The pair of KU Alumni Association program staffers are looking at potential growth cities as part of their goal of unique and diverse programming across the nation. Their itinerary included visits to Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, and New York City.
Kallail, d’04, l’07, and Woods, j’13, hosted a meeting at each stop to connect existing network leaders with new area volunteers. They introduced their plan for successful networks to the group, and then let the local alumni plan amongst themselves.
“We really want to empower all of the network leaders,” Woods said. “These leaders know their network way better than we ever could. We just want to give them the tools to build a successful network and let them run with it. This will ultimately help the network sustain and grow for years to come.”
One of the main goals of the network visits was to promote planning events in all of the five event buckets such as Rock Chalk Connect, which provides networking opportunities, and Rock Chalk Cultivate, which gives alumni the opportunity to learn a new skill—often from other Jayhawks.
“For our network moving forward, I would like to see the meeting’s enthusiasm to continue,” Brandon Snook, New York City network leader, said. “I want us to fully embrace the new event branding, which I love…especially KU Cares. It will be a great way for us to give back to the community, and strengthen our bonds in the process. I hope the new branding will be a springboard for our network board, and that everyone involved won’t be hesitant in popping out fresh new ideas for programming.”
Kallail and Woods also introduced a new structure for network leadership. Instead of traditional roles such as president, vice president, and treasurer, networks will have leaders who manage event buckets. “I like the concept of having a group with individuals focused on different areas of outreach for the Alumni Association,” Scott Lundgren, Portland network leader, said.
After the planning meeting, other local Jayhawks joined for a happy hour. Both Snook and fellow New York City network leader Kellie Johnson were pleased with their meeting. “We assembled a nice variety of people who seem enthusiastic to lead,” Snook said.
Wherever they went, Kallail and Woods were excited to see the networks’ turnout. Johnson has a theory why.
“I think KU alumni attend the events to keep that special connection alive. I’ve met several people from other schools who have noted that KU alumni are the most loyal they have ever met. One told me he doesn’t get involved with his alumni because he left nothing there – and when I asked him to clarify – he said it was clear all of us had left our hearts in Lawrence.”
David O’Brien, j’86, has been the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Braves beat writer since 2002—but he’s been a Jayhawk since his arrival on the Hill in 1982. David joined the KU Alumni Association as an annual member immediately following his 1986 graduation, and after faithfully renewing for nearly 30 consecutive years, he recently demonstrated his unwavering loyalty by becoming a Proud Life Member. He always enjoys talking baseball, music, motorcycles, cool new restaurants he finds on his travels and, most especially, all things crimson and blue.
If the past week is any indication, the ’Hawk Days of Summer are still going strong.
Alumni Association staff members hosted a boat cruise with all-you-can-eat crabs in Washington, D.C.; a behind-the-scenes tour of Madison Square Garden in New York City; a harbor cruise Charleston, South Carolina; a wine tasting in Springdale, Arkansas; and a day at the Topeka Zoo. We also co-hosted three events with KU Libraries and their popular Naismith artifacts exhibit in Huntersville and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Our socially-savvy staff and volunteers posted updates and pictures online during each of the events, so we put them together in one place for easy consumption. Check it out below, or click here to see the story on Storify.
A few highlights: the most spirited KU fan ever, a yet-to-be-explained food fight involving baked beans, and the appearance of Caitlin Wise, our former coordinator of student programs who now lives in the Washingon, D.C. area. Enjoy!
This event is part of the ‘Hawk Days of Summer, the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.
Members of the KU Alumni Association’s Atlanta Chapter had the opportunity to help kick off March Madness in the city where the road to the Final Four will end this year!
Chapter leader Erica Smith recruited local Jayhawks to participate in HLN’s live March Madness kickoff event at the CNN Center, which aired Monday on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. Six Jayhawks showed up to show off their school spirit, along with fans of Indiana, Ohio State, Syracuse and Georgetown.
How did the group determine a national champion? Like any good kids on the playground would settle it: rock, paper, scissors.
Erica was voted into the Final Four by her Jayhawks, and although KU ended up as the national runner-up, we think Erica deserves a trophy for playing the most games.
Check out the hilarious video of the Final Four, rock, paper, scissors-style:
HLN wanted to know how the teams got their nicknames, and in this video Ryan Stewart explains the Jayhawks:
Thanks to the Atlanta Jayhawks for representing KU!
Is your KU Alumni chapter doing something fun, unusual or exciting to celebrate March Madness? We want to hear about it! Email us at email@example.com.