St. Olaf College | News

Results are in from 2018 alumni engagement survey

In an effort to better understand which events, volunteer opportunities, and programing are most exciting for alumni, St. Olaf College fielded an alumni engagement survey to gather feedback on what’s working and what the college can improve.

The survey was fielded between August 7 and September 5, 2018, and more than 4,800 Oles responded.

Here’s what alumni shared:

  • They are interested in opportunities for alumni engagement beyond events.
  • They are interested in educational content and events with an emphasis on current political issues, literature, and advances in science and technology.
  • St. Olaf has strong and positive perceptions among alumni overall. Oles are willing to recommend the College, agree that St. Olaf prepared them well for life after college, and believe that St. Olaf is passionate about the long-term success of its students.
  • For Oles, being an alumnus/a is important, but it’s not the first thing they tell people about themselves. That said, they want opportunities to help current students and fellow alumni.
  • Oles do stay connected with St. Olaf, and the majority stay connected through the St. Olaf Magazine, word-of-mouth, or the new St. Olaf e-newsletter, Ole Notes. Leveraging digital and social channels will continue to grow in importance.

For those interested in taking a deeper dive our analysis, the college has put together a summary of the survey results.

Some next steps:

  • As suspected, the majority of alumni reported that they have not been able to make it to an in-person event during the last two years. While the Alumni and Parent Relations office (APR) will always host in-person events, the college is making a strategic choice to focus more resources on providing valuable, virtual content so that Oles can be part of St. Olaf when they want, whether they live in Minneapolis, New Orleans, or Oslo.
  • Next fall, the college will launch the first two Ole Professional Networks (OPNs). The networks will produce and share content around industry segments such as Marketing/Communications or Social Impact. Interested Oles will be able to participate in industry-specific “Lunch and Learn” webinars, listen to podcasts, read blogs, and occasionally gather for in-person networking.
  • The college will build on Reunion Weekend by adding a reunion for those who just graduated last year.
  • A third of respondents said they would be willing to volunteer for the college. Digging deeper, it appears most Oles are interested in discrete opportunities for a single engagement instead of volunteer opportunities over a longer period of time. The college will work closely with the Piper Center for Vocation and Career and other campus partners to identify more of these “just in time” volunteer roles.

“Thank you to all the Oles who took time to give us your feedback and ideas,” says Director of Engagement Brad Hoff. “We’re excited about the changes in St. Olaf Alumni and Parent Relations and look forward to building meaningful connections with you regardless of where you call home.”

If you have any questions about the survey or its results, please reach out Director of Engagement Brad Hoff at or (507) 786-3310.