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Organising a successful reunion

Reunions are a great way to meet up with old friends and reminisce about your days at Ulster University.

We are happy to give you support when planning your reunion; we can help with advice on the type of event, ideas for venues, promotion via social media, email and on our e-newsletter.

Whether or not you need any help organising your event, do keep us up to date with your plans – we love to hear news and photographs of alumni events.

Planning the reunion

Organising a reunion takes time and effort.  It’s a good idea to get a group of people together to share the tasks out so that no one person is overwhelmed.  The key tasks are:

  • Communication
  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Accommodation (if required)

A coordinator will, however, be needed to keep overall tabs on progress.


Type of reunion

Do you want to have an informal meet up for drinks and a bite to eat in a local bar or restaurant, or would you prefer something more formal?

Would you like one event, something on campus, or a weekend of events?

Obviously, the decision you make on this has an impact on the effort involved, and the cost.


Cost

Take into account the cost in terms of both money and time and how you will divide these between those attending.  The more affordable the event is, the more people are likely to attend.

If there is a cost/charge to those attending, we would highly recommend that money is collected in advance – people are more likely to attend if they have paid up front, and it means that the organisers are less likely to be out of pocket for deposits.

If you’re having a more informal meet up, such as drinks in a bar, it may be more appropriate for people to pay on the night.


Venue and date

If you’re going to have something more formal, you need to give approximately six months’ notice of the date.  Most places will accept a provisional booking, but you might have to pay a deposit.  If there’s only a few of you, you may prefer to meet in a bar or restaurant local to the campus you attended.

When thinking about the date you are choosing, it might be a good idea to have the reunion on the anniversary of your graduation ceremony, for example, or at a holiday time to accommodate friends and classmates who may be travelling from overseas.  Do keep university term dates in mind if you want to have your reunion on campus, or want to have a tour.


Contacting your group

The first thing to decide is who you would like to invite to the reunion.  Would you prefer to invite your whole year group, those from a specific course or just those from a distinct group, such as those in your halls?

We can provide you with a list of names as a memory refresher.  We may also be able to contact current and former members of staff for you.  If you’d like us to invite any lecturers, former lecturers or support staff to your reunion, please do not hesitate to ask.

It’s usually a good idea to send an email and/or do a post on social media (especially Facebook) before the invitation itself goes out. This lets you gauge the level of interest, before you commit to bookings or other arrangements.

We can contact selected Ulster University graduates on your behalf via email (please note - the number we can contact successfully really depends on whether people have kept their details updated with us) and post on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), our website and put a short piece in our  e-newsletter for you.  We are unable to give you contact details, but we can include your contact details in any posts or articles and invite people to respond to you.


Important things to consider

Below is a list of points that may make organising your reunion easier.

  • A list of invitees – people are more likely to attend if they know who is coming.  You may wish to use a Facebook events page for this purpose
  • Do a shout out for any “lost” alumni – some of those you are contacting may still be in touch with their classmates or have up to date contact details for alumni that we don’t
  • Your initial invite should include details of the date, the venue and the cost
  • Do remind people. Several email invitations/letters/confirmations/final details will encourage people to respond and attend
  • Make sure you include an RSVP with a date. This will ensure you have an idea of numbers in good time to plan your event
  • All replies should go back to you, the organisers and it would be great to keep the Alumni Office updated (alumni@ulster.ac.uk)

Feedback

We would love to hear how the event went.  If you send us a short summary and some photos we will try to feature it on our website, our e-newsletter and/or on our social media channels.  This is a great way to find those that were missing for the next time, as well as inspiring other alumni to organise their own reunions.  Please make sure that any alumni in your photographs are happy to have their image used in this way.

In return for publicising your reunion, we would ask that you let us know if you discover any alumni whose address details or email addresses are incorrect or have changed.  This information would be very useful as we are constantly updating the alumni database.  We will refresh our database to show who attended and update contact details so that alumni do not miss out on future events.