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Is this Alumni Office slide-show as lame as it appears? Yes! Check it out if you don’t believe me.

1) Sharifa Wright ’03 — a former EphBlogger, former intern in the Alumni Office, former member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Alumni and former (unsuccessful) candidate for Tyng Administrator — (3 of 4 of these facts are deeply connected) — deserves credit for allowing Williams to use her picture. The lamity here is not her fault.

2) Has any aspect of the Alumni Office’s technological outreach been a success? Not that I can think of. And I am too lazy nice to review the litany of failure. The Alumni Directory works and is convenient. I find the fund-raising reports helpful in my role as class agent. Other than that, I use nothing. Do you?

3) Lest I be accused of offering no constructive suggestions, consider this collection of posts on Eph Communities of Interest. Start here.

4) Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Alumni Office has ignored all my suggestions. And, unsurprisingly, all their efforts have been total failures. These two facts are not unrelated.

5) Perhaps I ought to buy a copy of Chris Anderson’s book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” for my buddy Brooks Foehl ’88, secretary of the Society of Alumni. Consider:

There may be more of them [professional journalists], not fewer, as the ability to participate in journalism extends beyond the credentialed halls of traditional media. But they may be paid far less, and for many it won’t be a full time job at all. Journalism as a profession will share the stage with journalism as an avocation. Meanwhile, others may use their skills to teach and organize amateurs to do a better job covering their own communities, becoming more editor/coach than writer. If so, leveraging the Free—paying people to get other people to write for non-monetary rewards—may not be the enemy of professional journalists. Instead, it may be their salvation.

Exactly right. And the same applies to the Alumni Office, especially in this era of budget cuts. Instead of refusing to even link (!) to EphBlog, the Alumni Office ought to be absorbing us, recruiting our talented collection of contributors to write for them.

With the retirement (pdf) of Steve Birrell ’64, a decent man who dramatically increased the size of the Alumni Office staff, the College has an opportunity to chart a very new direction. Will it? I don’t know. Mike Reed ’75, now serving as acting Vice President of Alumni Relations (Birrell’s former position) no longer returns my e-mails.

And, by the way, I claim credit for first suggesting that Reed would/should replace Birrell. Accurate predictions/prescriptions like that is why you come here, even in the summer, right?

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