Kent State alumni now have the opportunity to reconnect

Jeremy Glass

The Kent State Alumni Association gave its Web site a makeover in May, transforming it into an online community that allows graduates to stay in touch.

The new Web site allows alumni to register with an e-mail address and create a basic personal profile with their city, state and class year.

Brenda Hudkins, associate director of the Alumni Association, said alumni control their personal settings. They can add addresses, e-mails or business information on their profiles.

One feature of the Web site is the ability to receive what Hudkins called a “blind e-mail.” Alumni can keep their e-mail addresses private when receiving messages because their addresses are never seen by the sender.

Another aspect to the new site is the mentoring program, which allows alumni to assist each other.

“We’ve always had where if someone wanted to be a mentor for someone, we could kind of put them in touch,” Hudkins said. “But this you can do yourself.”

The mentoring program on the Web site allows alumni to look within the community and see if anyone is offering services that may help them.

“Say I’m moving to Chicago and I just want to find out a little bit more about what area to go to,” Hudkins said. “I could look in the online community and see who’s volunteered to provide that kind of assistance.”

Hudkins said the Web site also includes a message board with various topics, such as which residence halls alumni lived in and who their favorite professors were.

Lori Randorf, executive director of the Alumni Association, said the community also offers targeted news and event information based on the data entered when alumni sign up for the site.

“If you graduated in ’57, it’s your 50-year reunion this year, and (you) could click on the link and find out about the reunion activities,” Randorf said. “Someone who graduated in ’75 won’t care, but we can target information that way to people. That way, when they’re on the site, there’s stuff that’s relevant to them.”

Randorf said the site will appeal to the entire alumni community.

Although the online community is still a new feature to the Web site, it has allowed some alumni the opportunity to stay in touch with people they otherwise may have lost contact with.

Hudkins said there are also “features where you can send it to a friend, so you can invite them to the community.”

Another element, called “notes,” allows alumni to type notes to other alumni who may not have an e-mail in the alumni directory. This note would then wait for them until they join the community.

Heidi Ludwick, a 2006 graduate, said the site allows her to keep in touch with people she may not have kept in touch with otherwise.

“Mostly the administrative people, faculty and staff who feel more comfortable joining an alumni network than Facebook or MySpace,” she said.

Contact alumni affairs reporter Jeremy Glass at [email protected].