WashU Network volunteers are the heart and soul of our regional, professional, and shared interest and cultural networks. Volunteers create and maintain ties between the university and its diverse alumni community by planning and managing a wide range of events, such as panel discussions, happy hours, book talks, faculty lectures, community service projects, and sporting or cultural events.
Network volunteers often serve on an executive committee that helps plan, promote, and execute local and regional events open to alumni, parents, and friends of WashU. These events should appeal to the interests of a majority of members, and events typically fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Continuing education and professional development presentations by university faculty, distinguished alumni, friends, and noted local figures
- Showcasing of the strengths and achievements of Washington University, including faculty research and expertise, student accomplishments, academic programs, and service to society
- Civic and community engagement
- Career networking opportunities for alumni and parents to develop their businesses or gather helpful information and advice
- Intellectual, cultural, and social exchanges and opportunities to connect with alumni who share common interests
Interested in hosting a network event?
We love hosting events with members of our networks, and we try to use alumni-owned venues whenever possible. Network events are planned year round across the globe and range in size from small regional happy hours to larger events with prominent guest speakers or lecturers.
If you have a space that you would like to offer for an event, or if you have access to a popular speaker, “behind-the-scenes” tour, or any other special opportunity, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Network leadership structure
WashU Networks have diverse structures and leadership. Some networks are lead by a single person, and some are lead by an executive committee with many volunteers. The Alumni Association encourages networks to form executive committees because they create opportunities for greater involvement. Also, committee members provide ideas and help with event planning and execution. Executive committees are encouraged to meet at least twice a year and actively recruit new members throughout the year. The committee suggests and recommends activities and divides responsibilities within the group.
Chairs are appointed by the Alumni Board of Governors—with input from Advancement staff and network leaders—and serve approximately three years. The chair manages their committee, plans for their succession, presides over meetings, oversees the calendar of events, ensures volunteers are following up with their assignments, and serves as the principal contact between the university and network. Following their last year of service, it is recommended that all past chairs serve as chairs emeriti.
Young alumni chair
Young alumni chairs are appointed by the Alumni Board of Governors following recommendation by Advancement staff and/or network leaders. The young alumni chair reaches out to new WashU graduates in the area and encourages them to attend alumni activities. The young alumni chair may also plan special events specifically for young alumni. Young alumni are Washington University graduates who have earned an undergraduate degree within the past 10 years or graduate degree within the past five years, and are under the age of 35.
The chair emeritus may provide advice about events, offer valuable standby service in case of an unexpected vacancy, give historical perspective on the network’s past efforts, and mentor a new chair or executive committee member.
WashU Engage Chair
Responsible for identifying opportunities for civic engagement in their community and region.
Responsible for maintaining social media channels and working with Alumni Relations to promote upcoming events.
Responsible for identifying local and regional opportunities for network events.
Depending on the size of the network, an executive committee may have anywhere between two and ten committee members at-large. These members are instrumental in suggesting ideas for programs, serving as the contact for network events, and/or assisting in event planning.
Event planning tips
The most successful network events typically involve a WashU or St. Louis connection, or a “behind-the-scenes” special opportunity. It takes some time and effort to develop diverse programming that encompasses the interests of your network, and we want your event to be a success. Please contact Kat Vendetti by email or by phone at 314-935-5212 to request important guidelines and tips for choosing a venue, factoring event cost, scheduling, and event promotion.