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Alumni Profiles
reed magazine logoWinter 2009

The Alumni Association: What’s In It for You?

By Rachel Adrienne Hall Luft ’95, alumni board president

I used this space in the last issue to encourage Reed alumni to volunteer for the college, and in doing so listed some of the benefits of volunteerism. But there are plenty of bonuses out there for the pickin’ for alumni, even if you don’t volunteer. Even if your level of participation stops at the annual donation, or even just a general lack of animosity toward the college experience you have achieved after years of therapy.

Rachel Luft and her son, Konrad

Since the alumni association’s main purpose is to bring you closer to other alumni and to the college, the benefits are what one would expect: social and intellectual opportunities offered locally and online. The alumni board, the college staff, and the local chapters work hard to anticipate the types of lectures, clubs, tours, plays, and parties you might enjoy, hoping many of you will see an invitation and think to yourself, “Well, that sounds more fun than a poke in the eye.”

The great thing about participating in Reed events is that the more you join in, the more the college has to offer everyone else. I must say that the best Reed reunion I have attended so far was so great because there were so many alumni there, telling funny stories on the front lawn and watching the fireworks together. The Krispy Kremes at the Southern California Chapter picnic didn’t bring themselves. And would my three-year-old son have enjoyed the Portland Chapter picnic nearly as much if the alumni playing croquet had not simply declared him a natural hazard and continued on with their game? I think not.

Your part in enriching the alumni program can go far beyond just showing up (which is significant; don’t get me wrong). At Reed-A-Palooza, last year’s music-themed reunions, the performing classical, jazz, folk, and rock musicians were such a huge hit that the alumni and parent relations staff is hoping to make live music a regular feature at reunions. Those musicians were alumni, doing what they love. And who doesn’t enjoy those chapter events where a Reedie in the know leads an insider’s tour, such as Stephen McCarthy ’66’s popular tours of his Clear Creek Distillery, or the Portland chapter’s recent tour of the Portland Art Museum led by docent Nancy Johannsen Morrice ’76? Even common interests such as reading and cooking hold the potential for drawing alumni together, so don’t think you need to hold the key to the White House to interest anyone.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Nope. I’m sticking with the poke in the eye tonight,” then speak up and let us know what kind of cool thing is going to draw you in. The chances are good that what appeals to you would appeal to a lot of other people. Better yet, organize or host an event yourself! It’s really not a lot of work.

So, what’s in it for you? Just everything that everyone else has put in. Grab your share; that’s what it’s there for. And if there is something you’re passionate about, don’t be shy. Find a way to share it with your fellow Reedies!

reed magazine logoWinter 2009