UB looking to stay in better touch with alumni

Less than 20 percent of alumni continue contact with UB after graduation


UB officials are finding it hard to keep in touch with the university’s growing number of alumni.

Out of roughly 243,000 UB alumni, less than 20 percent have continued engagement with UB after graduation, according to Larry Zielinski, executive director at the Office of Alumni Engagement. Provost Charles Zukoski said at a UB Council meeting on Feb. 15 that the university’s relations with alumni need to improve and UB must do more to keep track of the impact they are making on the world

Zielinski said while it’s hard for UB to keep track of where students go after graduation, the university has been taking steps to strengthen their relationships with alumni.

One of those ways is getting in touch with students before they graduate.

“We have to start engaging our future alumni before they leave campus. We don't want to do it too early. We don’t want to get in the way of their academic lives, so we wait until their senior or graduating year,” Zielinski said. “We want to talk about transitioning into the work world, we spend a lot of time in particular on career services."

Zielinksi said UB has developed a virtual platform called the UB Career Community where alumni and students can connect with each other. This will allow both students and alumni to be able to search careers and narrow it down to certain geographical regions.

The Office of Alumni Engagement aims to make alumni feel involved by sending faculty on the road to present their research in the major markets that they have created.

Zielinksi said UB has about 75,000 alumni in the Western New York area and 35,000 in the New York metro area, which are the office’s top two markets to do outreach.

Zielinski said UB needs alumni to donate money to the university, but it’s hard to get people to donate money to something that they are not engaged in.

At Buffalo, UB’s alumni magazine, is sent out to alumni four times a year. The magazine aims to help keep alumni updated on what is going on at the university with information on UB events, research, and annual donors who make donations to UB.

Kristi Fields, an officer at Alumni Career Services said the UB Career Connector Network launched earlier this month, and there are approximately 500 people who have signed up to be career connectors.

The program looks to help students and alumni by allowing a career connector to overlook their resumes, or help them with a mock interview before they have a job interview.

Fields said the program was made alongside Career Services and students will have access to the program by the end of February.

She said the program is a global network and has had alumni from India, Tokyo, Singapore and even Sweden sign up for the program.

“We want alumni to think of UB for their career network, first and foremost,” Fields said.

Sarah Drozda is a news staff writer. News desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.