The morning of February 4th 2016 saw the Alumni Association chairperson, Ms. Dolly Sagwe-Onyoni, meet the new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Zeleza, to welcome him on board on behalf of the Alumni Association Executive Council and the entire alumni fraternity. Apart from it being an introductory meeting, the interaction also presented an opportunity for Ms. Dolly to share the association's 2016/17 strategy and engage in high level discussions with the VC, which were guided by data representing the diverse 13,000+ alumni association members. “I refer to them as 13,000+ USIU ambassadors,” says the Alumni Association Chairperson.

Prof. Zeleza also met and engaged in high-end conversations with members of the Executive Council during a dinner held at Sarova Panafric the same evening.

Expectations and partnerships

The major expectation from both the Alumni Association and the Vice Chancellor is collaboration. “The Alumni Association is a vital stakeholder of the university as is the university to the alumni association. Prof. Zeleza and I, in different but complementing ways, have the responsibility to advance the USIU brand,” explains Dolly. Both parties acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between the university and the alumni association and the importance therefore, to partner in order to advance the USIU brand. The two bodies represented will conclude their strategic plans for the next few years soon and this is what will guide their mutual activities.

The Alumni Association Executive Council kicked off the association's 2016/17 vision and strategy session in September last year, whose output is to drive three key strategies: member engagement, drive proper governance of the association affairs and explore member benefits. The Alumni Association Chair engaged the VC on the same and was pleased to receive his input and support.

The Executive Council team is dedicated to deliver this strategy with the three being their focus areas for 2016/17 as well as the administrative housekeeping that goes with it which cannot be undermined. The association continues to seek and work closely with volunteer leaders of chapters and interest groups to advance the strategy in place. “I must say that I am very encouraged by the response from those who we have reached out to for help,” mentions Dolly. Our need for volunteers is an open need and we ask members to engage,” she adds.

Future/next steps

Going forward, there will be frequent engagements between the Alumni Association Chairperson and Prof. Zeleza and equally important, between both their teams as they support each other’s strategic plans. The Executive Council has also extended an open invite to the VC to join and participate in their alumni activities. “I am encouraged by the VC's response and support and look forward to our future engagements,” reiterates Dolly.

Parting shot

The meeting was concluded with specific invites to the upcoming events organized by both the university and the alumni association. “Look out on our social media pages for details and join us as we engage!” says Dolly.