What is the Alumnae Alliance and what does it do?

The Alumnae Alliance was created by the SBC Board of Directors on Sept. 26, 2015, as to ensure the continued engagement of the alumnae of the College as the College works to rebuild and innovate for the future. As described in the bylaws of the Board of Directors (adopted on April 23, 2016, and revised on Nov. 11, 2016), the Alumnae Alliance is intended to serve as the new vehicle for channeling alumnae volunteer work for the College. To that end, the Alumnae Alliance partners with the College administration in student recruiting efforts, fundraising, Reunion planning, providing networking and career advice to alumnae and students, and other alumnae relations projects, and serves as a voice for all alumnae, through the Alumnae Alliance Working Groups, to report on alumnae activities and concerns.

Alumnae volunteer by joining working groups in one (or more) of seven focus areas; by providing professional expertise as a volunteer to the Council, the College, and the Board; and by representing different alumnae constituencies and interests (e.g., class years, geographic regions, majors). Alumnae also volunteer in service to the College and to the Alumnae Alliance in a variety of service-oriented projects (e.g., Sweet Work Weeks and the Reunion).

Why is the Alumnae Alliance not an independent 501(c)(3) organization?

The Board of Directors decided to continue the organization of the Alumnae Alliance as part of the College rather than spin it off as a separately organized nonprofit because of the costs of operating a separate entity, including administrative costs, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, and taxable deductions accounting, all of which are quite expensive. These costs are covered currently for the Alumnae Alliance by the College’s overall operations and accounting infrastructure and blanket insurance policy. In addition, SACS Principles of Accreditation 3.2.12 and 3.2.13 have specific requirements as to the College’s legal authority and operating control, particularly with regard to fundraising, of any entity organized separately from the College. For these reasons, the Board formed the new Alumnae Alliance as part of the College, just as the former Alumnae Association was. 

How do I join the Alumnae Alliance?

All alumnae of Sweet Briar College are automatically members of the Alumnae Alliance. The term “alumnae” includes those who have graduated from Sweet Briar College, those who have received honorary degrees, and those who have completed at least one semester of coursework while enrolled in the College.

How do I volunteer for a working group or a project?

Contact the co-chairs of the working group or of the Alumnae Alliance and express your interest! From time to time, the Council solicits nominations for leadership positions or other opportunities (such as the call for nominations for positions on the Presidential Search Committee and the Alumnae Committee of the Board of Directors in summer of 2016). Selections are made based on professional skill sets, willingness to make the necessary time commitment, willingness to sign the SBC Volunteer Agreement and commitment to uphold the core values and guiding principles of the Alumnae Alliance, as set forth in the Principles of Governance adopted March 1, 2018.

Why is the Alumnae Alliance Council organized like it is?

The initial Alumnae Alliance Council was formed in September 2015 by the chair of the Alumnae Committee of the College Board of Directors to govern the day-to-day operations of the Alumnae Alliance. The Council formed in a “hub-and-spoke” model to promote shared leadership and team collaboration within and across working groups. This new business model for our alumnae community is also promoted by organizations such as PointsOfLight.org (world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer services), GenerationOn.org (supporting kids and teens service, empowering them to become change-makers in their communities and the world), AmeriCorps.gov (helping others and meeting critical needs in their communities), and SeniorCorps.gov (focused on helping Americans 55 and over serve in their communities), but to our knowledge this is the first time this model of professional volunteering has been used in a college or university setting. Sweet Briar’s community is somewhat unique and innovative because the alumnae professional skills-based volunteer service is often in a virtual organization, as our alumnae community is distributed around the world (with a concentration of alumnae in the United States).

How will the nominations process be publicized?

Volunteering for the Alumnae Alliance is both a privilege and responsibility. Formal nominations will be promoted by the AA via the College’s website. Nominations will be requested as well as promoted via social media, including:

  • Announcement Postings (request for nominations, including self-nominations, using an online form coordinated with the College’s alumnae relations and development office using either Wufoo or MailChimp).
    • The Alumnae Alliance Facebook Page (facebook.com/sweetbriaralumnae)
    • The Briar Wire (if time is permitted to include announcement in the normal publishing distribution cycle). 
Who is in charge of the selection process?

The Governance and Strategic Initiatives Working Group of the Alumnae Alliance Council is primarily responsible for running the nominations and selection process in accordance with the Alumnae Alliance Principles of Governance adopted March 1, 2018 (see Article IV.B). This Working Group appoints a Nominating Committee consisting of at least five Working Group co-chairs. The Nominating Committee serves for a one-year term and reviews all nominations received for open positions in accordance with the criteria published in the solicitations. The Nominating Committee also solicits input on nominees from the co-chairs of the relevant Working Groups and the College Office of Alumnae Relations and Development and other relevant College staff as necessary. The Nominating Committee will present the recommended slate of candidates to the Alumnae Alliance Council. Candidates are selected by majority vote of the Council.