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Building Student and Alumni Relationships through Collaboration

Written by Maria Rolling (Communication B.A. 2012)

I have been involved in the Friends of Communication Board for two years, and have had numerous opportunities to work with fellow alumni and current students. This level of involvement has allowed me to meet incredibly talented students, and this year I was able to partner with one of those students on a fun and valuable project.

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the Friends of Communication board discussed ideas on how we can let students know about our new organization and how to connect them to alumni. I worked with Kelley Jacob, our executive board secretary officer, to develop a concept of a “Where Are They Now?” map. The map illustrates the expansive career options and destinations for graduating students.

At one of our first events of the year, Homecoming After Hours Happy Hour, I met Robyn Fettman, a Junior in the Communication program, and we discussed how we could partner together. As it turned out, she had developed a board specifically for Friends of Communication and the “Where Are They Now?” map fitted, perfectly, with her concept.

Robyn is majoring in Communication and minoring in Marketing. In 2016 she started working on a project to revamp all of the bulletin boards for the Communication Department in McMicken Hall. This effort worked towards both design and content improvements. Her overall goal was to highlight faculty and student research, student organizations, scholarship opportunities and alumni involvement.

For about seven months following that initial discussion, at the happy hour, we worked together to finish the Friends of Communication bulletin board.  We partnered with Kelley to develop an engaging map design that would be the centerpiece of the board. Once we figured out all of the dimensions, we arranged the other bulletin board elements to fit an area dedicated to highlighting the board members. Additionally, there is a section that shows our mission statement and networking events that are open to students.

In addition to the physical map on the bulletin board, we wanted to expand this idea to include an online version that we could continue to grow in an online environment. This allowed us to connect with alumni and students using two different avenues.

Working with Robyn was the best part of my second year on the Friends of Communication board. I enjoyed collaborating with her on the design, determining critical messaging, and tying together themes. As with any group project, we inevitably ran into a couple of challenges, but we were able to work together to solve them. The end result of this experience was not only a phenomenal bulletin board representing our organization, but also an opportunity to continue growing communication and team work skills.

Maria Rolling graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2012 with her Bachelor’s in Communication, Minor in Psychology, and Certificates in Public Relations and Arabic Language and Culture. Since graduating, she has worked with a public relations firm, a non-profit, and is now currently working with a global engineering firm in a marketing / business development role. She joined the Friends of Communication board in 2015 to give back to the department and connect with current students and other alumni.


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