Letter from the Producer
What could be better for YaleGALE than visiting a university that was founded on private contributions 800 years ago and has a college system? Perhaps visiting four universities that are all deeply committed to alumni relations and the power of alumni engagement!
Since colonial days, the concept of higher education in what would become the United States derived inspiration much from the English university system and the concepts of the Scottish Enlightenment. While Yale prides itself on its residential college system, the notion of colleges originated with Cambridge and Oxford. And Yale’s Neo-Gothic architecture is based on theirs. The collegiate debating societies of the Britain inspired counterparts in America, as did various collegiate sporting competitions and music making. YaleGALE in the U.K. was an opportunity to work with our peers and further develop the long history of cooperation and inspiration.
Thanks to the creative idea of the delegation from the University of Edinburgh, we had our first Big Debate based on the proposition: Social Media will be the Death of Traditional Alumni Relations. To keep in friendly, each university had one person supporting the proposition and one opposed. While the proposition was ultimately voted down, it was rousing good fun, eliciting spirited and probing interactions among all.
Our session at the University of Liverpool was quite brief although we enjoyed the opportunity to learn about their many initiatives. And following our exchange with the University of Liverpool, they requested we put together a small team to consult with them about their new programs and plans. Liverpool also turned out to be a good place to celebrate the 4th of July for this Yankee delegation.
We had a multi-day exchange with Cambridge allowing us to work with the individual colleges as well as the Cambridge Alumni Relations Office and their delegation of alumni leaders at their annual gathering. The discussions at Cambridge about their use of social media to facilitate alumni self-organizing gave us new insights.
The “speed sharing” conceived by University College London, a key Yale partner in medical research and other areas, was designed to elicit the maximum number of pointed interactions and then rigorously analyze them. It kept us on our toes, and brought forth some of the most lively and vigorous exchanges we’ve experienced in our first 5 years.
How will we know if and when there has been a success for YaleGALE? The results from our UK exchanges manifestly demonstrate many already.
Thanks to our many gracious hosting institutions and thanks to all the participants in YaleGALE in the U.K.
All the best,
Kathy Edersheim ‘87
Producer, YaleGALE in the U.K.
Dates: June 30 –July 11, 2012
Delegation: 61 Yalies, family and friends
Program Producer: Kathy Edersheim ’87