Please tell us about your role at AR&P
I’m the Senior Alumni Relations Officer (Engagement) and I look after the recognition program for the University. This includes the ANU Alumni Awards, which runs for about nine months of the year from the nomination process to the communications and marketing of the event to the Alumni Awards gala dinner. We also help celebrate and engage with some of our alumni who’ve been recognised for their inspirational work in the community in the Australia Day Honours, the Queen’s Birthday Honours or other high-profile awards.
What has surprised you about your current role?
I was surprised by the magnitude of the alumni awards program and how much work goes into an event of that size. It requires collaboration across the whole University and with colleagues from different areas, not just within AR&P. The time commitment, the effort required and how many moving pieces have to come together to deliver a project of this size was astonishing.
Could you tell me a bit more about the Alumni Awards?
After working as the project lead for the event, I’ve realised that not only is it a prestigious, flagship event for ANU but that it highlights the diversity of the people and achievements that come from our institution. The recipients represent the end point of what a good university can produce.
There’s a lot of collaboration with colleagues from philanthropy, advancement services and the communications teams. There’s also a lot of engagement with stakeholders from other central divisions such as the marketing team. It’s very much a team effort.
What were your personal impressions of the Alumni Awards gala dinner?
I was so busy in the lead up to the event that I didn’t have time to think about my own impressions up until the guests were all sitting down. My main emotion on the night was relief to have organised an event of that size and have it executed without any major issues.
I also thought it was incredible to hear the speeches of such a diverse group of recipients who have all achieved so much. During the speeches, to hear the recipients talk, not so much about their achievements, but about how they got there and the decisions that they’d made in their lives to get them there really stood out for me.
What do you think is the value of a university alumni community?
I think it’s especially valuable for recent graduates who may not yet be sure of their career path. A university like ours which produces such a diverse group of alumni can provide recent graduates with a support network and help them grow and find their path in life.
As an ANU alumnus yourself, were you involved with the alumni community when you first graduated?
Once I graduated, I started working at the University straightaway so I didn’t get involved with the alumni community as I was very much still part of ANU. But I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t get involved at the time, seeing how much the alumni program has to offer. There’s a great Young Alumni Network and, looking back, I wish I’d been more involved as I would have enjoyed connecting with other young professionals from ANU.
What developments at AR&P are you excited about?
Our networks around the world are doing some really interesting things. Our Korean alumni network was just set up by some alumni who were interested in connecting with other ANU graduates in South Korea. They have already organised their first event and have more planned for the year. To see that initiative from a couple of recent graduates is very inspiring.
The ANU Alumni Awards nominations will also open in September so keep an eye out for it!