|12 Jan 2021|
St Alban’s High School for Girls, a leading independent school in the UK, has a warm and vibrant community that supports alumni and friends of the School for life. Launched in 2020, the St Alban’s High School (STAHS) community site provides a virtual space for alumni to connect, network, receive guidance and support, and reminisce on fond memories.
One of the new initiatives for this year was to host virtual events to bring the community together. What started as a way for staff members and the Head to get together to check in, was reimagined for an alumni audience to get to know the new Head in small groups. They found that groups of around 10 worked best for everyone to participate and to enable meaningful discussion.
STAHS also hosted their very first virtual reunions this year, hosting 50 and 40 year reunions for the classes of 1970 and 1980 respectively. The format of their virtual reunions worked well, with each person speaking about their memories of the school and what they have been up to since leaving. Hosting virtual events has meant that alumni living internationally were able to join in, from the US and Canada to New Zealand, and it opened a whole new audience to engage with the association that had not done so for many years. Plus, having smaller groups in the virtual events - for the 1980 reunion, seven alumni joined - meant that the conversations could be very personal and old friends were able to have a great catch up despite not being able to see each other in person.
To help encourage sign ups for the next reunion, they posted an article on their community site and included screenshots of the event for other alumni to see, and included a note to get in touch if other years would like to arrange a reunion.
Alongside their events to bring the community together, STAHS has also hosted a career webinar series to give alumni a chance to share their industry experience and tips with younger alumni. This has been extremely popular, with an alumna speaking each week from a range of sectors and jobs, and many alumni signing up to listen through their community site. The switch to virtual events has allowed a greater range of speakers to join, with less time required due to the lack of travel.
Alumna to alumna mentoring has begun, with connections being made across the STAHS community. Creating the STAHS mentoring network, alumnae can seek mentors on their online portal, whether they have a few brief questions or want to work long-term towards a career goal. The STAHS team have created a brilliant support guide for mentees to read before reaching out to a mentor, including best practices and tips on how to get the most out of your mentorship. Currently, their mentoring programme includes new graduates, recent school leavers, and alumnae that may be considering a career change or returning to the workplace. However, in the future STAHS hope to offer mentoring opportunities for current students, as this could be extremely beneficial when considering future career or university options.
STAHS sends out an annual magazine to their community, including a round up of their recent events and upcoming dates for diaries, an ‘alumnae bookshelf’ of all recent publications by alumnae, photographs and archives of the school. Using ToucanTech, they can complete a mail merge to easily get the correct contact and address information, and pull a list of those who have opted in to receive the publication. Following this, they also upload their magazine to the site for alumnae to download and read again, with magazines dating back to 2006 available!
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