The Millennial Problem
Seems like forever ago that I walked across the stage and graduated from James Madison University. A few years later and here I am, a young professional living in my hometown Charlotte, NC (you might know it as Tar Heel Country).
When I first moved back home in 2011, I was filled with excitement about being a JMU graduate: I was a four-year letter winner in undergrad and a scholarship athlete. I was a part of SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee). I was a leader for a campus organization. I had a sense of pride in my school.
So I figured I’d check out an alumni event. It was a decent—about 12 people over a light lunch. We had a speaker who talked about mortgages and building your credit. It was a little out of reach for me at the time; I was simply trying to get started with a career in the public sector. Everybody I met at that event was at least in their mid-30s and most likely married. I was the furthest thing from that and was the youngest to attend by far.
I knew a few people that had moved to Charlotte after JMU, but the event I attended made it clear that most of them probably wouldn’t be going to any alum events. And my attendance at future events became more of an obligation to my school than a fun experience I looked forward to.
The Millennial Opportunity
Today, I am still a member of our the JMU Alumni Association and part of the chapter leadership here in Charlotte. Unfortunately, the same problems still exist and do not seem to be improving.
The problem is simple yet complex: Most millennials see email blasts from alumni relations as spam. And if they do happen to read them, most feel they’re just another thing competing for their free time rather than an actual opportunity for an experience that will be enjoyable. Emails are antiquated. You should be talking to us where we already are. On Facebook. On LinkedIn. On Twitter. And give us an event that lets us feel like we are in college again (let’s be honest, that’s what we all want).
I started Gradtap Events to give my fellow Millennials what they want. Gradtap exists to revolutionize the way alumni associations interact with their alums and with each other in cities across the country. We want to enhance the social and professional lives of young alumni. From sports to happy hours to networking events (and who can forget parties!), we want to bring associations together to meet, have fun, and rep their alma mater in a fashionable way!
Our official launch will take place on March 20th at Libretto’s Pizzeria in Charlotte to kick off March Madness. Sign up at www.grad-tap.com if your association would like to be part of events in your city!
Matt Parker is a 2010 graduate of James Madison University and founder of Gradtap Events, an organization that partners with alumni associations to create engaging events for young grads. He can be reached at email@example.com.