In a renewed effort to connect alumni with the happenings of the school, in January the Alumni Affairs Office began publishing a weekly blog that features the experiences and perspectives of alumni, students, and faculty.
Head of School Rebecca Upham and Director of Alumni Programs Cecily Craighill conceived of the blog while discussing how the school could strengthen its relationship with alumni, later enlisting English Teacher Rob Leith to edit all posts for mechanics and clarity before publication. The blog, entitled “Blog: On and Off Campus,” can be found on the school website at http://www.bbns.org/alumniae/on-and-off-campus.
“I’m really looking forward to the blog,” Mr. Leith said. “I think it’s important for BB&N graduates to maintain an interest in the school, and the best way to maintain that is to form a connection between their lives and the school—hearing about student experiences through this blog helps to form that connection.”
On January 26 Ms. Craighill uploaded the inaugural post, in which she invited the community to contribute to the blog. She called the blog a forum for expressing ideas, reflecting on experiences, and sharing observations about the school.
“[The blog] is not a news delivery vehicle or journalistic publication,” Ms. Craighill explained later in an interview. “We believe that the blog will appeal to alumni by providing fresh, relevant weekly content that reflects a cross-section of alumni, student, and faculty viewpoints sometimes lacking in other school media and publications.”
Earlier than month, Mr. Leith introduced the writing opportunity during a junior class meeting and asked students to submit a sample post if they were interested in participating. He also invited five current sophomores whom he taught as freshmen to apply, eventually selecting a group of eight juniors and four sophomores.
Blog posts are typically 300 to 700 words and can address any number of topics relating to student life, ranging from winter vacation to sports. Student writers must commit to writing three posts by the end of the year.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to write in a non-reporting, non-English essay way,” blogger Sophia Scanlan ’18 said. “I hope that my posts give people insight into the school and its students.”
Sophia’s post, scheduled to be released during the third week of February, will present a version of her fall Community Building Assembly speech, in which she suggests that people should define their own identities rather than letting others reduce them to outdated categories.
The Alumni Affairs Office is still searching for regular alumni writers, though one post slated for the near future will feature author William Schwalbe ’80 and incorporate excerpts about learning Latin at the Middle School from his New York Times’ bestseller, The End of Your Life Book Club, Mr. Leith said.
To promote the blog and draw more alumni writers, every post will close with an invitation for readers to contact Mr. Leith if they would like to contribute, and the school’s main Facebook page may also share some of the blog’s content.
“The blog is still a work in progress, and it remains to be seen how it turns out, but we are very optimistic,” Mr. Leith said. “If it turns out to be as successful as we think it will, we will make it even bigger next year.”