What does an ex-students organisation do?

We know what a bank does, or a car manufacturer or a telecom operator. But what deos an ex-students association do?

In the steps leading to the creation of the SSESA portal, we did a simple search on what a few ex-student associations did in India and abroad. There seemed to be a similar pattern of ‘remembering the past’, ‘rebuilding old friendships’, ‘growing the network’ or “giving back” in some way or form. I could not recall any ex-student association that did not have ties to the school and almost all had some form of annual celebration — a ball, dinner or an entertainment programme – to celebrate and grow the network. The ties to the school varied in extent and depth; some maintained links, sold memorabilia, raised funds for activities. But on digging deeper, we found that there were very few that actually acted as an extension of the school.

In these days of 24 x 7 activities and the unending stream of responsibilities vying for personal attention, I believe ex-students will participate in dinner-n-dance activities or reunions, up to a point. After having indulged in back-slapping, table-pounding reunions, the network will have to grow through common activities. Without activities, rekindled friendships will be continued ‘offline’ i.e. without the need for the ex-student association; others may seek out individual batch-wise Google/Yahoo-groups or will be forgotten altogether (maybe the occasional email-forwarding of jokes and links or festive greetings). We need reunions and other forms of socialising; however there is a lot to be gained by creating a meaningful context (read: activities) for such socialising.

So, what then should an ex-student association be? For SSESA, I’d like to see it as an extension of the school; working closely with the other extension — the Parent-Teacher Association. These are similar but also different associations; I’d contrast the ex-students as being driven by emotion, history and a longer perspective; whereas as the PTA have an ‘operational’ perspective scoped for the duration of their children’s term in school, the present and the near future. But, two motivated organisations that the school should leverage. And the “meaningful context” could be drawn from the objectives of the school.

Maybe Dream 2013 can serve as a beacon? See some initial thoughts in this Christmas 2006 Newsletter. A looonnng way ahead, but then every long journey starts with the first step….

Similar Posts