College Launches Online Community for Alumni
Thanks to the Internet, your Columbia College classmates are now
as close as the nearest computer. In November, the College announced
the launch of the Columbia
College E-Community, a secure online service exclusively for
College alumni. A key component of the Columbia Connections program
(CCT, September 2002), which aims to increase alumni participation
at Columbia, the E-Community is an easy and flexible resource for
alumni who want to stay in touch with friends and classmates.
is a critical element of our effort to involve alumni in the life
of the College,” says Derek Wittner ’65, associate dean
of alumni affairs and development. “We hope it becomes an
invaluable resource for connecting our alumni with each other and
with the College.”
The College has had a rich Web presence for several years, but
takes online alumni service to a much higher level. Alumni who join
the E-Community can create detailed profiles of themselves, including
family information, education, student and alumni activities, résumés
and biographies. Members may view profiles of others via a fully
searchable alumni directory. Alumni also can post and read notes
(including CCT Class Notes), upload photos and learn about
Columbia events (both on campus and around the world).
The E-Community facilitates contact
among alumni wherever they live. Each member can create a “buddy
list” of classmates with whom to keep in touch. Alumni can
use the directory to search for other alumni in their part of the
world. And members also can join a wide range of discussion boards,
with the ability to create their own threads on any topic. The discussion
boards include an optional notification function that alerts users
whenever someone has made a new post to a particular topic.
The E-Community is a secure,
password-protected community. Members’ privacy is further
protected through settings that allow them to determine how much
information is made available to other members. There also is a
blind e-mail function, which allows alumni to receive e-mail without
revealing their own e-mail addresses.
The E-Community is the result
of a collaboration between the Alumni Office and the Columbia College
Information Technology office, which designed and maintains the
site. The College began testing a prototype of the E-Community during
the summer with three young alumni classes, who were asked to evaluate
it before it was rolled out to the entire alumni body. In response
to alumni feedback, E-Community v.1.5 — which includes a simplified
the login procedure, an enriched calendar of events and discussion
boards — debuted November.
Although a wide range of features already are in place, this new
service remains a work in progress. Planned improvements in the
coming months include enhancements that will improve networking
and mentoring capabilities. The College also is considering adding
a College Shop so that alumni will be able to purchase Columbia
apparel and memorabilia online.
are no membership dues, but alumni must register online for this
service, which is limited to College alumni. The simple registration
procedure asks each alum to provide a partial Social Security number
and date of birth. To join, alumni should visit the College’s
Web site: www.college.columbia.edu/alumni.