Alumni Column: Staying Connected

Mike McMaster

In 2011, leaving Colgate isn’t what it used to be. Platforms like Facebook, Twit­ter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Tumblr and more have made it easier than ever for Colgate alumni to stay in touch with their classmates and feel connected with their alma mater.

As a student, I’m not sure I appreciated how important that connection with Colgate can be. Colgate life (and senior year in particular) is so demanding that in between the­sis work, a full course load, extracurricular activities, sports, the job search or whatever else keeps students occupied, it can be easy to take your surroundings for granted.

Then, one day in May, your friends and family make the trek up to Colgate for a celebratory and emotional blur of a weekend. But when the torches burn out and the dust finally settles, your Colgate education will come to a conclusion whether you like it or not.

Even though reluctant graduates leave Colgate every spring, they will inevitably come back, and Colgate does not leave them. A word of advice to first-years: keep your eyes peeled on homecoming weekend October 15 for more unfamiliar faces than usual and understand that you have become a part of something truly special.

But beyond homecoming, alumni find all kinds of ways to stay connected to the school they love.

They go to alumni events, donate to the Annual Fund and use all kinds of social media so that they feel like the only thing they are missing is the brutally cold weather.

But of all the ways that I have kept in touch with Colgate, I have found none more rewarding than Fantasy Football.

This summer, I joined a league with 13 other Colgate alumni (the number that keeps on giving) for $10 (should have been $13, in retrospect).

My team is 1-1 and in eleventh place, but I firmly believe that this was the best $10 I’ve spent since gradation. The alumni in the league range from ’09 to ’11 and the message boards and the e-mail chain are awesome.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is great. But at some point, Facebook and Twitter are only tangential connections to people with whom you used to enjoy everyday inter­actions. It’s one thing to see how someone is doing by occasionally noticing their status update, but Fantasy Football is totally different.

On a Sunday night, with a long week’s work looming, many alumni are busy prepar­ing themselves for the various challenges they will meet in the coming days. At times like these, when alumni are focused on their careers, Colgate can seem as remote as Hamilton is from consciousness.

But then again, Michael Turner just ripped off a 60-yard run to put me in the lead, so I have no choice but to get on my cell phone and on the message boards to talk some serious smack.

Alumni all keep in touch in different ways, but remembering Colgate is important and I think I’ve found my way.