Tues 11.18.08 – I attended graduate school at Trinity College, Dublin from 2005 – 2006 and never really had the sense that TCD was making an outreach of any sort to alumni. The prevailing feeling is that is what American universities did, not Irish ones – even though the Irish Government was starving their universities by making all undergraduate education free and not properly funding the universities’ budgets to be able to run current programs as well as up keep the buildings and grounds.
When I attended TCD, a good portion budget from the Irish gov’t went to insuring the Book of Kells. Now the Book of Kells is a very worthy piece of history, as is the whole of Trinity College, but funding current education is very necessary for the present/future of the Irish people, the future of the College, and for its contributions as a world class institution to the culture of the world as well as research.
I found it infuriating when I attended Trinity that the Minister of Education publicly stated in the Irish Times that the gov’t’s method for funding the Irish university system was to encourage non-European Union students (undergrad & grad) to attend and pay full cost plus extra fees. The said minister in question even made trips to India and China to pitch Irish universities. This enraged me. Hello, you aren’t willing to properly fund your own universities nor charge your own citizens a fair fee, so you will attempt to get people in emerging, developing nations to pay outrageous fees?!?!??!?!??! Hello! Robbery!
It is one thing to be charged full fees as an American, I didn’t mind, as Trinity’s fees for the M.Sc. in CompSci in Multimedia Systems was only a 1/3 of what the Art Center is charging for a very similar program, though one would get an M.F.A. from the Art Center. But it is another thing to charge €20,000 plus to folks from countries whose families will go into serious debt to make the payments.
At the time, I asked many of my fellow students why the College did not have an active Alumni association that got all of us current students excited about our participation in alumni events after we graduated. Yes, this is a tried and true American approach to funding one’s universities: get your alumni on board, host events, have local chapters, keep folks invested and involved in the comings, goings, and community of the university long past graduation and then encourage them to donate.
How American of me to think such a thing. Well, apparently the folks at the alumni office at Trinity have gotten the same idea and I applaud them.
Today, when I opened my mailbox, I found the Trinity Today awaiting me and I was actually excited to receive it. I read it during lunch and was very impressed with the peppy, newsy content that focused on the doings and community of Trinity College, Dublin. It celebrated the accomplishments of students, academics, the College, and alumni.
The 13th issue of Trinity Today was well done and tasteful. Not cheesy. Not money grubbing. Not obnoxious or preachy, like the Biola Connections which is almost universally thrown into the recycle bin by all my fellow undergrad alumni without opening it or reading it.
After reading through the Trinity Today, I was proud to be a Trinity alumna. Proud enough to email the local LA chapter head and ask when the SoCal Trinity alumni are going to have a meet up. Then I emailed Eoin and Ruth (TCD friends who live in the area, relatively) to tell them I was excited. Now that is good alumni relations.
Thanks, Trinity College for getting this bit right.