How UCD Alumni Relations engaged with their community in Lockdown

By Michelle Power, Sierra Bower and Ria Flom, UCD Alumni Relations

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the challenges it presented our team connecting with our audience of almost 300,000 alumni, UCD Alumni Relations sought new and meaningful ways to engage with our alumni community. Here are three campaigns that we ran last year which helped us achieve our engagement goals and reach UCD graduates all over the world.

UCD Together Campaign

 The #UCDTogether campaign was created to share stories from our global graduates at a very difficult time globally, due to various restrictions and lockdowns. We were aware that, regardless of location, our alumni were having similar experiences and bringing those stories together and sharing them would, at the very least, help us tackle the collective isolation we were all dealing with.

We shared these stories on our various social media platforms and the featured stories were as diverse and varied as our alumni themselves. We heard from a Covid survivor in the UK; retirees in Finland; health workers in New Zealand; a remote worker in Mongolia; a furniture maker in Italy and even a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho.

Overall we featured almost 100 stories. On reflection of these personal accounts, we discovered that although these current times are extremely challenging and there is plenty to feel uncertain about – there is much to celebrate too. As we brought #UCDTogether to a close we celebrated the achievements big and small of our alumni and their stories of resilience, accomplishment and survival. 

Love on Campus

Hugh and Elizabeth McFadden

The Love on Campus campaign brings to the forefront stories of alumni who consider UCD to be more than just their educational institution, but also a place of connection, memories, and love. We received stories from graduates from the 1960s, and as recent as those who have just completed their degrees in 2021, whose collegiate romances have stood the test of time and helped to mold their UCD experience.

We started hearing stories from alumni of handle-bar bike rides, stolen glances across lecture halls, and the perfect Tinder match, all originating on UCD campus. It was clear that although in the 1960s first years were told not to fall in love, that this was absolutely not the case!

‘’We married, and are still together as a married couple, 57 years later. The years when we were in Earlsfort Terrace and its surrounding environs of Lower Leeson Street, St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street were among the happiest years of our lives.’’ – Hugh McFadden, Class of 1966

#UCDGrad 2020

We wanted the Class of 2020 to know that while the graduation ceremony was going to be different than what they would have imagined or anticipated, that the UCD community was genuinely proud of all that they achieved in spite of the circumstances.

To celebrate and support the UCD graduating Class of 2020, we created a two pillars campaign (#HelloUCDGrad and #UCDGrad2020) around the 2020 Virtual UCD Graduations. Our goal was to help them feel warmly welcomed into the global UCD alumni community: we mobilised our wonderful alumni to make the newest members feel extra special, by sending in video messages of support and well wishes. We showcased these messages on social media, during conferring ceremonies, and in Dean’s welcome emails.

Building on the success of our alumni engagement efforts over the summer of 2020, we also hosted a special edition of our What it Takes career building webinar series to support the Class of 2020.

It was wonderful to see our alumni come together during lockdown through these three campaigns, and to highlight the many voices that make up our UCD community. Keep an eye out for more stories in UCD Alumni Connections Magazine, coming out in September 2021, as well as our series of online events including UCD In Conversation, What it Takes, and Money Talks.