In a work world that increasingly thrives on social networking, University of Illinois College of Business students and alumni now have the opportunity to remain connected to their alma mater for life, electronically connected, that is, through a new College email account.
Lifetime Email is a free, 5 Gigabyte email account being rolled out to College of Business students and alumni across the country and globe through the College’s office of External and Alumni Affairs.
Since it was launched in April 2007 to the 20,500+ domestic alumni, more than 2,000 have registered for the new email account, spanning from recent 2007 grads to those from the class of 1945. Rollout to international alumni is imminent.
“We had a gentleman who is 92-years-old recently contact us on how to get his email up and running,” said Paula Besson, Associate Director, Alumni Affairs. “He was very eager to use his new email address and to share his pride in his College of Business degree.”
“We saw a timely opportunity to partner with Microsoft to deliver networking opportunities to our alumni, so we jumped on it,” said Tracy McCabe, Assistant Dean, External and Alumni Affairs. “We’ve negotiated a contract with Microsoft, and alumni can access their new account through our College alumni home page www.business.uiuc.edu/alumni.
The first step requires registration, inputting updated contact information, and accepting the terms of conditions.
“What they’re agreeing to is that their information will be exported to the University alumni database and also available to the new campus networking tool, Always Illinois,” said Besson.
“With this updated information, we look forward to keeping in better touch with our alumni,” she added.
In the final step of securing an email account, the software provides a choice of email addresses that may be a good match and provides an option to declare a unique email address.
“So far, we haven’t received any strange requests or spam,” said McCabe. “Our alumni continue to be a professional bunch who see that value in a professional email address that exclaims their school loyalty,” he added.
To encourage early adopters, the College is giving away one free iPod per month to registered users for the first six months of the Lifetime Email launch.
“The iPods are unique in that they have a University of Illinois inscription,” said Besson.
The immediate intention is not that students or alumni will give up or replace existing personal or professional email accounts, but that they will incorporate the new email account (@bus.illinois.edu) as a way of reflecting pride in the College and University.
“Still, our long term goal is to indoctrinate students to adopt the email when they first enter campus and use it over the four years they are here, but for now it’s still in a beta-phase of roll out,” McCabe added. “College leadership considers Lifetime Email a critical component in the strategy for increasing the volume and depth of lifelong engagements among alumni, their peers, and the College.”
Lifetime Email complements the new social networking tool for alumni across the entire University called “Always Illinois.”
Always Illinois is an online networking community that includes all University of Illinois alumni, students, faculty and staff. Announcements, events, and other useful information can be found there. Alumni can use their personal profiles to share their latest news, job postings and life events with fellow alumni and the College.