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JHoover Online
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Post: #21
RE: Alumni Association.
Here's another interesting take.......

There's an Alumni Association office in the old Wallwood Union.
They have a staff, and promote WMU and themselves.
They take trips to Florida, California, Mexico?,Chicago, Grand Rapids (they have a benefactor), etc, etc
Why isn't it simply called a Public Relations Office?

There is not an "Association of WMU Alumni"..........
The former President of the SE Michigan Chapter was once threatened, "Remember your just a volunteer !",
and I was told once an "official" of the GR Chapter was "fired" ? (Can a volunteer be fired?)
Unless your classified as a Major Donor your opinion and mine really doesn't matter.
"W don't care what you think, just send money!" Right...............

Let's forget all the past, and call everyone a "Family" ?? Right............
Efforts to discuss this topic has been throughly squashed by eliminating Alumni Chapters.

Family Values? Whose Family?
01-01-2012 07:33 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Alumni Association.
All this behavioral bs starts at the top, our board is appointed, everything else stems from that. How would you govern if you had a guaranteed job and paycheck?
01-01-2012 07:38 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #23
RE: Alumni Association.
Actually, the Alumni Board is "nominated", but must pass inspection by "you know who".

However, you are correct. It's the same thing as being appointed.
01-01-2012 07:47 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Alumni Association.
So Hoover, you're passionate about this, and it seems rightfully so. They've frustrated you and others it sounds.

There has always been a feeling just the opposite of "inclusiveness" in the WMU Community, like you said, "just send money" is the prevailing attitude that you get from those guys, including the WMU Alumni leaders.

What happens to them after this play? Do they stay intact and rule the new "Family"? Why did this happen, (compelling event)?
01-01-2012 07:49 PM
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Chipdip Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Alumni Association.
The irony is a lot of the people they think have money, don't.

There's a local guy who played baseball at WMU, who once had a successful insurance business. He had health problems and from outward appearances it appears he's lost or gone through much/most of his money (he lives up the street from me). They fawn over this guy like he's going to give them a million when he dies. It's not there.

Some of the biggest contributors to WMU have been retired educators. Most have made a steady paycheck for 40 years and have enough of a pension so they don't have to rob their savings.

They'd be more successful if they tried getting small amounts from many rather than trying to get the mother load from a few.
01-01-2012 09:07 PM
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Charm City Bronco Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Alumni Association.
(12-31-2011 03:51 PM)Chipdip Wrote:  Bottom line, if your chapter wants to be taken seriously you and the association have got to do a better job of presenting/selling yourself in these events. The guy running it did the best he could, but you really need some people with serious connections and organizational skills.

Yep, I think what the AA needs to do is kind of have a brainstorming session amongst those who have put on events and who want to put on events. Case in point, a few years ago, I wanted to have an Alumni outing to the Nationals. I was hoping the AA would front us money for 20 tickets (I could have easily sold 20 tickets), but they wouldn't. At the time, since I couldn't afford an iPhone, I couldn't afford to front 20 tickets (I wouldn't now, out of principle). I know last year a woman in San Diego had an outing at a Padres game, I kept meaning to email her to find out how she organized it and stuff, but I never did.

I've put on a few small events over the years for DC alums. Usually for football games. I'd have hosted one for the scUM and Central games, but I was out of town for weddings both weekends. I usually keep them small, call a bar, see if they will give us drink specials and reserve a few tables. I might do a winter reception this year, have it at a swank restaurant, order some hors d'oeuvres and have a bucket for cash donations for the food.
01-02-2012 03:08 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #27
RE: Alumni Association.
Except for a few of the faithful, such as yourself there has been little effort by the "Wallwood Hall Gang" to support an
Association of Alumni". The emphasis has been on self promotion.
Keeping the upstart alumni under control has been a major goal.
If one thinks of the alumni as being a member of the elite Adversary Group, students, faculty, administration, and yes those troublesome alumni.
everything falls into place.
In the aforementioned question, "Why the change?", I can only guess a person of some prominence was spoken to in a "condescending manner" or ignored.
So, lets forget the past, reinvent the wheel, and call it a "Family"?
We certainly DON"T want a FOCUS GROUP! My sources tell me the Board wields a big rubber stamp.

PT Barnum said What?
01-02-2012 05:16 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Alumni Association.
Quote:Keeping the upstart alumni under control has been a major goal.

Sounds about right, nothing has changed. It's a weird dynamic that flies in the face of what you would think they should be doing. To be clear, it's not LIMITED to the Alumni Association, trust me. Hard to be a supporter in these tough times, I do it for personal reasons, not because of my allegiance to the people who put themselves in charge.
(This post was last modified: 01-02-2012 05:26 PM by DesertBronco.)
01-02-2012 05:26 PM
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acer1 Offline
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Post: #29
RE: Alumni Association.
Fellows you need to be updated, as there has been significant changes in the alumni association in the past year. Our new Vice President of Development, Jim Thomas is now in charge and there are dramatic changes happening every day. There has been changes in the alumni staff and events are easier to produce. If you were at the Bronco Bash in Detroit, you would have noticed one of them. This event was s huge success. They intended to host 1,500 persons at the Motor City Casino and the final count when it was done was near 2,500 persons in attendance. I could not find a seat to eat, and so I stood, while renewing acquaintances all afternoon, with avid Bronco fans. The cost of $10 per person was insane for the food and program. In this fans eyes, it was a huge success and it is due to Jim Thomas, and his associate Jim Small.

These two are making a lot of changes and we see them everyday. I was shocked to hear here that they have suspended "alumni dues" as reported on this web site. But knowing both Jim Thomas, and Jim Small it is not surprising. Jim Small is a master at "name branding". You see his ideas all of the time, he created with "Cannon Cup" competition between WMU and CMU this fall. The Bronco Bash at the Detroit Motor City Casino is another.

It is time for Bronco fans, and especially alumni to become acquainted with its school and know how good the university really is. A good weekly primer of reading would be going to "www.mywmu.com" and looking at all of the successes of WMU (another brain child of Jim Thomas and Jim Small). While it is true that I'm one of the most loyal Bronco alumni, the changes that are happening are great, and I would hope that we all can embrace these and quit, harping on the little things that pull so many of our alumni into the pity pit and continue on tearing donw so many people that have served our great university.

Those teachers and coaches of mine that criticized me, were not my enemy, they were pushing me to get the most out of myself.

Always proud to be a Bronco.
01-03-2012 12:24 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #30
RE: Alumni Association.
That's Show Bis..........
You can fool some of the people some of the time...............

Now what?
01-03-2012 01:41 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Alumni Association.
Cool, parties.

I can tell you that Walsh's alumni association makes TWICE THE EFFORT than WMU's. I hope to see that change.
01-03-2012 01:49 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #32
RE: Alumni Association.
Thanks for the update, Mr. Acer.

UPDATE

My friends and I have met Mr. Thomas and Mr. Small.
Mr. Small is leaving.
He was probably leaving when he arrived, since he never relocated from Oakland County to Kalamazoo.

Will Mr. Thomas be leaving for South Bend too?
Mr. Thomas doesn't return my friends telephone calls.
I never bothered, because I knew better.

Is Mr. Acer on the payroll?

Now what?
01-04-2012 03:13 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #33
RE: Alumni Association.
And now for something completely different.........

In one of the earlier postings it was suggested that soliciting input and contributions from many alumni might outweigh
focusing on just major donors.
Not a bad idea.
Actually, a good idea.

But there're some people that seem to need to hit only "home runs" to self promote.
The "Little People", as Loretta Hemsley once described "them" will be happy with a few events/parties.
Input from this group is not significant, and takes a lot of creative work and effort.

My friends and I have experienced a lot of condescending attitudes and remarks over the last DECADE.

Any predictions?

New Year Resolutions?
01-06-2012 12:10 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Alumni Association.
Acer on the payroll?! I doubt that, just an ass kicking booster who is incredibly supportive and positive about everything WMU.
01-06-2012 12:16 PM
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Chipdip Offline
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Post: #35
RE: Alumni Association.
To me it all comes down to the university's data base. First, target a mailing list of WMU grads with household incomes in eccess of a 100k. Snail mail and email those folks with a surveymonkey and determine where their interests are in terms of WMU, i.e. athletics, academics, no interest in the school.

There are 175k WMU alums in MI. Have 2-4 alumni gatherings per year (catered, open bar, etc) with RSVP invites. At least two of them tied in with key football games, a hockey game, a Miller event or both and 1 or 2 on the east side. Have 3 key speakers. One the Prez, two a speaker with a pie in the sky project, and three a person who can explain the tax advantages of donating as well as how this could be done via payroll deduction.

The goal, 500 people per gathering plus a spouse, with a minimum donation of a $20 a month. Donor receives various WMU related gifts based on the size of the donation.

If we received 50% compliance with the miniumum donation we're looking at 240k per year. That money is used to build the chapters. In year two we break those donors into separate groups based on the region they live in and use year 1 donations to seed those groups and build local chapters. So for example if a chapter in Northern MI emerged then they would receive money for 1 or 2 dinners and fund raisers per year.

The goal in the first 5 years should be to build chapters. The donor pool $$$ should go almost exclusively to that rather than to the school, as if we're building a business. Free grub, free WMU memorobilia, free tax advice, free quality WMU guest speakers (Dennis Archer, Prez Dunn, Hawk, Cubit, Hiller, Jennings, Dombrowski, etc.), and a free key event or two i.e. football, hockey, or Miller.

After year 5 of this plan, then the money begins to go primarily towards WMU. Hopefully by that point we have a base of 10k alums donating an average of $50 a month or around 5-6 million a year.

To me this is a very conservative estimate. The key is communication between the university and its alums. How extensive the university's data base is will determine success. My fear is it's not very extensive.
01-06-2012 04:18 PM
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acer1 Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Alumni Association.
DB, you haven't asked your insiders about that "ass kicking (kissing)" yet have you. I've turned a few tables in my affiliation with WMU. The trouble is you can't do it from the outside.

Jhoover, I'm sure that you may have been met with some resistance with some ideas, who hasn't? I just don't think that it is productive to sit and complain about things, you must get into the arena and be a part of the process. I don't know you so I can't throw stones at you and I refuse to do that, but have you served on the "Board of Directors" of the alumni association. In that forum you are likely to work within the political system and change is possible. Generally not in the manner many of us in the business world would operate, but look at our government.

Always proud to be a Bronco.
01-06-2012 04:20 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #37
RE: Alumni Association.
Mr. Acer, after a decade of Chapter meetings, gatherings, presentations, Gary Fund, season tickets.........
As a twenty year former resident of Kalamazoo, former University employee........
I doubt that I would be nominated to the Board, and would never get by "you know who " for an anointment.
I'm not attacking you, but you've been more than presumptuous, "you must get into the arena".
The ten items/suggestions I e-mailed to someone who recently left Kalamazoo, I'm sure did not wind up on "The List",
but landed in the circular file.

I'm not complaining. I'm stirring the pot.

Mr. CD has a good plan. Maybe an even "Excellent Plan"!
Let's do it!! I'd vote for it, if I had a VOTE/VOICE.
If he is a person of prominence and a Major Donor maybe it could be seriously considered.

Why aren't we having this discussion at a Chapter meeting, special committee meeting, etc........
01-06-2012 07:13 PM
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acer1 Offline
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Post: #38
RE: Alumni Association.
JHoover, I'd love to meet you someday as I never avoid efforts to met and talk with passionate WMU alum.

Many of items in CD's submission above are already being worked on. I'm not sure if there are "focus groups" in other cities but that has been one

in Grand Rapids for the last year. Events done and plan as a result, Football pep rally (about 800 persons in attendance), the Bronco Epic, built around the city "Art Prize" event ( over 500 attending) and a Bronco Gala at Meijer Garden (over 800 persons in attendance). I do know that this concept would if deemed successful in Grand Rapids was going to be transferred to the Detroit and Chicago areas. The Detroit area just experienced the Bronco Bask before the Little Cesears Bowl game (estimated 2,500 in attendant).

There is a new energy, and plan in place. I credit Dr. Dunn with many of these changes. I see the university being transformed and that is all good.

Always proud to be a Bronco.
01-07-2012 12:14 PM
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JHoover Online
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Post: #39
RE: Alumni Association.
Wow!
And the Hits keep on coming!
I'm impressed on the number of viewers to this thread.
Hopefully, more alumni will enter their opinions.
Sadly, this exchange of ideas and comments is not taking place on a University web site, or University sponsored meeting.
Since it is occurring on a predominately athletics web site, perhaps an Association of Alumni should be directed by the Western Michigan University Athletics Department?

Mr. Acer has written an interesting "press release" relating information that many of us already know, with a very positive spin.
I guess that's "OK", but my friends and I are still skeptical.
At a recent meeting in SE Michigan a WMU official referred to the audience of alumni as "YOU", as in "you people".
A social faux pas that reflects the "them and us" attitude"? This certainly didn't pass the "pronoun test".

One of the last movements that came out of the Alumni Association was the "Young Alumni" fiasco.
"What are you going to do with the "Old Alumni", take them out back and shoot them?"
Very divisive.
This is exactly what happens when you make decisions in "rooms without windows".
This is what can happen when you purposely exclude Alumni from the decision making process, and surround yourself with "Parrots and Bobble Heads".
Many of us were really pissed off about this.

What ever happened to the academic approach? You know, THE SURVEY- for Alumni input, committee meetings, measurable goals and objectives?
My friends and I are still very skeptical.
Perhaps a viewer to this thread, one of power and insight, can influence a positive outcome to all this banter!
01-07-2012 06:07 PM
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DesertBronco Offline
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Post: #40
RE: Alumni Association.
Hoover, you have your opinions and are very cryptic about some of the dynamics.

How does the "Family deal" get taken as a slap in the face instead of a step in the right direction? I'm serious. I'm in total agreement about the alumni association, it wasn't an open, inclusive group, sans a few mailers and a poorly architected web site.

How is this move a negative and why do you feel that way? I am so outside of the loop, I am truly curious. I've said it before, I'm also an alumni of a small business college, Walsh based in Troy where I put on an MS while working, they do a much more solid job in their attempts to be inclusive, the only problem is that I'm really not aligned with them or consider myself part of their community, never did.

WMU? I would love that type of attempt to "pull me into the fold" but it never really comes.
01-07-2012 06:49 PM
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