This week, I’ve talked (via email, but still) to alumni from Delaware and Maine! I’ve received story ideas for alumni in Washington, Alaska, California, Idaho, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and beyond. I’ve heard from a couple of dozen alumni in Texas alone.
I’m still open to suggestions on all 50 states at this point, but time’s running out if you want to nominate someone in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, or Oklahoma. Those are the four states we’re visiting first, so within the next two weeks I hope to make a decision on whom to feature and then start making travel arrangements. Our goal is to do those stories and portraits between Nov. 6 and Nov. 16. I can’t wait to get on the road and get this project started.
To nominate yourself or someone else for this project, or to tell your story online, go to our VISIONS Across America website. Or just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Six months ago, when I still wasn’t sure the VISIONS Across America project would fly, I went to a going-out-of-business sale at a local candy store. I was looking for chocolate molds, but what caught my eye was a cookie cutter in the shape of the United States of America. I bought it for 75 cents and considered it a good-luck omen for the VISIONS project.
It’s been in a drawer in my kitchen, waiting for its day to shine.
That day was yesterday. We had a VISIONS Across America launch party for the Alumni Association staff — to show off our website and thank everyone for all their hard work (so far) on the project. I baked these sugar cookies and hung maps all over the room and made little business cards.
But the real hits of the party were Kate and her new little Cyclone, C.J. Bruns. C.J. was born on Sept. 5 just hours after Kate finished her part of the VISIONS Across America website. I was so pleased that they could come to the launch party! It just seemed appropriate somehow.
C.J. slept through the whole thing, so we were able to play Pass the Baby from one person to the next, and he never stirred. I called it Baby’s First Launch Party. Isn’t he adorable?
We announced the VISIONS Across America project in our fall issue of VISIONS. The magazine dropped in the mail on Tuesday, so I hope to start getting feedback and story ideas from alumni SOON. I can’t wait!
Our website also went live this week, thanks to a lot of hard work by Brooke Guinn, Kayla Schantz, Tara Larson, and especially Kate Bruns. Kate was expecting a baby on Sept. 26 but delivered three weeks early on Sept. 5. She desperately wanted to finish the website before the baby was born, so she literally worked on it from the delivery room. That’s what I call a team player! Now all the site needs is YOUR stories and photos. I’m very excited about the site’s potential to connect alumni in their home states (and Washington, D.C. … they have their own page, too).
One other thing we did yesterday was send a message out to all the people on campus who work in the areas of communications and alumni relations. These are folks who work within the colleges (and in other areas) who are very familiar with the graduates of their programs. They keep in touch with them and know where they are and what they’re doing. I expect this group to give me lots of great story ideas. I’ve already received suggestions about alumni in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and Texas.