Mini reunions are an important class activity as they strengthen old friendships, establish new ones, build class identity, and reinforce ties to Wellesley.
In order to broaden her reach, it is recommended that the vice president recruit regional chairs to assist her in the implementation of the mini reunion program. These regional chairs, in turn, identify potential locations for mini reunions and ask one or more alumnae in the areas identified to host minis.
The vice president may also solicit volunteer hostesses in class letters, surveys, or on the class website or discussion group.
These events can be as simple as a pay-your-own-way meal at a local restaurant or pot luck at an alumna’s home. Mini reunions can also be held in conjunction with a local Wellesley Club event, or, in sparsely populated areas, together with another class. Names of officers in a companion class can be obtained from the WCAA. You may also request your full class list to identify areas of alumnae concentration to organize mini reunions.
2. Ideas for Mini Reunions
A mini reunion can take many forms. Suggestions for successful mini reunions include:
- Dining Events: Organize a social hour or dinner at a restaurant or someone’s home, or a tea, potluck, barbecue, brunch, or wine tasting.
- Cultural Events: Take a museum, garden, or architectural tour, or attend a musical or theatrical performance.
- Wellesley Club Events: Gather a group of classmates together and participate in one of the many Wellesley club events that occur around the world each year.
- Outdoor Events: Take a trip that involves sailing, whitewater rafting, skiing, spending a weekend in the country, bird watching, or touring a vineyard.
- Resort/Historic Locations: Plan a longer trip to a popular destination. Classes have traveled to Portugal, Santa Fe, the Pacific Northwest, Paris, and Toronto, among others.
The earlier in advance mini dates are set, the easier it will be to provide adequate marketing. The vice president should communicate with all her regional chairs regularly to remain informed of minis taking place around the country and submit event information to the president to include in class newsletters and emails, and to the class webmistress to place on the website.
Email is a cost effective way to promote minis. Additional information on Wellesley email marketing is provided on My Wellesley Community.
Don’t underestimate the power of a personal invitation – phone trees can be an extremely effective way to encourage attendance, while at the same time engaging more classmates in a personal way. We recommend inviting classmates to minis by email and / or print invitation, and then, in either case, following up with a phone call.
Mini reunions can be self-sufficient or paid for by the class treasury. Many minis are pay-you-own-way, or classes can defray the cost of an event by charging for attendance, accepting voluntary donations, or asking each person to bring a dish or other item to share.
We recommend using the Wellesley email marketing system and phone trees to promote mini reunions. This will save money on paper and postage, facilitate further engagement and conversations, and help the class be environmentally friendly.
5. Boosting Attendance
The more the merrier! Involving classmates in organizing the event decreases your workload, boosts attendance, and makes classmates feel part of the mini reunion. Calling classmates a week to 10 days before the mini reunion often increases attendance, as this personal contact goes a long way in making people feel welcome at the event.
6. Guest Book
Set out a guest book or laptop at the mini reunion to obtain updated address, email address, and career information, as well as personal news for the secretary’s class notes column. Be sure to pass along any updated contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Mini Reunion Reports
The hostess solicits feedback from attendees and shares those thoughts along with her own on the success of the venue, date, and any other relevant information with the class vice president. Either the hostess or the vice president must submit a mini reunion report after each event. These reports must also include attendance numbers.
8. Wellesley College Policy on Off-campus Facilities
The Wellesley College Alumnae Association strongly urges all classes to make a positive effort to use only those facilities that clearly do not discriminate against women and minorities and that comply with the College’s nondiscrimination policy .