Class Activity Chair Overview
Several years ago, the HAA Classes and Reunions Committee recognized that those classes that held between-reunion events were having fun and were successful in keeping classmates in contact with one another. Between-reunion events are different from the usual Harvard Alumni Association efforts because they provide an additional way to reach people and draw them in, thus strengthening the ties between graduates and the University. This overview provides background information and some anecdotal related information for Class Activity Chairs at this moment in time, the fall of 2009
The HAA Classes and Reunions Committee, through a Class Activity Chair Working Committee, has encouraged between-reunion activities for all Harvard College classes by establishing the position of a Class Activity Chair. Class Secretaries were asked to appoint a Class Activity Chair for their class and almost every class has done so. The next step has been to refine what a Class Activity Chair should be doing and to provide the kinds of tools and support that will make between reunion activities successful. But, this is a work in progress and to be perfected, needs feedback from experienced and brand new Class Activity Chairs. That means, let’s hear from you!!
The Class Activity Chair Working Committee has recognized that one person can’t do it all and, although the leader, a Class Activity Chair should appoint Regional Activity Chairs and Committees, if possible. These Regional Activity Chairs and/or Committees, obviously, will be organized where there is the highest concentration of classmates, that is, Boston, New York (probably including parts of Connecticut and New Jersey), Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle although these concentrations of classmates maybe different from class to class.
Obviously, a between reunion event must be communicated to classmates. The usual post office mailing arranged though the HAA is a tried and true way to contact classmates but it’s expensive You can also use the HAA e-mail capability. Some classes have been building their own class e-mail address list and find that most useful. There is also the possibility of utilizing a class website but the traffic on the Web sites is typically rather slow except close to reunions.
Consistent with the Harvard policy of “every tub on its own bottom”, a class is financially responsible for its own events. So, it’s a good idea to avoid the risk of guaranteeing that a given number of classmate and guests will attend an event. For example, if an event is planned that requires the purchase of a block of tickets ahead of time to a Hasty Pudding Show, then someone or the class treasury has to pay for any unsold tickets.
Some classes subsidize events. And, many events can be planned so classmates pay for tickets, food and/or drink they order without having the event planner collect money and pay bills.
If a between-reunion event involves collecting money ahead of time, then there should be arrangements for collecting cash and checks, paying bills, and accounting for the event. There is no help being extended by the HAA for a between reunion event as there is with a reunion.