New Director of Alumni Engagement Links Past and Present

by Renae Morgan

A new Department of Alumni Engagement has been established at WCC to reach out to former students.

Most US colleges have a dedicated alumni department that seeks to strengthen the connection with their students after graduation and now WCC is no exception. The alumni department at WCC believes that alumni can be beneficial to the college in order to maintain connections with past students and their alma mater, allowing former students to share beneficial experiences with current students who are pursuing their field of study.

Newly appointed Director of Alumni Engagement, Michelle Schleibaum is hoping that she can utilize her experience to leverage the Alumni’s effort.

“When I was a student in college, I got involved with the alumni office,” Schleibaum said. “We represented the students at all of the alumni events so that the alumni would have an opportunity to talk to us students, and be aware of what was happening on campus.”

Schleibaum spoke in detail about how hearing from alumni themselves will be beneficial for current students.

“The students have an opportunity to hear about the alumni’s experiences; whether it is their experience as a student, transitioning from being a student to another school or moving into the workforce.” — Michelle Schleibaum, Director of Alumni Engagement

“The students have an opportunity to hear about the alumni’s experiences; whether it is their experience as a student, transitioning from being a student to another school or moving into the workforce,” Schleibaum said. “They give a lot of job experience as well, and help students get internships and pursue their own path beyond their time here at the college.”

Vice president and Dean of External affairs. Eve Larner, expressed the impact that Alumnis can have on WCC.

“All throughout Westchester and the region, there are WCC alumni who are working in all different types of companies,” Larner said. “Some are independent entrepreneurs and there are many who have strong feelings for WCC and want to know what is going on and enjoy the opportunity to give back while bringing their expertise back to campus from their work experience.”

Larner then elaborated on how establishing connections between students and alumni can provide long-term benefits.

“That kind of collaboration between our outreach with alumni and the programs that career services is providing to students—that is where students and alumni intersect,” Larner said. “Making and forging connections with alumni can be beneficial to students just because we got the connections out there in the world and our students should be able to take advantage of them.”

This connection between WCC and alumni is not only a physical requirement, but it also exists virtually to facilitate the connection process. There is an online community that alumni can join, as well as a Linkedin and Facebook page that provides information on various support programs on campus that are still available as a graduate. However, Schleibaum acknowledges that there is room to improve alumni contact via social media.

“We hope to do more active posting; it has not been very active,” said Schleibaum.“We haven’t taken full advantage of the ability to post often and to keep alumni informed.”

Director of College Community Relations, Patrick Hennessey is very enthusiastic about the plans that the Alumni Association have in place for the college.

“Michelle is new and we are really waiting some exciting stuff to happen and we are already discussing some of those ideas,” Hennessey said. “It is a great time for the college and we really think we will be able to expand what we do in terms of alumni.”

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