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Calling all Volunteers

See also: Let's Talk: alumni e-mail discussion lists
Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson '84 is living proof of the adage that it's best to ask a busy person to take on a project. A lawyer who works part time at a major Boston firm, the mother of three small children and an active volunteer in her hometown of Hingham, Mass., Johnson nevertheless agreed to serve as president of the UNH Alumni Association this year. "It's really a family commitment," she says. "My husband, Jim, knows how much it means to me to be able to give something back."

One of Johnson's goals is to encourage other busy alumni to make space in their lives for the university. "We want to reach out to alumni and encourage them to become volunteers," she says. "There's so much meaningful work to be done, and I know alumni who get involved will feel good about their contributions."

Johnson also wants to broaden the pool of volunteers so that it more accurately reflects the alumni body. "In the past, we were often defined geographically, with most volunteers coming from New Hampshire and New England," she observes. "With the advent of conference calls and Internet chat rooms (soon to be added to Online Services), we can have volunteers from anywhere in the country. I'd like to see a balance of geographical distribution, class years and ethnicity."

Another goal is to build on the Alumni Association's current electronic outreach efforts and use the Web and Internet to build a virtual community. "In the past five years, new developments in technology have given us so many new tools for communicating with alumni," Johnson says.

"E-mail Forwarding, which we're already offering, allows alumni to stay connected with one another from the day they graduate, no matter where their careers take them. A host of new e-features will be coming online this winter, and we expect the Web to become our major method of communication within a few years.

"Attending UNH was a special opportunity for me," Johnson reflects. "This community enabled me to develop skills and helped me succeed. I made lasting close friendships. It feels great to be a part of the University of New Hampshire family."

Let's Talk

The Alumni Association's Online Services system is implementing an easy method to sign up for (or cancel a subscription to) alumni e-mail discussion lists.

The existing alumni e-mail discussion lists--by early winter, there were 20--will be merged by mid-February into the online alumni database system. Alumni can join or unsubscribe from lists by clicking on a checkbox. Each list has archives of past online discussions and a counter that shows how many people are subscribed. For lists that are still forming, the counter shows how many people have signed up and how many are required to launch the list. Alumni can suggest new lists through an online form.

Visit the expanded Online Services Web site or access it through "Online Services" on the Alumni Association site.

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