The Wisconsin Alumni Association® is dedicated to promoting a welcoming, inclusive environment for all UW alumni, as well as their family and friends. Upholding our values means recognizing that, at times, our efforts to engage diverse alumni have fallen short. To address these shortcomings, our leadership has made outreach and engagement of diverse alumni a top organizational priority.
Our initial plan to improve the alumni experience consists of three phases over the course of three years. Phase one will focus on alumni of color, phase two will focus on LGBT+ alumni, and phase three will focus on alumni with disabilities. However, this will be an ongoing initiative that will continue to expand over time.
Alumni of Color
Currently, there are more than 442,000 UW–Madison alumni living across the world. Over 30,000 (approximately 7 percent) of these self-identify as alumni of color. This diversity helps make the UW a rich, vibrant community — and yet, many alumni of color have reported feeling isolated or disconnected from UW traditions and activities.
Phase one of our plan includes a multi-pronged approach. Our objectives are as follows:
- Strengthen the alumni-of-color network.
- Enhance engagement programs.
- Cultivate student-to-alumni connections.
In addition to these program objectives, we acknowledge the importance of our leadership in strengthening internal staff training and support, which includes but is not limited to educational and professional development on diversity and inclusion.
Strengthen Alumni-of-Color Network
To ensure that all alumni benefit from the support of the Badger community, we will expand our networking opportunities with focused options for alumni of color.
- Improve our contact information database with identity-based factors to ensure that our communications reach all interested alumni.
- Reestablish identity-based affinity groups to connect alumni with the university and with each other. These affinity groups will also provide feedback and input on engagement efforts.
- Increase participation in the online networking platform Badger Bridge (badgerbridge.com) and offer an identity-based group for alumni of color.
Enhance Engagement Programs
It isn’t enough simply to ask alumni of color to be more involved with the UW. It’s also necessary to make sure they feel welcome and valued. To that end, we will:
- Develop a monthly e-newsletter addressing stories and issues affecting alumni of color.
- Provide networking opportunities through special-edition programming that allows alumni of color to connect in an environment conducive to discussing their specific concerns.
- Increase diverse representation within alumni chapters by encouraging alumni of color to explore and consider chapter-leadership roles.
- Re-establish a Diverse Alumni Advisory Council to increase the engagement of alumni of color with current programs and provide support to WAA leadership.
Cultivate Student-to-Alumni Connections
In addition to connecting alumni with one another, we hope to connect alumni to current students to encourage mentorships and career development. We believe this will improve the student experience and give alumni another meaningful way to engage with the UW. We aim to:
- Support the programs and activities of our campus partners by sponsoring and/or participating in annual events, helping to connect current students to WAA’s programs and opportunities.
- Partner with alumni offices in UW schools and colleges to share opportunities for alumni via new communication avenues for alumni of color, such as the Badger Bridge group or the e-newsletter.
- Connect students of color with alumni by supporting campus mentorship programs and initiate a partnership that will allow WAA to share mentorship opportunities with alumni of color to increase these connections.
This page provides a summary of our objectives and intended tactics, which were chosen after extensive research and consideration. Some strategies may use alternative implementation methods to aid in achieving the objectives.