It’s no surprise that in 1821, a group of Ephs created the first college alumni society in history—Williams students and alumni are a social bunch. Now, bearing down on two hundred years later, Williams grads continue finding ample ways to get together. At the basic level, all graduates are members of their class, and most meet every five years for a reunion. Many Ephs also participate in their Regional Association or belong to an Alumni Network.
What frequently brings alumni together, however, is a common interest or activity, either now, or while they attended Williams. These are affinity groups, and examples include Williams grads who sang in the college choir, former members of the lacrosse team, or individuals who share a current interest in wine tasting. Affinity groups get started for a number of reasons. Some groups form to commemorate a milestone of some sort (e.g. a Williams group anniversary, or a current or past campus event such as the opening of a new library or soccer field). Others get their start because a particular alumnus/a wants to meet other Ephs who share certain passions or professions. Sometimes a group just decides it’s time to get together over a cup of joe. Regardless of the reason, the Alumni Relations Office relies heavily on volunteers to plan the events that help Williams folk establish and maintain connections.
The success of an affinity group is largely dependent on the vision and effort of its coordinator or coordinating committee. A coordinator is responsible for all aspects of a group’s programming, from planning to execution. The coordinator is also the main point of contact between the group and Alumni Relations staff members. If a group of volunteers form a coordinating committee, the various members may be responsible for specific focus areas, such as communication, budget, meals, outreach, etc. Coordinators may be active for the purposes of planning a single event or may continue in the role for years. The term of the position is based primarily on your interest and the group’s activity level.
How to Sign Up
If you have an idea of an affinity group or event that you would like to organize, contact Alumni Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think you have a great idea, but no time to implement it, you will have to work to find another alumnus/a who will be the coordinator. Another option is to ask Alumni Relations staff to set up a listserv for your group and use it to generate more ideas and potential volunteers.