Helpful Facts and Suggestions
- 1 What is a CAC?
- 2 What sorts of activities do CACs organize?
- 3 Don’t we already do this?
- 4 How are CACs governed?
- 5 How are CAC-sponsored events funded?
- 6 What help can CACs get from fellow alumni?
- 7 Where (and what) is our wiki?
- 8 Do CACs invite locally or globally?
- 9 How do CACs contact Classmates for these events?
What is a CAC?
Class-Activity Chairs (CACs) are individuals within each Class (Harvard, Radcliffe, and Harvard-Radcliffe) who have been asked to play a role organizing Class events in non-Reunion years. These events are sometimes called ‘tweeners’ or ‘between-reunion events’.
What sorts of activities do CACs organize?
CACs have organized everything from the simple (meals or drinks at homes, restaurants, and bars), to the suggestive (on campus or off campus lectures, performances, sporting events), to the sensational (book signings, gallery openings, museum exhibitions, tours, outdoors activities up to and including holidays at the beach and a ‘Class Climb’ of Mount Harvard in Colorado). Some CACs invite Classmates and partners only, some open activities to children, pets, and friends. Some Classes use selected CAC events to reconnect with alumni from bracketing Classes. Your imagination is your limit.
Don’t we already do this?
Some Classes have organized these sorts of events for decades prior to the emergence of the CACs. The notion of CACs grew out of an initiative in the Classes and Reunions Committee at HAA nearly a decade ago. The intent was to create a loosely structured means to foster the holding of events in non-Reunion years, and to share ideas about how to organize these events. Within the last few years, each Class Secretary has been asked by HAA to nominate at least one CAC for the Class. Most Classes have a single CAC, others have as many as three. Some CACs also have formal Class roles (Secretary, Treasurer), but most do not. It is helpful (but not required) for at least one CAC in each Class to reside in the Greater Boston area. Some Classes chose to have CACs for individual regions.
How are CACs governed?
The question of formal governance remains outstanding. Directionally, however, if an individual Class has a functional governance system and structure, it is advisable for CACs to remain coordinated with formal Class Officers. (CACs are not intended to be ‘rogue’ operators.)
How are CAC-sponsored events funded?
Currently, CACs have no formal budgets, no funding is available for their activities from HAA, nor should HAA be asked to collect funds on behalf of a CAC event (as they do for Reunion events). Individual Classes, with concurrence from Class Officers, may chose to fund or partially subsidize their own CAC events; however, most elect to make these events ‘self-funded’ (pay-as-you-go or donated by Classmates). Some Classes do provide ‘seed money’ to reserve spaces or groups of tickets. It is wise to agree in advance what happens if not all seeds sprout…
What help can CACs get from fellow alumni?
Fellow CACs and often Class Officers and Reunion Chairs can be excellent sources of ideas for CAC-organized events. So can individual Classmates: often all you need do is ask. Members of Classes that hold such events routinely can be especially useful sources of ideas or help. What is more, a part of the HAA Best Practices wiki has been set aside for CACs (see below). For specific CAC-related questions, contact Susan Israel or Flip Koch, your CAC co-chairs.
Where (and what) is our wiki?
A ‘wiki’ is a collaborative website where most (sometimes all) contributors may post and edit materials. Probably the best known example of a wiki is Wikipedia. A section of the HAA Classes and Reunions Wiki has been set aside for CACs. This wiki currently has sections listing, among other things, names of fellow CACs, ideas for activities, a template for planning events, and case studies of successful events. Please help add to our reserve of collective knowledge by adding your insights to this wiki. The wiki contains built-in help; however, in case of problems, please contact Bill Bean.
Do CACs invite locally or globally?
This choice is up to the individual CACs and any additional event sponsors. (Most of us might have insufficient space to invite all of our Classmates to our home, for example.) That said, whenever possible, we recommend thinking and inviting expansively: you never know who might be passing by a planned event, or who might make a detour if s/he learns of an event of interest. Being invited usually creates goodwill and reinforces a sense of belonging to the community that is one’s graduating Class. Specific locations and event types often will generate interest from Classmates who do not usually attend Reunions. CAC events can also help reconnect the Class to its MIAs.
How do CACs contact Classmates for these events?
Some Classes use conventional post and mailings (time consuming and rather expensive), others use phone trees (time consuming), some post information on Class websites (which require maintenance), but most Classes simply make contact via e-mail. Once an idea is reasonably firm a ‘save-the-date’ e-mail is recommended (with a broad description of ‘wheres, whens, and whats’). Once locked in, a second e-mail may be sent, and sometimes a reminder. Policies re. e-mailing and the sharing of e-mail addresses are currently under review at HAA. For the moment, please work through your Class Secretary(ies) to help send e-mails about CAC events to your Classmates. Likely this will be done with help from HAA.
HAA usually has reasonably complete listings (80%, on average), which are most current just after Reunions. Some Class Secretaries, however, try to keep a listing that is even more current than HAA’s. There will always be Classmates whose e-mail is unknown either because that is their preference, or because they have a way of changing e-mail addresses and not letting everyone know… If you are having difficulty reaching a Classmate, start with your Class Secretary(ies).