Our university years have often been said to be some of the ‘best years of our lives’. Like any great adventure, however, it must come to an end.
To combat the feelings of loss and to allow you to revel in some well-earned nostalgia that may come with graduation, the University of Pretoria (UP) has come up with an app for alumni to help them stay connected to the UP Family.
Alumni Connect, a mobile application that is available on all android and iOS platforms, allows you to catch up with old friends, create new friendships, find jobs, mentorship opportunities and, most importantly, stay connected with the University. The app was launched officially this week.
Samantha Castle, Senior Manager of Alumni Relations at UP, said it was important for the University to stay in touch with its alumni, and this was one of the aims behind the creation of the app.
“We wanted to make sure that we as an institution stay connected with our alumni. Through that connection and the platform, we are able to update them on the latest research, on news happening at the university, on our latest rankings and achievements, and we are able to invite them to events through the app as well.
“One of the other important things we are able to do is post daily, current jobs. So as an alumni, as you move through your professional career and you are looking at making different changes, this app can also assist you with finding your next career too,” Castle said.
In terms of functionality, the app can be accessed through your existing Facebook, LinkedIn or Google (Gmail) account. Castle added, however, that alumni were encouraged to log in using their LinkedIn credentials because then their entire professional biography is copied from LinkedIn to the app, eliminating the hassle of having to sign in and create an account all over again.
In addition, the app has created an exclusive pool of potential mentors to be connected with willing mentees. Castle said this was important, particularly for people who struggle to create these links. “When you sign in on the app, one of the initial things you will be asked is whether you are willing to be a mentor or be mentored. Immediately, there’s a directory of UP alum mentors that you can instantaneously gain access to,” she said.
The platform allows you to communicate with other people on the app through an inbox functionality as well. “What brings us together and connects us is that we are all Tukkies. Having a network of quality professionals is important,” Castle added.
The app has so far been downloaded by 5 000 (and counting) users, which reflects its user friendliness and impact. Castle explained that the alumni who had settled abroad or who are looking to settle abroad can also use the app to find UP alumni in those parts of the world.
“We have now started groups according to location on the app. For instance, everyone living in Perth is a part of that group and outside of this just being a professional network, it has also created an environment where these people can connect and help each other through basic day-to-day things,” she said.