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Universities Adopt Facebook Alumni Engagement App

A Massachusetts startup has launched an application to help institutions boost engagement with alumni. U For Life has a Facebook application with the same name that lets schools digitize and distribute "current and nostalgic content," including yearbooks, alumni magazines, sports guides, and newsletters.

The idea is that as former members of the school tag photos, post comments, and "like" items, their interactions will proliferate across the Facebook newsfeeds of friends and classmates, as well as existing school Facebook pages.

On the institution side, the program is intended to help development professionals stay up to date on alumni and improve overall participation for events and fundraising. On the alumni side, the application encourages former students to network, rediscover lost friends, and spark conversations.

New Orleans' Tulane University adopted the application in December 2010, initially publishing a small number of digitized yearbooks on "Tulane For Life." The university has also begun to add yearbooks and quarterly alumni magazines.

"The immediate alumni response to Tulane For Life has been overwhelming," said Charlotte Travieso, executive director of Tulane's Alumni Association. "By sharing interesting and fun content in real-time in a comfortable and familiar social media environment, more than 500 alumni have joined and engaged in the Tulane For Life application in less than six weeks. We've received nearly 200 requests for additional yearbooks to be featured on Tulane For Life from graduates spanning decades."

Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts is another new user. "WPI For Life has given our alumni a reason to reengage with us on Facebook," said Jodi Briggs, senior associate director of Alumni Relations. "In just a few weeks, more than 300 users have joined the conversation, and the numbers are growing exponentially every day as members tag friends and classmates, encouraging them to view and share memories and join the fun."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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