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Thursday, September 25, 2003
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Alumni network aids University recruitment

Sept. 25, 2003
By Aaron Reincheld

Alumni and friends of Ohio University seeking opportunities to get involved with the University can now participate in the Volunteer Alumni Admissions Network (VAAN). The network is a joint effort between the Ohio University Alumni Association and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to have alumni help recruit a top-quality, diverse mix of students.

Volunteers can participate in a wide range of activities, such as filling out a postcard letting the University know of a bright student in their area or representing the institution at college fairs or high school visits. Each opportunity has different time and expectation requirements, allowing alumni to find the task they are best suited for.

"People get a lot out of participating in VAAN," said Jennifer Heisey, assistant director of outreach and engagement for the Alumni Association. "Alumni really enjoy the interaction with the prospective students and the prospective students benefit from the knowledge and experiences of genuine Bobcats."

Most of the VAAN program's efforts concentrate on having alumni let prospective students know about Ohio University through personal contact such as phone calls, e-mail or letters.

"Sometimes that personal touch makes all the difference when you're making that big decision," Heisey said. "It's pretty impactful when alumni who have been out for a number of years still care enough to tell the story of their experiences. They want to share share their experiences because they want people to come and have that same experience for themselves."

The network is targeting the University's goals of attracting more multicultural students and more students from outside the state of Ohio. VAAN mainly recruits alumni from states other than Ohio, in areas where it may be cost or time prohibitive for admissions professionals to reach.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Alumni Association have worked on the program for about a year and a half and are now preparing to actively seek more volunteers. So far, Heisey has seen a lot of interest and has about 90 volunteers ready to go.

Even though VAAN prefers alumni volunteers from outside of Ohio, opportunities are available for those in Athens who would like to serve as a chaperone or host for multicultural students and their families during weekend or overnight visits.

For more information about VAAN, contact the Ohio University Alumni Association at (740) 593-4300.

Aaron Reincheld was a graduate student writer with University Communications and Marketing.
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