By Rae Jefferson
The Baylor Alumni Network is hoping to keep recent graduates connected to the Baylor community through an interest group that targets them called the Young Grads’ Network.
The Young Grads’ Network, started in 2003, is one of several interest groups provided to Baylor graduates through the Baylor Alumni Network, and is available for anyone who has graduated from Baylor in the last decade.
Tommye Lou Davis, vice president for constituent engagement, said the group provides an outlet for graduates to connect with other alumni who are relatable or share the same interests.
“The Young Grads’ Network was just a natural affinity group,” she said. “We try to gear events and activities along the lines of ‘what is important to you?’ to young graduates.”
Derek Stephens, director of the Young Grads’ Network, said the network plans events across the country to get graduates connected to other Baylor alumni in their city. Events include mixers; aftermurals, or alumni intramurals; community service projects; and Baylor athletics watch parties.
Stephens said the Young Grads’ Network arranged more than 350 watch parties for alumni in various cities across the U.S.
“The watch parties are by far the most popular events we arrange,” Stephens said. “A winning athletic program and the Alumni Network come together to make for a very fun experience.”
Although the interest group gives young alumni the opportunity to come together for fun events, the group was essentially created in response to a trend among recent Baylor graduates, Stephens said.
“We’ve noticed that they tend to drift away from the university after graduation,” he said. “We want to provide opportunities for young alumni who want to stay connected.”
Davis said re-engaging graduates after more than a decade-long absence is difficult.
“If we don’t engage our young grads and they are not connected to the university for 10 or 12 years before coming back, it’s kind of hard to get them re-engaged,” she said. “We never want for there to be a separation.”
Davis said the push for continued graduate engagement stems from her department’s desire to continue to build a strong Baylor family.
“Alma mater means ‘bountiful mother,’ and we never want any friends of the university to feel disengaged,” she said. “If they want to be engaged, we want to provide the avenue for them to stay connected to the university. We feel like there should never be a divide between an undergraduate student and a graduate.”
Recent graduates interested in getting involved with the Young Grads’ Network can contact Stephens by telephone at 214-232-0586, or by email at Derek_Stephens@baylor.edu.