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Reed College Helps Its Young Alumni Network with Switchboard

Mike Teskey

THE ALUMNI AFFAIRS DIRECTOR

Mike Teskey is the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations at Reed College, a liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon with 1,400 students and 15,000 alumni.

Mike and his team are "human Switchboard operators" who make countless connections between students and alumni.

His office needed a way to save time making these connections and cut down on repeat requests in their email inboxes. Mike also wanted to increase young alumni engagement and connections across generations, and to offer parents a way to stay involved.

BY THE NUMBERS

Since launching in October 2012, the Reed Switchboard has seen astounding engagement:

97%

of the classes of 2013 and 2014 are Switchboard users.

62%

of users were previously unengaged by the college.

25%

of Reed's total student and alumni population uses Switchboard.

WHY SWITCHBOARD?

"I love the fact that Switchboard was borne out of a belief that Reed represents an ecosystem and that if someone has a need and expresses it, there is likely someone out there in the Reed community who can successfully meet that need. I have long felt this was a missing element in how we communicate with one another.

One aspect of our mission is to connect alumni to the college and with each other. If Switchboard can facilitate these interactions and be the forum in which Reedies experience positive and fruitful interactions, then that is not only mission related, but Reed's role as the facilitator will hopefully redound to the college as well.

We often are asked by alumni if we know of someone in a given field or can help publicize a project. Using our web site is not the appropriate place for that, nor is a broadcast email. And as much as Facebook is a decent forum for some communication and discussion, it has its limitations too.

Switchboard represents an interchange of needs and offers coupled with a way to celebrate successes that is quite compelling."

READ MORE & WATCH TESTIMONIAL INTERVIEWS

Reed Switchboard was featured in Inside Higher Ed and Reed Magazine