"Just a few months ago, I was an international student at TU Delft. As I shook hands with my thesis committee and prepared to leave campus for the last time, the committee chairperson unceremoniously handed me an alumni handbook, and off I went."
I had not been convinced of my status in this elusive alumni club until I my editor told me about TU Delft’s dedicated alumni website, titled World of Alumni. Indeed, the world is represented on the main page in infographics that autonomously morph and take shape, lessening my doubt with each animation. At one moment, I learned that the largest alumni age group in Norway is 40-49 and that China has one of the highest proportions of female to male alumni represented on the site.
As my earlier suspicions lessened, my curiosity grew. Why hadn’t I heard of this site before? How could I get into contact with my fellow TU Delft alumni, of whom so many have seemed to be able to find a spot on this map? While I was tucked away at my faculty for the last two years, a veritable world of alumni had been networking via this site, also launched two years ago.
“We are not promoting the World Map that much to students or prospective students,” wrote Renske Vugts, TU Delft’s alumni manager, in a recent email to me. “That’s a pity. Alumni can help students with finding work and deciding what master [program] fits them.”
What differentiates World of Alumni from similar Facebook and LinkedIn groups is the abundant data that is packaged in a neat interface. You would find out more about someone on this site than by clicking on the ‘About Me’ section than on a Facebook page. To include yourself in the database, you can fill in a simple form that you can access by clicking on a link at the top of the main page.
Unfortunately, World of Alumni is not yet complete. The site will not be promoted until September 2013, when alumni will receive note of it in one of their six annual e-newsletters, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook, and current students will read about it on their faculty’s and career services websites. In the meantime, Vugt is working with Rijswijk-based developer TamTam on speeding up the process for updating the database. “This is still a time consuming process,” he says.