Launching Alumni Engagement
Published by Calvin Seminary
Q&A with Jennifer Settergren, Director of Financial Aid & alumni Engagement
Why is alumni engagement critical at this time in Calvin Seminary history?
We’re in the midst of many shifts—within the church, culture, and society, as well as within the Christian Reformed denomination. What it takes to be a leader, in and out of the church, is much diﬀerent now than it was twenty years ago, and will be much diﬀerent twenty years out. eological education needs to be responsive (and even anticipatory!) of these changes, so it is crucial for our graduates on the “front lines” to continue to inform the seminary experience with their critical reﬂections, stories, and ideas. It’s equally important that our graduates be better connected with fellow alumni, who share many of the same goals and struggles and can stoke each other’s passions and prayers. In sum, there has never been a better time for our alumni to be more connected and supported than the present.
Why did the Seminary turn to you when it decided to dedicate a position to alumni engagement?
In my role as the Director of Financial Aid, I’ve walked alongside many students as they ﬁnanced their education, and this has proven fertile ground for many long-lasting friendships. I enjoy getting to know our amazing students and keeping up with them and am excited and proud as I watch them grow in their vocations.
Given the strong relationships I have with many alumni, I was presented the opportunity to add the role of Director of Alumni Engagement to my current position last spring. I eagerly said yes; I was already thinking through ways we could support alumni and facilitate connection between them, so this was a natural ﬁt.
What are you hoping to achieve in your ﬁrst year?
My main goals for my work are to:
1. Foster more connections between alumni,
2. Oﬀer resources to better support alumni in their work, and
3. Glean the experiences and ideas of former students to inform our interactions with current and future students.
At this point, the possibilities are almost endless, but my hope is that all of our activity will be guided by alumni input. e ﬁrst year will be all about listening: to ideas, stories, reﬂections, and needs. What do alumni need from us? That will be main focus this year.
We are asking alumni to send their ideas—none are too big or too small—to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alumni should also watch their inboxes and mailboxes for additional information about registering for alumni newsletters and receiving their Calvin Seminary Alumni welcome packet. Finally, I am always up for a visit—to all alumni everywhere, please stop by and tell me about yourself in person!
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