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Chapter + Network Leader Guide

Chapter + Network Leader Guide


This page will be your guide in all areas of Case Western Reserve University chapter management, administration and assistance in programming development. Additionally, you'll find information about The Alumni Association, its mission and services.

Strong chapters and networks that promote the university are vital to the success of CWRU. We are proud to have a long tradition of global support from our alumni.

The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University globally connects more than 110,000 alumni through regional and international chapters, special events, alumni publications, social media and more. The Alumni Association encompasses alumni from all of the university’s schools providing opportunities for every alumnus to develop and maintain a lifelong relationship with the university.

The Alumni Association, in its current form, was founded in 2006 and is advised by an 18-member board of directors. The Alumni Association staff and board, focus on driving the university forward through alumni engagement.


Why Alumni Chapters and Networks?

Alumni chapters are imperative to engaging alumni around the world and serve as resources to keep them involved after graduation. Alumni chapters serve to do the following:

  • Provide a means to connect alumni to the university and to each other based on geographic location and shared interests.
  • Create programming for alumni to attend in their local markets.
  • Support all other Alumni Association programs and initiatives including homecoming, summer send-offs and affinity partnerships.
  • Assist in expanding the local volunteer pool to assure continuity in the chapter leadership.
  • Support engagement initiatives that are endorsed by The Alumni Association (specifically, the Alumni Admissions Program and the Alumni Career Network).
  • Endorse university fundraising campaigns.
  • Assist alumni in keeping their information up-to-date by educating them and/or providing the updated information to the appropriate university entities.

Alumni Chapters, Alumni Networks and Alumni Association Staff Directory

Looking for a fellow chapter or network leader? Need help from an Alumni Association team member? Follow the links below for more information:

The Alumni Association sets forth the following expectations for alumni chapters:

  • Maintain a leadership pool of at least three alumni to lead the chapter (The Alumni Association recommends the following leadership roles: Chapter President, Events Coordinator and Communications Coordinator).
  • Host at least two events each year.
  • Cultivate a local pool of alumni volunteers interested in becoming future chapter leaders.
  • Assist in hosting university or Alumni Association event(s) that occur in your area.
  • Assist in maintaining a Facebook page linked from The Alumni Association website that adheres to university guidelines.
  • Be represented by at least one member at The Alumni Association's annual Alumni Leaders Conference.
  • Designate one member to participate in monthly calls for the Alumni Groups Committee.
  • Submit nominations for the annual Alumni Awards program.
  • Observe timelines set forth by The Alumni Association for event planning and communication purposes.

The Alumni Association provides the following support to each chapter:

  • Event planning, registration and payment support;
  • Communications support, including design and distribution;
  • Financial support based on chapter location, size, event criteria and other determining factors;
  • Assistance in hosting university or Alumni Association event(s) that occur in your area;
  • The annual Alumni Leaders Conference and other learning tools.
  • Staff support, both remotely and occasionally on-site.
  • Creation and administration of chapter Facebook pages, and posting of general university updates.

Suggested Leadership Structure

The Alumni Association of CWRU provides the following recommendations for alumni to structure their local chapter. Chapters should have a leadership pool of at least three people to lead local members. This structure allows for successful leadership, event planning and chapter promotion.


The Alumni Association suggests the following roles:

  • President: The leader of the chapter, primary liaison to The Alumni Association staff and contact to the local alumni; within a year of their chapter leadership, the president should have a succession plan in place.
  • Events Coordinator: Primary local contact for the planning and execution of events.
  • Communications Coordinator: Spearheads promotions efforts in conjunction with The Alumni Association.

Leadership Tips for Strong Chapters

Strong local leadership is the key to a successful chapter. To ensure your leadership team is the best it can be, here are a few tools and tips you can use:

  • Balance your communications between in person, over the phone and electronic. Email is an effective communication tool, but it's not a replacement for the occasional in person meeting, which helps local leaders reaffirm their commitment to the group.
  • Encourage open dialogue about how involved each leader wants to be. No two alumni have the same amount of time to give, so make sure you're having open conversations as a leadership team about who has the time and interest to do what.
  • Constantly recruit new volunteers and leaders! Every event you host is an opportunity to talk about being a local leader and to offer new alumni a chance to get involved and make their chapter better.
  • Utilize resources at The Alumni Association. The staff is always available to discuss ways to increase engagement and participation.
  • Talk to other leaders. Every group has something it can learn from another chapter, so make the most of opportunities like the Alumni Leaders Conference and Alumni Groups Committee to network and learn from your fellow leaders.

Volunteer Recruitment Tools

Three to five alumni leaders are necessary for your group to flourish. No one can or should lead alone. While getting someone new to the area or who has just come to their first event to commit to being a volunteer can be challenging, here are a few suggestions to get new alumni involved in your chapter’s team:

  • Start by asking alum to help with a single project or event. Committing to being a chapter leader can sound daunting, but committing to helping with an event or Facebook page is a defined and manageable commitment. Once your new volunteer's project is complete, ask them to help with another. Be sure to thank them along the way!
  • Talk about why you enjoy being an alumni leader! If your conversations are only ever about the task at hand, it's easy to lose sight of the reasons why we volunteer. Share opportunities you've had to make new friends or experience your local area through events.
  • Discuss the importance of local volunteers to CWRU. Local volunteers provide networking opportunities to alumni and help drive CWRU forward.

Overview: Frequently Asked Questions


Where do I start?

  • We advocate hosting a brainstorming session to organize a pipeline of events 6 – 12 months in advance for your chapter or network. This proactive approach ensures events are spread throughout the year, have a programmatic mix, and cater to a variety of audiences.
  • Having an Alumni Association staff member present at these meetings is recommended. If this isn't possible, the results of these sessions should be shared shortly after for your contact to assist you in establishing an appropriate timelines to meet the expectations for each event.

How do I get an email list and who should be sending out event communication?

  • The Alumni Association will send three emails to promote each event, and will coordinate the send of each with respect to other campus email communications.  Physical mailings are reserved for special occasions and require additional lead-time to produce. The Alumni Association cannot legally share alumni information with chapter or network leaders. The Alumni Association reserves the right to ensure outgoing messages representing CWRU are brand compliant and follow university standards.

What questions should I ask when speaking with event coordinators from various venues?

  • It’s important to identify the following during initial conversations: available dates and times, address of venue, cost, venue contact information, venue capacity, availability/charge for parking, whether a contract is required and if there are any unique experiences we might be able to provide to our guests (e.g. behind the scenes guided tour).

What are some things that Alumni Association staff needs to handle, versus what I can take care of on my own?

  • The Alumni Association is here to help as much or as little as each chapter or network prefers. However, when it comes to financial obligations, such as payments or contracts, your Alumni Association contact must be involved, and will have final say over the contribution the university can provide. In addition, your Alumni Association contact will be calling your venues/caterers for a final check of all details to ensure all is set for a successful event.

What do I need to do before the event?

  • During planning, it’s critical to keep your Alumni Association contact informed of any progress and/or changes with regard to your event. During this phase, you’ll be communicating regularly to communicate expectations in order to ensure marketing is clear and expenses are acceptable.
  • The Alumni Association will ideally begin marketing 4 weeks prior to an event given all details have been finalized. Confirmation emails, reminder emails, and post-event emails can also each be customized if the chapter or group has specific needs. If there are specific details you’d like to include, it’s important to communicate these expectations well in advance. As a steward of the university brand, The Alumni Association is responsible to maintain final say over official communications.
  • Chapter and network leaders can help promote events via word of mouth and through Facebook pages to entice local alumni to join us.

What do I need to do during the event?

  • If an Alumni Association staff member is not traveling to your event, a box of materials will be sent to your chapter or group contact a few days in advance. Typically, this package contains nametags, a registration list and giveaways to use at the event.
  • Please allow plenty of time to set up and be prepared for early arrivals. Many arrive up to a half hour early for a gathering.
  • At the event, remember that you are serving as a CWRU ambassador. Take a few minutes to welcome everyone. Talk about volunteer opportunities, upcoming events and applicable university updates.
  • In the event that registration money needs collected for anyone that registers at the door, a check made payable to Case Western Reserve University or cash can be collected and sent to your Alumni Association contact for processing after the event.

What do I need to do after the event?

  • Post-event it is important for the chapter or group representative to return the list of attendees to The Alumni Association (scanning is sufficient) with attendees appropriately marked. In addition, it’s helpful if any individuals are noted that had not previously registered. In the event that registration money was collected, please send it directly to your Alumni Association contact for processing.
  • Additional giveaways and blank nametags can be saved for the next event.
  • The Alumni Association will send a feedback survey shortly after the event. If you’d like to review this information, please reach out to your Alumni Association contact.

What is our goal in hosting events?

  • Engaging alumni by providing networking opportunities, rekindling a connection to CWRU, encouraging chapter or volunteer involvement and creating meaningful, educational experiences.
  • Providing a diverse array of programs to encourage alumni with different interests to participate.
  • Supporting the long-term success and vision of your chapter by connecting with alumni and working to recruit future leaders.


Email + Mail Requests

Email Requests:


The Alumni Association cannot legally share alumni information. Alumni chapter and network leaders should request assistance with distribution of emails, newsletters and other electronic communications to their area or members. The Alumni Association reserves the right to ensure that outgoing messages representing the university are brand compliant and appropriately planned with respect to other campus email communications.


Mailing Requests: 

Physical mailers (e.g. postcards, letters) require at least 9-weeks lead-time in order to be fulfilled prior to an event. These should be reserved for special occasions, and expectations should be discussed with your Alumni Association staff contact.   


Chapter + Network Website Information

Each chapter and network of The Alumni Association is displayed on its own webpage within the alumni site ( These pages ideally list the history of the chapter/network, the current leadership’s contact information, and links to any social media presence. 

To update your chapter or network page, reach out to your Alumni Association contact. In addition, your chapter or network staff contact can assist you with having a presence in AlumNews or The Daily. Simply email your request and it will be discussed with the marketing team to meet your needs as best we can!


Use of the CWRU and Alumni Association Logos

Case Western Reserve University’s new logo, created in 2007, is a modern representation of the traditional sun seen in the historical crests of both Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology.


The university logo is the strongest link to our brand. That is why it is important to use only approved logos in all communications. Whenever an unapproved logo is used or an approved logo is changed or altered in any way, it dilutes our brand.




Because of the importance of this, The Alumni Association requests that chapters and networks request permission to use university logos and allow an Alumni Association staff member to ensure that the logo is being used in compliance with the university brand standards.


Chapter and network leaders may review the official CWRU visual guidelines here.


Chapter + Network Facebook Pages: Getting Started

Social media is a convenient tool allowing chapters and networks to keep their constituents connected and easily share chapter news, university news, event invites and more.


The Alumni Association advocates each chapter maintaining a Facebook page in partnership with their Alumni Association contact. We will start the page for you to ensure it meets our university standards and grant access if you are new to your chapter or network. We suggest at least one Alumni Association contact and one chapter or network representative is designated as “admin” on each page to ensure both sides of our partnership receive adequate visibility to page performance and roles.


Check out our pdf for suggested best practices in social media

Alumni Admission Ambassadors

Alumni Admission Ambassadors are alumni volunteers who directly impact Case Western Reserve University by assisting in the recruitment and retention efforts. Alumni Admission Ambassadors develop relationships with prospective students by sharing their Case Western Reserve experiences and highlighting the university's impact on their lives. They share the impact of Case Western Reserve University on them personally and professionally. In addition, they help to emphasize that Case Western Reserve has a broad national and international alumni network.

Activities include conducting interviews with prospective students, attending college fairs to represent the university, communicating with admitted students through email or telephone, and attending admission events such as information sessions or receptions. Alumni Admission Ambassadors find the experience to be fun, rewarding, and a valuable way to engage with the university. While alumni of the undergraduate program tend to be most effective in serving our prospective undergraduate students, we welcome alumni from any CWRU programs.

Volunteers must be CWRU alumni, parents, or faculty. CWRU undergraduate alumni are highly encouraged to participate in the program; however, we also welcome:

  • Alumni from other university programs who are especially familiar with the undergraduate programs
  • Parents of Case Western Reserve students
  • University faculty or former faculty
  • Be willing to serve as an ambassador of Case Western Reserve for prospective students and their parents with friendliness, enthusiasm, patience and respect. All prospective students should be treated equally, without regard to race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin or intended program of study.
  • Be proficient with email and the internet and use both frequently. The Alumni Admission Ambassador Portal is your tool for identifying interviewees and submitting interview reports. An active CWRU Network ID is required to log into the Alumni Admission Ambassador portal.

Interested? Please apply here!


For additional information, please contact Christine DeSalvo (CWR '96) at or 216.­368.­5450 .


Alumni Career Network

The Alumni Career Network is a unique resource made up of CWRU alumni who have volunteered to provide career-related information to current CWRU students and other alumni. The Career Center is pleased to provide this valuable networking resource to currently enrolled students as well as alumni who are graduates of degree programs offered by CWRU worldwide.


Learn more about the Alumni Career Network here.


CWRU [IN] and [IN]bassadors Program

CWRU [IN] is a movement toward a culture of involvement and support at Case Western Reserve. Being "in" means giving back to help move your university forward with a yearly gift—in any amount—to the Annual Fund. 

In addition to making a gift, an exciting way to get involved and support CWRU [IN] is volunteering as an [IN]bassador!

Check out the [IN]bassador webpage for details and view our current [IN]bassadors.

There are many ways to execute a successful event, but we have found that the best-attended and most compelling events have a few of the following:

  • Ample engagement opportunities
  • Unforgettable experiences
  • Unique venues
  • CWRU faculty speakers
  • Lifelong learning opportunities
  • Affordable fees
  • Comfort of group atmospheres

Need ideas? Connect with your Alumni Association contact to brainstorm.