Old School Goes New: Woodberry Forest Alumni Reunion

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This is the second post of EverTrue’s Reunion Month Series, a time for reflecting on best practice and new ideas around alumni gatherings. In this post Jennifer Dowling, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Woodberry Forest School, reflects on how her community released EverTrue at their school during this year’s reunion.

Over the weekend of April 20-22, Woodberry Forest School had the good fortune of perfect weather, nearly 500 amazing alumni and guests returning to campus for a reunion celebration, and the added excitement of the launch of our new Woodberry Forest Alumni App — the first App in the history of our 123-year-old boys boarding school.

The launch of the Woodberry Forest Alumni App was timed for reunion weekend as a bonus for returning alumni; we then announced the App broadly to all non-reunion year alumni the following week. This advance access for reunion alumni created an atmosphere of fun and excitement while giving us the chance to demonstrate the capabilities of the App and give login permissions on the spot. The bonus for us was the feedback we received and contact updates we were able to make instantly. The App was a great service to be able to offer to alumni — and it was a hit with the 5th to the 50th year reunion classes!

Immediately after reunion weekend, we announced the App to all non-reunion year classes via direct mail, electronic newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, as well as in a news story on our website. Plans to manage the intake of requests had been mapped out in advance, as we prepared a response template to handle the inquiries for username and password; we wanted a consistent and pleasant message for all who wanted to sign in to use the new App.

I have listed below a schedule of events and drop dates for communication delivery as an example to help other schools map out their communication plan for an App launch:

Woodberry Forest School Reunion Weekend App Launch Schedule

Friday, April 20
5:30–9:00 Walker Lobby ~ Jesse Bardo, Jennifer Dowling, Diana Woodward
Personal demonstrations of App
Three iPads on table
Card handouts
Retractable table display
Laptop for username and password generation

Saturday, April 21
8:30–2:30 Walker Lobby ~ Jesse Bardo, Jennifer Dowling, Diana Woodward
Personal demonstrations of App
Three iPads on table
Card handouts
Retractable table display
Laptop for username and password generation

2:30–3:00 Transition to Wall Room (to coincide with wine-tasting event)

3:00–4:30 Wall Room ~ Jesse Bardo, Jennifer Dowling, Diana Woodward
Personal demonstrations of App
Three iPads on table
Card handouts
Retractable table display
Laptop for username and password generation

Tuesday, April 24
Mail post cards to all alumni
Pre-set pushpage will go to all alumni with announcement template
News article on Woodberry website

Tuesday–Friday, April 24-27
Facebook and Twitter Alumni App

Tuesday, May 1
Share EverTrue Blog on Woodberry’s Facebook page of reunion weekend coverage and App launch


Do you have an interest in sharing your reunion insights, ideas or stories? Let us know and be featured in our blog this May!

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