Want Real Power on Campus? Get Alumni Involved
The most successful student groups leverage their alumni’s monetary influence. Protests and bad publicity for a university are one thing, but money talks and creates real policy changes.
Every university, even public ones now, are heavily dependent on the generosity of voluntary donations, especially from alumni. State universities are now merely "publicly-assisted." Without this private source of funding, many universities simply could not operate as they do now. While it varies from college to college, many alumni have fond affection for their alma mater and take some interest in the overall character and future of it, which is why they donate.
However, most alumni only know what university officials tell them. Most conservative alumni, many of them successful and wealthy donors, would be very surprised to hear how their university has been taken over by the left.
If you can identify and inform these conservative donors of the leftist abuses and bias on campus, you can persuade many of them to cease their contributions and significantly pressure the university into changing its policies. Moreover, many of these disgruntled, wealthy alumni may start funding your student group instead of the university.
This strategy is as old as the conservative movement itself. William F. Buckley, Jr. began his career in political activism by writing God & Man at Yale, in which he denounces the anti-Christian and collectivist invasion of his alma mater and calls upon Yale alumni to do something about it:
[Y]es, [alumni] have the power and they have the right to "interfere." But I go one step farther than some people; for I maintain that they also have a duty to "interfere."
A great example of this powerful strategy in action happened at the College of William and Mary. The university was going to remove the Wren Cross from the campus chapel. But after students, especially those at the Virginia Informer, informed other students and the alumni, the administration backed off and the president resigned!
Here's what you can you do to tap into your alumni network and put the squeeze on the university!
- Identify conservative alumni and donors to your university. This crucial first step requires some diligent research. Start with top donors first with the names of buildings on campus or other named scholarships and programs sponsored by a particular donor. Many universities have online alumni networks. Use online social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to their fullest. If it is a small college, looking through old yearbooks would do the job. Contact your Campus Services Coordinator to help brainstorm other ideas.
- Inform these donors of the leftist abuses and bias on campus. You have to find a way to communicate with them. During your research, search for and take down the email, phone number, and address of each donor. Develop a relationship with them, especially those with the most influence and leverage. A simple email newsletter, phone blitz, or mailout would work. Maybe personal visits too. Consider taking it to the next level by starting your own campus publication. Timing is of the essence with some issues, so keep that in mind.
- Be sure to call upon alumni to take action with their money and their voices. Tell alumni exactly what you'd like them to do: stop donating to the university and tell the administration exactly why you're witholding funds. Conservative alumni who don't donate should make phone calls, send emails, and mail letters of complaint.
- Keep good records. Don't let all your research, hard work, and donor/alumni relations go to waste! When you graduate, be sure to pass on good records about alumni and donors to the leaders you have been grooming to take your place. Keep your records up to date.
I can't emphasize enough how effective this approach is for a student group or publication. The power and influence is well worth the investment of time and effort. Go out and change your campus!