As you’ve read in this issue, landscapes can take many forms. On a personal note, I spent a lot of time looking at the landscape of my own backyard in spring 2020 — as did many, I’d guess! I’ve never had a green thumb (in fact, quite the
opposite, from past experience), but I thought, “There is no time like the present to invest more time into the backyard garden.”
Step One: I researched the types of plants that could not only survive, but thrive in my backyard conditions. I consulted books and spoke with individuals whom I knew had experience and knowledge that I lacked. Feeling more confident, I firmed up my plans.
This is not unlike the way our Development and Alumni Engagement team consistently assesses the landscape of our work. We research, we attend webinars to hear new trends and we remain connected to peer colleagues to trade ideas. We also survey Oswego alumni every few years to hear what YOU are looking for in your Alumni Association (watch your inbox for the next all-alumni survey coming in 2022!). We determine which practices best suit our Lakers, and we make a plan to implement them.
Step Two: I put the work in to transform the landscape of my backyard — I dug the holes, planted the perennials and gave them the water and attention they needed to survive.
There are similarities there to how we at SUNY Oswego nurture our current students. We invest preparation, time, diversity and care into the landscape of our campus community to provide our students with as many opportunities for success as possible — to empower them to become productive, responsible members of society. The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Program — which matches students with alumni mentors based on specific and unique traits and interests — is growing in popularity as a developmental resource in this way.
Step Three: To my delight this spring, I watched as the plants in my backyard began to re-emerge from the soil — in many cases more abundant and larger than before. After being nurtured properly, they had the strength to bloom again, and then some.
The landscape of our alumni often resembles that same circle of re-growth. Ignited by the positive environment they had as students on the shores of Lake Ontario, they return as alumni to share more spirit, experiences and memories with each other and future generations of Lakers — and, best yet, they often bring other alumni along with them. We can’t wait to see many of you soon, as we return to some in-person programming!
The landscape of your Alumni Association has certainly been impacted by the COVID pandemic (spoiler alert: virtual engagement will be sticking around!) — and we look forward to embracing those shifts in the months ahead. In the meantime, we hope your own landscape views include some green and gold in the near future!
Laura Pavlus Kelly ’09
Executive Director of the Oswego