The Great DUSP MeetUp: Empowering Alumni-Student Action

The blog of the MIT Department of Urban Studies & Planning Alumni-Student Group

About Our Mission + Plan

Our Mission

The Great DUSP MeetUp is an effort to reconnect DUSP alumni with each other, and with DUSP. Once leaving the halls of Buildings 9, 7, 3, and 10, Duspers go on to do amazing things – some staying in Boston, many dispersing across the U.S., and others treading paths across the globe. And back ‘home’ at DUSP, current students have come from all over with an incredible and increasing array of experiences, connections, and interests. We believe a true DUSP community can come together to network, socialize, and connect, facilitating a virtual ‘meetup’ among DUSPers old and new.

In the 2008-2009 academic year, a working group of current students convened to improve career-development practices at DUSP. The working group was product of the fall Town Hall, and its members identified two shortfalls in communication: first, between DUSP and its alumni community (creating an obstacle to providing students with real career-development guidance), and second, between different generations of alums. The student working group built momentum in the spring semester and wondered how to reach out to alums for help.

At the same time, alums were concurrently taking action to reach out to DUSP and current students with the  launch of the March 2009 DUSP Community Survey. These alums identified the same communication shortfalls, and initiated the survey to investigate how members of the MIT DUSP community use online tools to network within and beyond DUSP, look for jobs, post jobs, stay in touch with other alums, etc.

This blog acknowledges that in April 2009, the DUSP community needs to be reconnected, and that alums and students should work together to meet their mutually shared goals. We formed an Alumni-Student Group to make sure that current students and all generations of alums could take part in the process (and we’d love for you to join us!). Our blog, The Great DUSP MeetUp, aims to document the progress of the Alumni-Student Group, and get feedback from you. This is a forum for ideas, announcements, and collaboration where all members of the DUSP community – including former and current students, faculty, and administrators – can view and contribute to our progress.

We have also begun to experiment with media tools we think might help facilitate our mission.  This blog is one example.  The LinkedIn group—started by Bomee Jung (MCP’07) in September 2007—is another, and it serves primarily as a networking resource.  We also have two presences on Facebook: the DUSP Alumni group—started by Farzana Mohamed (MCP’99) in Summer 2008—and the MIT DUSP Community page, which was started in April 2009.

Our Plan

We want to work with the department (including DUSP Student Council (DSC) and DUSP Career Services) to revitalize our community’s communication infrastructure, so that we can reconnect DUSP alumni and students with each other (and with DUSP). This means improving the flow of communication with the Department, with students, and among alumni of different class years. Once a sustainable ‘infrastructure’ is in place, we can shoot for the longer-term goals.

In order to meet our goal, we’ve begun to develop a plan comprised of short-, medium-, and long-term tasks:

Short-term tasks

  1. √  Create a public, universally-accessible interface so that folks know what we’re doing and can provide us with feedback.
    • On 4/2/09, we created The Great DUSP MeetUp with the aim to start connecting the dots between DUSP alumni, students, and the department and school.
  2. √  Meet with DSC and Mary Jane Daly to publicize our plan and get feedback.
  3. √  Publish a database of all the ad hoc, informal, and formal points in the DUSP network (websites, LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com, Regional Google/Yahoo Groups, department emails, alumni association, etc).
  4. Institute an engagement index, in the form of a once-a-year survey sent out to all of the DUSP community, to gauge the effectiveness of our and the department’s actions to improve communication and participation.
  5. Develop a plan for sustaining this action group.

Mid-term tasks

  1. Advocate for a public/private online network for organizing events, alumni/student interaction (currently undefined — think of it as a plan for “relationship infrastructure”) and liaising with DUSP.  The goal is to provide greater support for alumni relationship building/maintenance, career development, community promotion, and general communication, initiated by DUSP, alumni, and/or students.
  2. Revisit the Plaza issue.
  3. Other tasks TBD with student & alum input.

Long-term tasks

  1. Idea from current DUSP students and DSC: create a database relevant to the issue of alumni relations and career development.
  2. Other tasks TBD with student & alum input.
Other ideas, or have a comment? Please email any of us or leave a reply below!


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2 Responses

  1. Maria Elosua says:

    Great idea guys, I will read your mission carefully to see which way I can help, but feel free to let me know if I can help in any specific task.

    Maria

  2. […] Hi DUSPers, welcome back to fall!  After summer hiatus, the DUSP MeetUp team are eager to get back to work putting DUSPers around the globe in better contact with each other and with the Department.  Over […]

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