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Why create an Illinois Alumni Club?

University of Illinois Alumni Clubs exist to engage alumni and friends through events, strengthen relationships to our alma mater, provide opportunities for alumni to volunteer, and fundraise for student scholarship opportunities.  Whether your passion is community service, athletics, or professional networking, there is something for everyone in an alumni club.   The University of Illinois Alumni Association is here to support alumni clubs in regions where there is a substantial population of alumni to sustain the club year over year.

How to start an Illini Alumni Club

  1. Please complete the Illini Alumni Club Interest Form
  2. Once your form is received, the Director of Alumni Clubs will research the alumni demographics for your region to determine club viability.  Viability of an alumni club is determined by the number of e-mailable alumni in your region. 
  3. If your region’s alumni demographics indicate that an alumni club is viable, the Director of Alumni Clubs will reach out to you to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting to further discuss your interest in starting an alumni club.  Additionally, the Director of Alumni Clubs will discuss the Alumni Association’s expectations of an alumni club in addition to the resources that our organization provides to our alumni clubs
  4. After this phone call or Zoom meeting, the Director of Alumni Clubs will coordinate an alumni interest survey to be sent to all alumni in your region to gauge interest in alumni club events and interest in volunteerism.   If you have existing relationships with other alumni in your region, we highly encourage you to reach out to those alumni to see if they have an interest in serving as a volunteer for your alumni club.  Creating a viable, sustainable volunteer structure and pipeline for your club is paramount for the long-term success of your club.
  5. If the survey receives a robust response for interest in both events and volunteerism, the Director of Alumni Clubs will coordinate either a Zoom or in-person meeting to review the UIAA’s expectations and resources and discuss volunteer roles crucial for a healthy alumni club.   The Director of Alumni Clubs will also follow-up with attendees via e-mail after this meeting to survey their interest in specific board of governors positions for the alumni club.  
  6. Once volunteer commitments and positions are confirmed, the Director of Alumni Clubs will work the club president to create by-laws to help govern your club.  Once your by-laws are approved by the UIAA, your alumni club will be officially recognized by the UIAA.
  7. From here, your club will work with the Director of Alumni Clubs to create your alumni club’s website (provided by the UIAA).  Your club will also be able to create social media pages to promote the club and connect with other alumni in your region.   Your club can also begin hosting alumni events.  The UIAA recommends that your club open a local bank account in order to receive financial support from the UIAA.

Additional Important Information

  • Your club must adopt official University of Illinois branding standards for electronic and print promotion in addition to any merchandise related to the alumni club.
  • Under no circumstances may your alumni club use the Chief logo to promote the alumni club on your website, social media pages, event e-mail invitations, at club-sponsored events, or club merchandise.
  • The UIAA will not support the creation of a new alumni club if there is an existing Illini alumni club serving your region.
  • Any requests for university-affiliated VIPs (university leadership, athletic coaches, professors) must be coordinated with the UIAA and may not be undertaken independently by club officers.

Disband/suspend operations of an alumni club

For many reasons, alumni clubs are sometimes faced with the difficult decision to dissolve an alumni club.  This could be related to a few factors, including shifting alumni populations in a given region, lack of alumni interest in club leadership positions, or lack of volunteer bandwidth.  As unfortunate as this situation may be, the UIAA will help clubs seeking to dissolve.  Prior to dissolving your club, the UIAA requests that your club’s leadership reach out to Tyler Gagai at gagai@uillinois.edu to discuss some potential options for the club, including strategies for potentially filling club leadership vacancies.  

If the club ultimately decides to dissolve, the UIAA asks that the club take the following steps.

  1. Notify Tyler Gagai, Director of Alumni Clubs, of your club’s intention to dissolve.
    • Tyler will work with the UIAA communications team to remove the clubs’ listing from our website.
  2. Deactivate the clubs’ social media outlets. While we understand that the club might still want to have an online presence for local alumni, it creates the impression that the club is actively programming for alumni.
    • If your club wishes to ultimately maintain a social media account even if the club has been dissolved, the UIAA requests that you remove the “Illini Club” name from the page’s name. For example, change from “Boise Illini Club” to “Boise-area Illini”
  3. If the club has a bank account, the bank account will need to be closed. Prior to doing so, please reach out to Tyler Gagai to explore options for donating the remaining balance to an existing fund at the University of Illinois.
  4. If the club has an existing scholarship account or endowment on campus, please notify Tyler Gagai when you reach out to him about dissolving the club.

Recruiting New Club Leaders and Volunteers

New club leadership and volunteers are vital to the long-term success and health of any alumni club.   New leadership and volunteers means new ideas, and clubs can greatly benefit from the infusion of new leaders and their enthusiasm. The UIAA is prepared to help your club in recruiting new club leadership and volunteers.  

Our primary resource to aid your club is surveying your region to collect data on alumni who are interested in volunteer and club leadership opportunities. After the UIAA has allowed an acceptable window of time for Illini to submit their responses, your club’s leadership will provided with the survey results, which will include the name, contact information, and preferred board/volunteer role of each respective respondent. 

From there, the UIAA encourages your club to invite these interested alumni to connect for a virtual meeting, or be invited to an in-person club meeting to learn more about volunteer opportunities, and ways for these interested alumni to become involved. If your club is interested in scheduling a survey through UIAA, please contact Tyler Gagai at gagai@uillinois.edu.

We also encourage your club to leverage IlliniLink and your own social media pages to solicit new volunteers. At club events, we encourage your club’s leadership to make a soft ask for alumni to become involved with the club.