ‘72
John E. Miller, SM ‘53
Andreas Bommarius ‘82
Gregory E. Moore ‘73
(goals committee)
Allan S. Bufferd ‘59, SM ‘61, ScD 65 Erin O’Boyle, AR ‘85
Thomas Davis ‘84
(chairman of goals committee)
Paula Olsiewski PhD ‘79
Glen Dorflinger ‘46
Rhonda Peck ‘81
Elizabeth A. Garvin HM
(director of the Alumni Fund
and managing director of the
Alumni Association)
Jared J. Safirstein ‘57
Joseph Harrington III ‘61
Michael H. Schoen ‘87
William J. Hecht ‘61
Donald E. Shobrys ‘75
Shaheen Husain, SM ‘81 Arthur S. Turner ‘52
John G. Kassakian ‘65 Annalisa Weigel ‘94
James Lash ‘66
(Alumni Association president)
Hettithanthrige (Sanith) Wijesinghe
(Graduate Student Council president)

Alumni Activities Calendar

The Alumni Travel Program offers two family programs this December, with active itineraries and hands-on program content that are structured for the entire family to enjoy.

This year, Family Travel Programs venture off to Tanzania for safaris in the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Parks, as well as  to Costa Rica for an ecological adventure through the Tortuguero National Park and the Sarapiqui river region. Brochures and more information about Family Programs are available. E-mail compass@mit.edu or call toll free at 800-992-6749.

There are several other MIT calendars and listings available online through the main MIT Web site. They include up-to-date information on everything from the Young Alumni Seminar Series to ballroom dance lessons at Walker Memorial. Check out the complete index of MIT community events at web.mit.edu/calendar.html.

For information on the following events and other alumni listings, visit the Association events calendar online at web.mit.edu/alum/explore/calendar/.

Oct. 18 - 20 Family Weekend MIT campus
Oct. 25 - 27 MIT Theta Chi 100th anniversary celebration
Nov. 2 Club of Washington Event Udvar-Hazy construction tour
Nov. 1 - 3 MIT Phi Sigma Kappa Centennial
Nov. 2 MIT on the Road, Detroit
Nov. 4 Young Alumni Seminar, Chicago
Nov. 7 Club of Minnesota, Charles M. Vest HM
Nov. 12 Club of Boston Seminar Series, William Wheaton
Nov. 12 Club of Washington Seminar Series, John Hansman ‘80
Nov. 15 - 21 Alumni Travel Program, Cuba
Dec. 20 - Jan. 1 Alumni Travel Family Program, Serengeti Safari
Dec. 21 - 30 Alumni Travel Family Program, Costa Rica
Dec. 30 Club of Chicago holiday party for admitted students

Electronic Postcards

Alumni volunteers now have an improved online resource at their disposal as they reach out and make connections with the general alumni population. The electronic postcards section of the Alumni Association Web site now includes several new images and the capacity to save each electronic greeting.

The postcards feature nine categories of MIT-oriented images, including campus photos, Charles River views, MIT hacks, and a new category of Tim the Beaver cartoons. With the addition of the eight new Tim the Beaver (and Tina the Beaver) cartoons, alumni can now choose from 72 postcards. The humorous drawings of the MIT mascot were done by local artist Tim Fish.

More important, the collection of postcards was enhanced to allow users to save the electronic greetings they send. For volunteers who use the postcards to drum up attendance at events, keep in touch with alumni, or solicit participants, it is so easy to send one message to multiple recipients, as well as keep a record of their correspondence.

“We heard from several alumni volunteers that this was a programming improvement they were eager to see,” says Maggy Bruzelius, director of alumni network services for the Alumni Association. “We are always on the lookout for ways to enhance our online services for alumni.”

The postcards are accessible to alumni with an Infinite Connection account and can be found on the Association Web site at web.mit.edu.

Shop The COOP Online for Custom Insignia Wear

The MIT Alumni Association has recently entered into an agreement with the Coop to provide online ordering of MIT insignia wear, including custom-designed items for special groups such as clubs and classes.

The online catalog of MIT items includes everything from adult sweatshirts and hats to posters, jewelry, and a selection of gift items from Tiffany. Many alumni favorites are featured, such as MIT captain’s chairs, MIT hooded sweatshirts for babies and children, as well as a wide variety of items from the MIT Museum, for example, the book of hacking lore, Is This the Way to Baker House?

Of particular interest to club and class volunteers is the Coop’s online custom factory, where users can design personalized clothing items with their own names or logos. They can also get quantity discounts when they order for groups. The easy-to-use Web interface allows purchasers to customize an existing design, create their own designs, or submit original artwork for printing or embroidery.

The custom factory offers the ideal way to order special T-shirts for an upcoming reunion or minireunion or to create a unified look for your club’s softball team. Larger clubs or affinity groups might want to create custom items to sell to their members to help support their groups’ activities. Many items in the Coop catalog are also specialized for Sloan School of Management graduates.

Additionally, volunteers who place orders through the custom factory do not have to worry about securing proper logo and branding rights for their merchandise. This removes a sometimes complicated step from the process of ordering merchandise that features the MIT logo or name.

“A few clubs are already lining up to order T-shirts, hats, and even key chains,” says Christine Tempesta, who is director of alumni clubs, alumni career services, and special constituencies for the Alumni Association. “The Coop offers a range of gifts, banners, and other items that our club officers should find very useful.”

“We’re hopeful that our reunion classes will take advantage of this resource,” adds Monica Ellis, director of reunion class giving and events for the Alumni Association. “Each year, many class officers scramble at the last minute to put something together for their returning classmates. Hopefully, this will make life a little easier for them.”

When you shop through the online Coop catalog from the MIT Alumni Association Web site, a portion of the proceeds from your purchases will benefit the Association. The money will be used to support the wide variety of programs and services for alumni, including career services, regional seminars, and online services.

To get to the Coop online, go to web.mit.edu/alum/merchandise/ or look for the Merchandise & More link on the left-hand navigation bar of the Alumni Association site.

What’s New on the Web

In addition to the upgraded electronic postcards and the new merchandise sites, fall brings a host of new Web features of interest to alumni:

The Technology of Housing: Stephen Stuntz ‘67 says the housing industry could benefit from a dose of technology, and he’s doing something about it. In the October “What Matters” column, Stuntz talks about why he founded Acton, MA-based Greentech Housing, a company creating modular housing that’s attractive, sustainable, energy-efficient, and affordable. Read more at alumweb.mit.edu/what matters/.

MIT Age Lab: Focusing on ideas and technology for healthy living, the MIT Age Lab Web site includes links to the lab’s research, as well as recent media coverage of the lab’s work. Research focuses on lifelong transportation, healthy homes, and usable technologies. The Resource Links button at web.mit.edu/agelab/ will connect you to the Web sites of a broad selection of organizations that range from AARP and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging to WiredSeniors.com.

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