Highlights of the
Financially, your Rensselaer Alumni Association is healthy and growing. The RAA fund balance at the end of fiscal year 1998-99 (June 30, 1999) is $820,000. This fund balance consists of income from RAA programs and investment gains. The graph (right) illustrates RAA support of campus and alumni initiatives over the past five years. In early fiscal year 1999-2000, the RAA fund balance should reach $1.2 million due to an upfront guarantee payment from the renewal of our credit card program with MBNA, investment gains, and new income programs. This will enable the RAA to increase significantly its campus/alumni program support, as reflected in the 1999-2000 budget.
The past year has seen increased alumni participationespecially at the regional levelin the 30 U.S. and six international chapters. Through the sharing of best practices among chapter leaders in the RAA Chapter Support and Relations Committee, several regional events drew record crowds. Many of these events centered on the Institute's 175th Anniversary and were held at unique locations such as LegoLand in southern California and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. International chapters focused on professional activities. Alumni in the Taiwan and Hong Kong chapters were integrally involved in information technology symposia held by Rensselaer in those countries and in Beijing, China.
Networking and career services, offered through the Web and through an increased number of regional and virtual alumni groups based on common affinities, have flourished over the past year. An Entrepreneur Network was established, which will combine regional activities in New York City and Silicon Valley with a full-service Web page. AlumServ, the alumni Web page found at www.alumni.rpi.edu, now provides links to affinity groups, along with an e-mail directory, free "E-mail for Life," topical listservs, and alumni news updates.
Closer ties to current students are critical to ensure a smooth transition from campus life to connected alumni. Several successful new programs were launched this year, such as the Regional Alumni Open House for graduating students, which introduced students to alumni who live in their new location. Other student-centered programs include the Legacy program, Back to Campus Speaker series, Red & White student organization, and the involvement of student groups with RAA board activities.
The volunteer relations program continued to grow. An effort has been initiated to develop a new volunteer identification, placement, and progression program that regularly provides communication, training, and recognition of our important alumni partners. Descriptive "involvement opportunities" sign-up sheets have been made available at Rensselaer events and through an interactive form on the AlumServ Web page (www. alumni.rpi.edu).
The RAA continued to demonstrate its leadership through significant financial support of major Rensselaer initiatives, including a gift of $10,000 to the Approach restoration project. RAA gifts are possible in part due to the success of the RAA's marketing program, including the growing MBNA credit card, popular RAA travel programs, and new class ring replacement program.
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