Winter 2009: from the EAA

Allison Dykes

Allison Dykes, Vice-President for Alumni Relations

Bryan Meltz

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By Allison Dykes

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year from the Emory Alumni Association! I hope your holiday season was as joyous as ours.

A new year means new beginnings, and the turning of the calendar is also a nice time to reflect on the year that has passed. I don’t think anyone would argue that 2008 was a challenging year for all of us personally and for Emory. I also hope you’ll agree that while we all encountered obstacles during the year, we overcame many of them.

When times are tough, it’s natural to gravitate toward those to whom we are closest. Emory alumni have always drawn strength from our tightly knit community, and the EAA is committed to making sure that you can connect to your fellow alumni and to your alma mater with minimal effort and maximum benefit.

In late December, the EAA released a new tool that will make connecting to the University simpler, more fulfilling, and even more fun than ever before. And it all starts with the tool’s name.

Emory E-Connection (www.alumni.emory.edu/econnection) is an online professional and social networking tool where alumni can connect to the University, to employers, and to fellow alumni with a simple click of a mouse.

The EAA already has a strong, vibrant presence on several social media networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and E-Connection isn’t meant to replace those or any other place—virtual or not—where alumni meet. However, one of E-Connection’s most important benefits over other social media sites is exclusive access. E-Connection is for the Emory community and the Emory community only.

Currently, E-Connection is open to all alumni; soon current Emory students will join. I can’t think of a better way for students and alumni to connect. The EAA, and all of Emory in fact, is excited about E-Connection, and I hope you will be, too. More than 1,500 alumni joined in the first two weeks following its launch. I encourage you to push that number even higher and upload your alumni profile now.

If you are a regular reader of my letters, you know that Emory Cares International Service Day is one of my favorite EAA programs. In November 2008 more than eight hundred members of our community volunteered in twenty-eight cities around the world. I am proud of the many Emory alumni, parents, students, staff, and faculty who donated their time and effort to make this sixth-annual celebration of service one of the best ever.

In Atlanta alone, hundreds of alumni and students took part in more than twenty individual projects. For the first time, EAA interest groups—Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA), Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA)—sponsored projects in Atlanta, and our partners, Volunteer Emory and the Residence Hall Association, were instrumental in helping recruit more than four hundred student volunteers.

From San Diego to Boston, Seattle to Seoul, the Emory community worked to make its many local communities better places. You can read a review of Emory Cares 2008 on the EAA website at www.alumni.emory.edu/emorycares. Also included on the webpage are links to slideshows featuring hundreds of photos from the service projects. If you were one of the volunteers, you’re probably in at least one or two.

Even if you were unable to participate in Emory Cares, I hope you will get involved with Emory in 2009. You can attend an event in your hometown or on campus; connect to us through E-Connection, the Alumni Volunteer Link (AVL), or our website (www.alumni.emory.edu); or even get involved over the phone mentoring current students through the EAA’s Mentor Program or calling incoming freshmen through the Alumni Admission Network (AAN).

As always, I enjoy hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments about the EAA or any of our programs, please email me at adykes@emory.edu. Have a great 2009!

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