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Affinity reunions at Drake Relays offer alumni a special way to connect

April 16, 2013

Thanks to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Drake alumni are now able to stay more connected than ever year-round. But Liz Tesar, BN’07, assistant director of alumni relations, says coming back and actually seeing people in person is something social media just can’t offer.

For years, the Drake Relays has offered alumni a time to reconnect through class reunions—the most common being 10-, 25-, and 40-year reunions. But affinity reunions have gained popularity in recent years, allowing alumni to connect across classes with other alumni who share the same majors, interests, or activities.

“We have learned that people feel more connected to their affinity,” Tesar says. “They can connect on a deeper level.”

Both the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) and the environmental science and policy program are hosting affinity reunions during the Drake Relays this year. Nicole Jobst-Smith, JO’08, is a member of the National Alumni Council for the SJMC and is serving as co-chair for that school’s reunion. Jobst-Smith says that as a young alumna, she hasn’t been out of school long enough to be invited to the class reunions, so she is looking forward to coming back and connecting as a member of an affinity group.

“The [affinity reunions] allow me to see a specific group of people whom I want to connect and network with,” Jobst-Smith says.

The SJMC Reunion kicks off on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in Meredith Hall. This event is free and sponsored by Roger, JO’65, and Joyce, FA’65, Lethander. Light appetizers and a cash bar will be available, and attendees will have the opportunity to meet current students and view their capstone projects. The reunion continues on Saturday, April 27 from 7:30–10:30 p.m., at Jasper Winery, 2400 George Flagg. This event is $25, which includes appetizers and two drink tickets. RSVP online at www.alumni.drake.edu.

The Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) Reunion starts on Friday, April 26, with a reception from 7–10 p.m. in the Turner Jazz Center. The reception is $10 and will include light appetizers and a cash bar. The reunion continues with several events on Saturday, April 27, including a brunch and roundtable discussion ($15) from 9–10:30 a.m. at the Turner Jazz Center, followed by a campus tour. The day will conclude with a free cookout, sponsored by the ENSP department, at Gray’s Lake, 2100 Fleur Drive, at 6 p.m.

For more information about reunions, visit the alumni website at www.alumni.drake.edu, or contact Liz Tesar at 515-271-3378 or elizabeth.tesar@drake.edu.