Phases Of Alumni Evolution

Short Description

To gain a full understanding of alumni relations, it makes sense to take a close look at the individual concerned, the alumnus. A closer look at the word itself indicates that the word “alumnus” derives its meaning from the Latin word alos, which means “to nurture”, or in effect, “to support and maintain”. Institutions that generate alumni traditionally redirect their attention to those alumni members for the “support and maintenance” of that organization. Phi Kappa Tau is certainly no exception. While our undergraduate chapters have been called the “lifeblood” of the Fraternity, our alumni are undoubtedly the foundation. The most successful chapters are those that have loyal alumni support and guidance.

Phase 1 – Ages 21 to 26

The undergraduate joins the alumni ranks. During this early period, a young alumnus can better identify with the undergraduates than he can with older alumni. He still knows many of the brothers in the chapter and can go back and feel like part of “the guys”. Loyalty to the chapter is extremely strong. His major concerns at this stage are finding the right career, possibly finding a significant other, and paying off any school loans. Usually he has very little money that he can donate at this point. A young alumnus may begin to find other activities to become involved with. By the end of this phase, he may have started to slip away from the activities of his chapter and into a completely new circle of friends.

Phase 2 – Ages 26 to 36

The number of familiar faces among the undergraduate chapter begins to dwindle and disappear altogether. The alumnus walks into the chapter as a stranger and may feel out of place. Many more pressing concerns than in the previous phase exist: marriage, family, career development, credit card debt, braces for the kids, buying the mini-van, etc. Other groups such as the Masons, Rotary, political parties, and church committees start to take up more and more of the already booked schedule. Numerous charitable groups may be soliciting these Phi Taus for their money. Fraternity priority becomes lower and lower and unless he is drawn back at this time, he may be lost forever.

Phase 3 – Ages 36 to 56

Most of his family is grown and there is a greater degree of stability in his career and finances. Civic involvement also tends to increase, as he may be a pillar of the community. Even more groups are asking for time and money. Sons or daughters begin to attend college and want information on Greek life. Alumni parents may recommend their alma mater. Letters from the chapter are received occasionally but always accompanied with a request for money. He celebrates 25 years of brotherhood in Phi Kappa Tau.

Phase 4 – Ages 56 and over

Alumni offspring begin having their own kids. An alumnus is secure in his job and may have thoughts of retirement. Now that he is in the highest tax bracket, he needs some write-offs. He and his spouse begin to take their dream vacations. 50th anniversary of membership in the Fraternity is celebrated. May read editorials like “Is the Greek system appropriate for the students of today?”

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