One of the rewards of serving on the alumni association board of management is the opportunity to study the programs and services survey data. Learning more about us as a group is fascinating. The survey will go a long way in overcoming one of the most telling challenges raised in the exercise. One respondent, when asked how the association could better serve alumni, answered that "if there was a way to get beyond the fiercely individualistic nature of Reed students, the association would probably be more successful." Now, we have the data to begin to try to meet that challenge.
This is the second of three articles reporting on the results of the 1996 alumni association programs and services survey. Fifty alumni chosen at random in each chapter area and 50 from non-chapter areas were asked about their interests and about their opinions of the programs offered through the alumni association. They also were asked about their contacts with Reed and other alumni after graduation. The results of the survey aid the college and the volunteer association management in designing programs and activities for alumni.|
--Marianne Brogan '84, Director of Alumni Relations
For those of you who were not among the respondents, the 1996 survey consisted of a telephone interview with a list of 43 questions, many of which were open ended. In keeping with the individualism referred to above, "other" was a frequent answer. There were some curious lexical problems as well. One question asked where Reedies "socialized" with other Reedies. Thirty-five percent chose "other" over homes, restaurants, and the like. Upon analysis, nearly 46 percent of the "other" answers cited telephone calls and letters, while 5.5 percent cited marriage to a Reedie. Some may doubt these activities can really be classified as "socializing."
Survey questions also asked just what alumni do with their time. When queried about interests outside of work and family, 41 percent listed reading and 19.5 percent listed travel. Only 5.5 percent confessed to spending time with friends, while 45 percent chose non-team sports, like running, golf, or tennis. Once again many answers fell initially under "other" (56 percent of those surveyed). Some of the answers revealed an interest in music, listening, composing, dancing, or studying (15 percent), while another nine percent mentioned writing of some kind ("I'm a professor and I have to publish and write"). Other prominent interests included computer-related activities, environmental action, and participation in politics at various levels.
As for service to the college, 29 percent of those surveyed indicated that they had volunteered some time to a college-related program. Of these, the admission office has the lion's share: 73 percent of volunteer time is taken up with recruiting new students. The next question immediately revealed that another 25 percent would like to volunteer. Popular choices include career counseling (23 percent), hosting a student or recent graduate (18 percent), and in alumni board/association participation (11 percent).
As noted in the last issue of Reed, 89 percent of Reedies have positive feelings about the college. Apparently this carries over to each other. When asked about interest in activities with other alumni, 71 percent listed summer picnics, 66 percent said informal get-togethers, 54 percent chose outdoor activities, and 50 percent chose some sort of "cultural" event. One of the more remarkable, not to say downright startling, statistics is that 42 percent of those surveyed would like a subscription to the Quest.