Alumni all over the world have shown their Huskie pride by expressing their interest in volunteering their time and talent to support their alma mater. Initially, however, many did not know where to start until Northern Illinois University Alumni Association (NIUAA) Executive Director Reggie Bustinza sought to find an uncomplicated way for alumni to volunteer.
In 2017, the NIUAA turned its focus on how to make it easier for alumni to get involved with NIU by hiring staff whose sole focus would be volunteer engagement.
Fast forward to a year later, and alumni have the ability to support NIU from anywhere around the world, whether on campus, off campus, or online. All they have to do is indicate their interest in volunteering through NIU Nexus, the NIUAA alumni volunteer community. Alumni can also sign up for individual volunteer opportunities by responding to a recruitment communication from the NIUAA.
NIU Nexus acts much like a match.com for alumni interested in volunteering. Alumni simply visit the NIU Nexus website to learn more about what volunteering looks like with NIU, then they complete a profile which enables them to identify their volunteer interests. Staff review this profile, then connect with the alumnus and make recommendations based on what they learn through conversations.
“I was thrilled when I learned about NIU Nexus and the opportunities to volunteer for the university. Everything about the experience has been extremely professional and easy to manage,” said NIU alumnus Dan Chamberlain, ’92. “Filling out my profile was quick, and I was immediately connected with volunteer opportunities. My focus is on direct assistance with students, and I have already had multiple chances to work on projects in that area. I can’t wait to see where the program goes from here.”
Alumni can participate in a variety of volunteer roles, such as a social media ambassador, a host for a service project or football watch party in their community, and as a one-time “flash” mentor during events on campus, and much more.
To date, more than 800 alumni volunteers have supported NIU in many ways, but most often as classroom speakers, event judges and in advisory roles to college departments.
“When we partnered with the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce this year on their First Impressions Count workshop, we were looking for NIU alumni to volunteer for the event,” said Chad Glover, ’02, director of Jobs PLUS at NIU. “Through NIU Nexus we were able to connect with NIU alumni with a range of backgrounds and experience. NIU Nexus truly is a connecting point for programs at NIU looking for alumni to get involved and for NIU alumni interested in volunteering. Whether you have experience volunteering at NIU or not, NIU Nexus is an outstanding way for alumni to learn about opportunities to give back with their time and talents.”
All alumni are welcome to join NIU Nexus and will receive an electronic briefing from friendly staff each month. Alumni who are part of the NIU Nexus community will also receive targeted communications when volunteer opportunities that match their interests arise.
Faculty and staff can also request a thank you gift for alumni volunteers they invite to campus.
If you have any questions, or simply would like to receive the monthly volunteer opportunity newsletter, please contact Liz McKee at [email protected] or 815-753–7400.