Students to stay in touch via Internet after graduation

Students sing the Alma Mater at the U of I Commencement ceremony at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon, May 13, 2007. Erica Magda

Students sing the Alma Mater at the U of I Commencement ceremony at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon, May 13, 2007. Erica Magda

By Marie Wilson

When Haley Drake graduates, she thinks Facebook will help her keep in touch with friends and classmates.

“Just the news feeds alone give you information on people you haven’t seen in years,” said Drake, senior in Media. “And you can chat and send updates.”

Other seniors also said they think Facebook will continue to be a good communication tool once they graduate.

“Something will come up and you’ll remember your college experience,” said Mark Olson, senior in LAS. “You’ll remember one person and later that day, you can make a note and go on and see how they’re doing.”

Drake is also a member of Always Illinois, a networking site for University students, alumni and faculty.

She said she has not used the site much yet, but she joined it as part of her job search, hoping it could connect her to Illinois alumni working in the field of advertising.

The Alumni Association also works to connect recent graduates with other alumni, said Mary Timmins, associate editor of Illinois Alumni Magazine.

The association capitalizes on students’ tendency to communicate online by giving all seniors temporary memberships and sending them E-mail updates, Timmins said.

“Technology certainly allows us to stay in touch with our members,” she said.

“We can e-mail them about upcoming events, but we try to make sure we don’t bombard them.”

If graduated seniors reply to any of the Alumni Association’s e-mails, they will continue hearing from the group about topics such as regional alumni clubs and events in their area, Timmins said.

Drake and Olson said they have been receiving the Alumni Association’s e-mail messages.

Olson said he plans on joining the association eventually, while Drake said she will likely join a smaller alumni group through her sorority, Sigma Kappa.

Ten percent of seniors at all three University of Illinois campuses will continue their automatic memberships and become dues-paying members of the Alumni Association, Timmins added.

The association also maintains an online directory, which Timmins said may be useful for graduates who want to stay connected to their classmates and the University.

Whether they join official alumni groups or not, Drake and Olson think keeping in touch with their friends and classmates will be relatively easy.

“We have so many opportunities to communicate that you can share as much or as little as you want,” Drake said. “And most people share a lot.”