“Good Newsletter” or “Damn Good Newsletter”? Two different bulletins have been brought out to the alumni for the past couple of weeks; one drafted by Special Assistant to the COO for Institutional Advancement and Public Relations Lynda Sirk, the other by Director of Alumni relations Aimee Maruyama. “I put together the first newsletter as part of the communications plan (…) and then there was a conflict which arose and needed to be negotiated,” explained Maruyama.
On Wednesday September 26th, Alumni Board Association Treasurer Rick Daily, Head of Governance Committee Ellen Borgersen, Head of Communications Committee Christian Feuerstein, and College COO Andrzej Bloch met with Sirk and Maruyama in Main Building conference room. “The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the authorship and origin of the newsletters that are going out to alumns and also the process for getting these email bulletins approved,” said Borgersen.
The issue debated was whether the alumni relations office on behalf of the alumni board would be able to publish its own content and whether the alumni board could review the content that was initiated by the Public Relations Office.
The question remained unresolved at the end of the meeting. It was followed, on the following Friday, by a conference call; “What came out of that phone call was that both the office of public relations office–Lynda Sirk’s office– and the alumni relations office will be putting out a newsletter” recounted Borgersen. “Both of us will review each other’s newsletter, both of us have 24 hours to review each other’s newsletters and we can both write suggestions; these suggestions do not have to be followed,” explained Christian Feuerstein, “If I have huge concerns about Lynda’s newsletter, I can get upstairs to Rick and if Lynda has huge concerns about our newsletter she can get upstairs to Art Zucker (…) and we can get on from there.”
“We will be putting out the newsletter from our own domain, antiochians.org,” explained Feuerstein, who will be coordinating the Alumni Association newsletter from now on. She said that the bulletin would be put out once to twice a week depending on the level of commitment from volunteers and staff.
When asked whether she was concerned that the double-message might undermine the image of a common front shared by the the University and the Alumni Board, she responded in the negative. “We, the Alumni Board, feel it’s very important that we be able to speak to alumns in our own voice and to send out a newsletter that is oriented to our campaign for the revival and survival of the college; and on the other hand, the university feels the need to communicate directly with its constituencies, which includes college alumns and others, and they have news items that they want to put out that we don’t think are appropriate in the context of our campaign”