Our primary goal is to continuously develop the Alumni Network of Semmelweis University in order to strengthen the ties of current and former students to the university, said Dr. Tamás Hegedüs. Our main task is to find as many alumni as possible, to this end we have digitized our database, which was previously only available in paper form, and expanded it to nearly 30,000 people. Furthermore, in September we relaunched the newsletter for alumni, in which we inform them about the most important news and events related to the daily life of the university on a monthly basis – said the director, summarizing the results so far. Dr. Tamás Hegedüs, who was appointed on 1 August, also shared his insights on the main goals and plans.

The word “alumni” is of Latin origin, meaning old grads, but as the head of the Alumni Board, Dr. Tamás Hegedüs pointed out, it covers a much wider range of people – those professionally connected to the university. In addition to current students, Semmelweis Alumni can include Hungarian and foreign-language postgraduates, as well as all those who have studied at the institution for at least two years or spent at least one semester at the university due to an exchange programme. “The primary task of our Board is to foster the relationship between the alumni, to strengthen the ties of current and former students to the university”, said Dr. Tamás Hegedüs, adding that they would like to serve this goal with their services, events and communication platforms as well.

Our work aims to follow the careers of graduates: we operate a graduate career tracking system, provide counselling, organize class reunions, keep in touch with labour market representatives, provide information on scholarships, applications and further training opportunities, and also organize fundraising for Semmelweis University, he listed their wide range of tasks. The alumni membership gives former students and citizens of the university an insight into the present-day life of the institution, the teaching and scientific work carried out there, he pointed out.

Dr. Tamás Hegedüs emphasized that maintaining contact with graduates is becoming increasingly important in the activities of all modern higher education institutions. In Hungary, too, universities are striving to maintain the ties of their graduates to their alma mater in order to expand their social contacts more and more so.

“As a director, I consider it a priority to reach out to as many alumni as possible, so we have digitized our database, which was previously paper-based, and expanded it to nearly 30,000 people,” he said. The English database currently has 4,500 alumni, the German 2,000, and the new director plans to expand these further. Their main objective is to reach and address as many alumni as possible, through various target campaigns and a closer cooperation with international student organisations.

“I think it is essential to maintain an active contact with the alumni, therefore in September we relaunched a newsletter especially for them, in which we provide updates on a monthly basis about the most important news and events related to the everyday life of the university,” he explained. In addition to that, we organise a number of events for the alumni, most recently a charity wine tasting, where they could taste the best wines of the Semmelweis University 250 National Wine Competition. The event was also an opportunity to make a donation to the Semmelweis University Foundation, which will use the proceeds to improve student spaces at the university,” he recalled. He stressed that with the model change, it is also their job to encourage alternative resource-generating activities that can be used to reach certain targets important for Semmelweis Citizens and the general public, and fundraising is an ideal way to do this. „Therefore, in the future, we would like to create regular opportunities for university citizens and alumni to support current priority projects and developments, in the form of similar charity events,” he said. Among his plans, he also mentioned the launch of a website for the alumni community, which would allow for a transparent, simple and streamlined donation system, where various target campaigns could be supported. In relation to this, a social media platform would be created as well, which could be downloaded via a phone app.

According to his report, they also intend to relaunch the Resident Salon, an event aimed at medical, dental and pharmacy students. It would be organised on a monthly basis, and an alumni sports day is planned as well, for the spring.

We have received a lot of positive feedback. Apparently, there is a need for orientation and social contact.

– he said.

The director emphasized that the alumni network has an important role in the operation of universities, not only in terms of reputation, but also in terms of fundraising, human resources and research collaborations. “We would like alumni community members to feel that they are important to the university, and whenever they need help, they can turn to the Alumni Board,” he added.

Bernadett Bódi
Translation: Viktória Kiss
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University