In March, Shayna Anderson became the new Alumni Relations Coordinator for The Master’s College. Though she did not work at Master’s before being hired as the Alumni Relations Coordinator, she graduated from the degree completion program with a Biblical Counseling degree in 2011.
Prior to this job, Anderson also worked with the Alumni Relations for Santa Clarita Christian School, a K-12 school located just a few miles from TMC. Before Anderson’s involvement, SCCS had nothing organized for alumni relations; all she had to work with was a list of graduates. She was the first to make an effort to communicate and connect with them.
She went through all the old yearbooks, created a spreadsheet of all the alumni, tried to find their current contact information, started working on an alumni Facebook group, and began posting on social media. She started planning barbeques for the alumni, including one at the high school football homecoming, met with alumni families, and even coordinated the school’s 30th anniversary celebrations in 2012.
Anderson hopes to use similar methods as the Alumni Relations Coordinator for TMC. She plans to ensure the alumni contact information is up to date, and utilize a variety of social media platforms.
“Masters has a Facebook group page that links to Twitter; we also have an alumni group on Linkedin, and I created the Instagram account that the TMC alumni have,” says Anderson.
Other events Anderson is now in charge of planning are the alumni dinner theater, which includes a dinner and a play event in which only graduates are allowed to participate, events during the Truth and Life conference in mid-January, and Dodger game that has been held every summer for the past seven years. Fifty alumni attended the game its first year, but last summer 250 graduates participated. Anderson will also oversee the other regional events for pockets of alumni across the nation. “That can keep me busy,” Anderson says.
Though The Master’s College already had numerous alumni events and the alumni Facebook, Anderson now hopes to ramp up the quality of events, making them more unique and significant.
“Event planning is my forte and what I love the most. So a long-term goal I am really working towards is the student alumni relations. I think one thing we are currently lacking is the ability for current students to regularly meet with or have more direct access to the alumni,” Anderson says.
Another long-term goal is called Master’s Connect, coming in January 2015. It is an alumni-only website currently being built as an opportunity for alumni to be able to find each other on a map, post jobs, engage in group discussions, and so on. This website will be linked under the “Alumni & Friends” tab on the masters.edu website, and will provide opportunities for alumni not only to connect with each other, but also to current students. The site is set to launch during the Truth & Life Conference.
Master’s Connect users will be able to view a map to locate others and see how many other TMC graduates are in their area, see what events are going on either in their area or on campus, or create events to meet with other alumni, or post on a job board.
Anderson is motivated to be so involved in alumni relations because she feels it is important to continue to serve the alumni, and that this will support both the college’s mission and its financial needs. As the alumni recognize any unmet needs, they can support TMC’s current students through scholarship donations, housing, or anything else they may need.
“To be a part of supporting the mission of the college is a huge benefit, and the secondary benefits are to build relationships and continue to build goodwill for the college through the alumni and create events, just getting an opportunity to meet people,” Anderson says.
As the new Alumni Relations Coordinator, she hasn’t had to change too many things, but instead has enjoyed meeting both alumni and current students.
“Shayna’s familiarity with TMC through her studies here made her a good candidate for our Alumni Relations department,” says Anderson’s supervisor, Bob White. “Add to that the fact that she is a long-time member of Grace Church, is experienced in the world of Alumni Relations, and is a warm and positive person. Finally, as those who know Shayna affirmed, she has a servant’s heart.”
Located in the alumni building, Anderson realizes that many students don’t know they pass by her every day on their way to lunch, but is eager to answer any question and provide networking opportunities for whoever is interested.
“I’m here, I’m available, and students can come to me at any time.”
By Brenna O’Neill