New Hire: Alumni Engagement

“As an alumnus myself, I wasn’t connected to Covenant enough,” said Kim Collins, the new Director of Alumni Engagement at Covenant College. Collins’ job description, in “broad strokes,” as she puts it, is to get to know alumni, to find ways for them to stay connected and be involved, and to help them connect with other alumni. Collins, who began work for the college in late January, also works alongside faculty members and other departments such as the Admissions office and the Center for Calling and Career in order to facilitate alumni.

Collins graduated from Covenant College in 1999, with a degree in English and a Minor in Education. Collins then worked in a law firm for a year before going back to her hometown in Mississippi to teach at a middle school. Her father, who was still in college when he had her, had always stressed the importance of education to Collins. Collins grew up in the vicinity of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, where her dad would sit her on his desk while he was studying.

Thinking about pursuing a career in journalism,Collins moved to North Carolina three years later to take a class with the World Journalism Institute (WJI). During her time at Covenant, Collins has written for the Bagpipe and has even held the positions of News Editor and Copy Editor for the campus newspaper. However, she ended up working for the Institute as the Deputy Director instead of pursuing writing. Collins planned classes and conferences for aspiring journalists, and even worked with WJI’s alumni.

Collins explained, “One of my jobs was to keep in touch with [WJI’s alumni], and to help them with internships, connections, jobs, and just encouraged them. And I loved it.”

Collins worked in the Institute for nine years, which included moving to New York to open WJI’s new office. After her time in WJI, Collins then worked in The Bowery Mission in New York as Campaign Manager. Moving to New York was a turn in Collins’ life that took her by surprise. However, Collins enjoyed the metropolitan life. While she couldn’t continue mountain-biking, a hobby she picked up during her time in North Carolina, Collins enjoyed cycling from her home in Queens to her office in Manhattan.

Finally making her way back to the South after several years of settling in The Big Apple, Collins returns to Covenant College as the Director of Alumni Engagement, where she and her team are working on future projects such as planning new things to do at homecoming, in order to make the event appealing to even more people. They are also researching the best way for alumni to stay in touch, whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn, or an alumni directory. Collins believes that it’s important for alumni to stay connected with each other because of the valuable friendships among Covenant College alumni. As for staying connected to the college, alumni who have entered the work field have valuable experiences and connections to offer current Covenant students.

Collins’ current plan is to get to know other alumni through visiting the local ones in person, meeting those who are visiting the college, and talking to alumni on the phone. “I’ve already gotten to meet quite a few in the last few weeks and I really enjoyed it,” said Collins.

“It’s not just relationships with alumni,” Collins added, “but also relationships with others on campus. So, that would be spending time with faculties and staff and also current students.”

After all, Collins said, “Current students are future alumni.”

Having been graduated for sixteen years, her advice for these “future alumni” are “take advantage of your time at Covenant, because it goes by so quickly. Work on building those relationships with faculty and staff, and other students.” Collins also added, “When you leave, be intentional about staying in touch. Because it’s so easy to get really busy and it takes intentionality to stay in touch.” She mentioned that one thing she looks forward to is getting to know current students, and that the larger community should feel free to shoot her an email for a meal appointment in the Great Hall.

As for those who have graduated, Collins says that she is “looking forward to meeting them, to getting to know them, and listening to their ideas about how alumni relations might improve or how we can serve them better.”