April 14, 2020 | By Jake Weber
Like practically every other in-person event right now, Albion Everywhere—the College's alumni togetherness celebration held in dozens of locations on the same day—didn't take place last month. But Institutional Advancement staff members Hannah Mattson and Erik Braun didn't dwell on all the advance work that had seemingly gone for naught. Instead, "we came up with the same new idea at almost the same time," says Mattson. "We put it together in just one week and it's been great!"
"It" refers to the Albion Web Series, a virtual meetup for anyone with an Internet connection and an interest in a fellow Brit's expertise. The first three events—yoga in St. Paul, Minn., Albion's April Fools' Day history and a visit to two downtown Albion eateries—attracted nearly 200 total participants, which Mattson sees as a vote of confidence.
"Alumni love our regional events, especially Albion Everywhere, but sometimes, it's challenging to do something that will appeal to a 1970s grad and a young alum," Mattson says. "This was an opportunity for a topical event, at a time when people are looking for ways to engage. We're all also learning the same new technology of how to communicate and be together."
Participants have joined from Florida, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and from across Michigan. Zoom software allows everyone to see everyone else, which led to a few happy surprises.
"It was a surprise to see that my cousin Dean Smith, '47, and his wife, Carol Beslock Smith, '55, were in the chat," said Rick Lange, '70. "The series is fun and it's a good way to get together."
"I was honestly only expecting about 20 people, but we got more than 100 for my presentation on The Plebeian and pranks at Albion College," says Elizabeth Palmer, '10, the College's Marilyn Crandell Schleg Archivist and Special Collections Librarian. "With the technology, we were able to include a few of the participants in the conversation, and they were able to share."
"I think that Albion is staying in line with 'what we do best' by hosting this Web Series on Zoom," Palmer added. "This fostered relationships among alums and between alums and the College. The entire Web Series shows how much Albion College cares about its alums. Not only is the College featuring us, but also providing community and entertainment for others!"