6.8 Involved Alumni

In the past year, Tilburg University’s alumni network continued to grow to more than 80,000 alumni. More than 5,900 degrees were conferred. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was again necessary to award these diplomas in walk-through editions or in delayed ceremonies.

Like the graduation ceremonies, alumni activities were once again put to the test by COVID-19. Many were postponed, possibly even to 2022, and others were cancelled. Fortunately, however, we were able to bring our community together in real life in the fall. During Coach Café, Psychology Café, and Entrepreneur Café, we brought nearly 300 alumni from several generations into contact with students in person. Unfortunately, it was again necessary to hold the International Career Café online. It thus became a nice complement to the other online events that took place in 2021 (e.g., events relating to contact), together with the Friends of Cobbenhagen, the job market for young people in collaboration with Studium Generale, and the Zero Hunger Lab’s Serious Game for donors to the University Fund. Events abroad were also organized for alumni, in cooperation with Nuffic Neso and the other Dutch universities.

Ties with alumni were also maintained through email and social media. With six alumni newsletters and two editions of Tilburg University Magazine—with the themes of New Common and Entrepreneurial Thinking—more than 50,000 alumni were reached.

The volunteer program continued to grow in 2021, and it once again managed to bring together knowledge and generations. More than before, the program offered students and recent graduates the chance to boost their professional careers without physical contact, and we managed to get many alumni involved as volunteers within the educational system. Alumni become involved as mentors, visiting lecturers, members of the alumni panel, and coaches at various events.

The annual phone campaign was held from home again this year. Students called alumni from their dorm rooms and asked about their experiences after graduation and offered alumni the opportunity to be actively involved with the University as volunteers and/or donors. In addition to the phone campaign with the student team in October and November, a student assistant called alumni throughout the year asking them to renew their donations to the University Fund. With this new component, the phone campaign raised a total of €148,369. The phone campaign thus yielded a higher donation amount than last year, albeit from a smaller number of donors. In addition to many small donations, we also received a number of large donations this year, including €100,000 for interdisciplinary research on religion and sociology.

Unfortunately, the Thank You event for loyal donors could not take place. In October, however, we were able to celebrate the Women of Bethany congregation’s donation of €1,050,000 (donated at the end of 2020) at the formal launch that was held at the TST in Utrecht.

We closed out the year with a special Christmas action. We hung ribbons on the campus Christmas tree for all donors and volunteers to express appreciation for their contributions. In addition, staff, students, and alumni could also have ribbons hung on the tree for a small donation. The action yielded €800 for the Zero Hunger Lab.

With all the activities of the University Fund (e.g., Have a Seat), programs for medium and large donors, the phone campaign and smaller actions, and contributions from the Professor Cobbenhagen Foundation, and other campaigns, a total of €441,357 was donated this year.