Alumni Executive Council Business Meeting Minutes
October 23, 2016
President Forbes called the meeting to order at 8:34 a.m.
I. Roll Call
Ms. North called the roll:
Members present: Abernethy, Armstrong, Bantz, Colucci, Cowan, Dana, Danielson, Faulkner, Forbes, Halstead, Hansen, Jenkins, Kadick, Lee, Lloyd, McKee, Murray, North, Peterson, Posener, Rood, Ryan (Dennis), Scuteri, Sprague, Sullivan, Terrillion, Thomson, Weaver
Student delegates present: Brouillette, Weaver
Members absent: Chatterjee, Chrzanowski-Sears, Fagan, Hallock, MacBrayne, McLaughlin, Ryan (Molly), Taylor, Williams
Mr. Forbes declared a quorum was present for the conduct of business.
Approval and acceptance of minutes from the Business Meeting at Canaras on June 12, 2016, and the virtual meeting held via teleconference on August 15, 2016: Both minutes were approved unanimously on a motion by Mr. Sprague and a second by Ms. Lloyd.
III. President's report
Mr. Forbes thanked the Mission work group and the steering committee for their work over the summer on our Mission Statement and goals. We are now looking forward to getting our marching orders from our partners in University Advancement for the capital campaign. We heard 4 Big Ideas from Tom Pynchon yesterday. Mr. Forbes closed by relaying a statement by Bill Fox: At SLU we don't suffer from the tyranny of perfection. We teach students to believe in their own confidence. To adapt and adjust.
IV. Campus report
Ms. Hissong stated that Council’s focus relative to the campaign will be to assist with increasing alumni participation and broadening alumni engagement. The A&E Committee will work with Mr. Pynchon to discuss in more detail how the Council’s work will assist the campaign. University Advancement is ready to build out the key statements for the campaign. There will be one overall statement and one for each Big Idea. All campaign positions have been filled, but there are still several critical positions in UA, including Director of Planned Giving; 2 remote positions in Boston and Fairfield County, CT, and the Director of Corporate and Foundation relations.
Homecoming is next weekend, October 28-30, 2016. This will be a huge Saints athletic weekend with football, hockey and soccer games. Friday is the annual Athletic Hall Of Fame induction. Saturday will see the Laurentian tents for alumni at both the football and soccer games. The Singing Saints will perform. There is a Costume 4k Run. There will also be “Puck with Puck” wherein our new football coach, Puckhaber, will host a reception at the hockey arena. We are expecting approximately 500 alums/parents to attend the weekend.
V. Treasurer's report
Ms. North reported that we went into this budget year with $6,895 and have revenue of $30,000 from the Bookstore. Expenses YTD are $31,104 against a budget of $57,450. Additional expenses will be posted for this budget year.
VI. Committee Reports
Ms. Lloyd thanked her 6 members and 7 emeriti members for their efforts. The Committee is organized around 3 pillars: Volunteer recruitment, Affinities and Participation. Volunteer recruitment is working with Joe Keniston to build a database of potential volunteers for a variety of positions such as Class reporters, reunion chairs, career counseling. The goal of the Participation pillar is to increase alumni participation. To that end, two letters are going out in November. Mr. Abernethy’s letter will go to class years 1997-2014; Mr. Danielson’s letter will go to class years 1968-1996. These letters will go to alums who have given previously but not in the last 2 years. The Affinities pillar is building a roadmap.
Mr. McKee recalled that we used to get cards that stated what an individual had given in the past, and if a pledge had been made, what is due. He does not recall getting them now. Ms. Faulkner suggested that future letters to alums include a name from each decade to make stories more personal. Mr. Abernethy noted that this is a pilot to see if there's a response.
Ms. North reported that the Committee reviewed budget requests for the 2017 budget year and there are a few follow up questions for the Committees. The F&R Committee requests that AEC members who attend events sponsored by AEC report back to the sponsoring Committee on AEC recognition (signage, did someone from AEC get a chance to speak, etc.) The preliminary budget for 2017 has a revenue to expense shortfall of approximately $13,000, even with some trimming. Ms. North presented 3 options for discussion by Council members: Council can raise funds to cover the shortfall; we can cut back on programs funded; we can cover the shortfall with our available cash balance. In general, it was agreed by Council members present that raising funds to cover the shortfall was not the best use of our time and talents, which should be spent instead on efforts directed at increasing alumni participation, engaging students and expanding the alumni network. It was generally agreed that the shortfall will be covered by a combination of program reduction and using our available cash balance. The timeline was reviewed with a goal of having the 2017 budget ready for approval at the December 3, 2016, virtual meeting.
Ms. Bantz reported that the M&H Committee has a “short list” of more than 40 prospective new council members. This is a tremendous increase from previous years. The Committee is looking at their review process in order to streamline the process. They have revised the prospect letter. Between the expansion and retirees, we need 24 more people over the next two years (12 this year, 12 next.) Mr. Forbes noted that 3 members of M&H will retire next year. Per our bylaws, we need 1 rep from each cluster on M&H. Please consider raising your hand for this Committee if you have an interest. Mr. Posener noted that we have talked previously of keeping emeritus members engaged and asked how does that work? Mr. Forbes responded that emeriti members are an important resource especially in Campaign time. Mr. Murray encouraged greater ethnic diversity in our AEC makeup. This was agreed as
important, and it was noted that this is challenging for some of the older clusters as the SLU population at the time lacked diversity.
Ms. Bantz closed by noting that the Sol Feinstone Award and Alumni Citations nominations are due Nov 1. The nominations are reviewed by M&H and recommendations are passed to the Board of Trustees. Ms. Hissong noted that since these awards are given at reunion, please think of candidates for these awards who will be participating in their reunion in June. Ms. Bantz later noted that all M&H committee members are busy and have met every week for 6 weeks.
Ms. Peterson noted that the Awards & Citations are a very moving part of Reunion. The SS&R Committee will be split into two separate Committees going forward. Ms. Terrillion is heading Student Services and Ms. Weaver is heading Recruitment. Jeff Rickey reported to the Committee that Admissions had a challenging year and did not meet their recruitment goal of 650 new students (565). A consultant hired by the Admissions department has offered several possible reasons, including: we may have been overly focused on reducing the discount rate too fast; we are now competing against higher level schools; due to the database conversion last year, we may have lost track of juniors, impacting our ability to connect; and we just didn't execute. Furthermore, the “Gen Z” student needs to be approached differently. They do not tend to be on Facebook (although we all are). An Early Decision video has been developed; snapchat is used to connect with them. To date, visit days are up. There is an effort to bring Early Decision kids to campus in January to maintain enthusiasm. This visit could coincide with AEC’s January meeting. Admissions is planning local April yield events. AEC will do phone calls & letters again to a very targeted audience. Student Services: Ron Albertson & Beth Larrabee reported to the Committee that there were 57 internships awarded; SLUConnect is expanding; and 38 sophomores were interviewed by AEC in the Mock Interview session. More companies are moving to phone/Skype interviews, so AEC may be asked to conduct mock interviews over the phone/Skype to help prepare students prior to applying for job. Student Services asks that AEC members set up profiles in LinkedIn and log into AlumniFire. Shadow a Saint will be done over AlumniFire this year. FYP will be doing pitch contests and this will be a way for alums to get involved with students early. We will host the traditional Mocktail during our January meeting. Ms. Hissong strongly suggested that we check out the Early Decision link on the SLU website. The video was put together by Joe Blum, the University’s new videographer. Mr. Murray noted that AEC could benefit from a presentation on snapchat. Mr. Posener asked if committee alignment could be added to our member list. We will also add the results of the compass exercise (N/S/E/W) to the member list and ask all members who did not do the exercise, as well as new members going forward, to complete it.
VII. Student Delegates
Ms. Brouillette thanked Council for a fantastic weekend and noted that she is happy to represent the student body. A big focus with students is the Unity project video which was developed in DC to combat divisiveness in political rhetoric. Mr. Wheeler participated in the exercise shown in the video, which demonstrates how connected we all are. SLU had to apply to participate. Mr. Wheeler informed the group that Ted Talk is coming to SLU. The theme is Pursuit of Harmony. 10 students and several alumni (including former Council President Deena McCullough) will present. It will be broadcast on TVs on campus on November 12 and will also be live streamed. Ms. Hissong will send the link. In general, students on campus are happy. Ms. Brouillette and Mr. Weaver endorse the SLUConnect program as a means to
foster student and alumni engagement. They would be interested in seeing us move forward with more SLUConnect venues. They suggested consideration of small seminar/presentation with students focusing on topics that would be useful to students that is not covered in the curriculum, such as a personal finance class. Ms. Hansen volunteered to help with this effort. They suggested that young alumni could help educate students on things they need to know going out into the real world, such as finding an apartment, paying rent, writing checks. Another suggestion proposed to increase participation by students is to have a t-shirt drive where $3 goes to SLU. They believe this would be an incentive to give and we could focus on upper classmen. Instilling a culture of giving back is a long term project. Ms. Faulkner asked how selling t-shirts would align with Senior Class gift? Ms. Brouillette responded that it is a separate pool of money; further, the T-shirts would be offered to all students (not just seniors). Ms. Bantz stated she was curious from their perspective whether the awareness of alumni council is increasing on campus? Ms. Brouillette noted that coffee during L4L helps to make people aware and all students are into the Bells, but we need to make sure they know they come from AEC. Mr. Weaver noted that many students don't know about us and we need to brand ourselves more, such as signage in more open places at events. Ms. Colucci asked if there is still a Senior Class Gift Committee. Ms. Hissong answered that yes, it still exists. Ms. Peterson asked what is the student alumni committee. Ms. Brouillette answered that they work with UA to put on events when AEC is not on Campus (L4L Week, Homecoming, Class Gift, Thank SLU notes to alumni).
VIII. New Business
Two resolutions were presented and voted on.
WHEREAS The Alumni Executive Council has worked diligently in 2016 to align with St. Lawrence University,
WHEREAS The Alumni Executive Council has adopted a new mission that demonstrates this renewed alignment,
WHEREAS The Steering Committee — the officers and chairs of the St. Lawrence University Alumni Executive Council — have worked to build consensus and renewed commitment,
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Alumni Executive Council adopts these goals for the 2016-18 term: Increase the alumni participation rate in the annual fund; Increase alumni engagement; Sustain and expand student and alumni connections to build the Laurentian network; and to actively serve as ambassadors of/for the University.
Motion to accept by Ryan, second by Rood. Vote to accept resolution was unanimous.
Lisa Cania Resolution
WHEREAS Lisa M. Cania M’82, Vice President for Community and Employee Relations, demonstrates an unyielding devotion and a fiery passion — both manifested daily through thoughtful, loyal love — to St. Lawrence University,
WHEREAS St. Lawrence University, our Candle in the Wilderness, shines ever brighter as a North Country beacon because she has spent three decades of her career working to secure a radiant future for this vital institution,
WHEREAS the St. Lawrence University Alumni Executive Council has grown to support and promote the University in myriad ways during her 18 years as liaison and tireless advocate,
WHEREAS hundreds of alumni volunteers from every living generation have benefited from her perspective, her passion, her mentorship and her devotion to St. Lawrence,
WHEREAS she adopted the Alumni Executive Council and its membership as family, extending the Laurentian pillars of inclusion and grace to all,
WHEREAS the Council has, through her leadership, commitment and vision, become a driving force in perpetuating one of the greatest alumni networks in the world through two decades of work to connect today’s Laurentians with more than 34,000 graduates,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED on this 23rd Day of October, 2016, that the St. Lawrence University Alumni Executive Council salutes and expresses enduring gratitude to Lisa M. Cania M’82 for her service and commends upon her the status of Liaison Emerita (and extraordinaire)!
Motion to accept by Lloyd, second by Abernethy. Vote to accept resolution was unanimous.
Motion to adjourn by McKee, seconded by Scuteri.
Meeting was adjourned by Mr. Forbes at 10:08 a.m.
Minutes humbly submitted by Mr. Cowan.