virtual events

How To Plan A Virtual College Class Reunion Event Alumni Will Love [via Frameable]

This post originally appeared on the Frameable blog.

Thanks to the rise in virtual events, college reunions can reconnect countless more passionate alumni and faculty from across the globe. 

Understandably, it may sound tricky to adapt a college reunion for a virtual environment. We’re here to help. Whether you’re planning an all-virtual college reunion or a hybrid mix with in-person and online elements, here’s what to include in your event plans and ideas for making the most of hosting it through a virtual platform.

Use Alumni Surveys To Design Your Best Virtual Class Reunion

Lead your event design by addressing alumni needs and hopes for the event. Your reunion setup will, in part, depend on what anniversary you are celebrating. Generally, a 25th reunion marks a significant shift because attendees are ready to re-explore memories and discuss different topics than current work and life successes.

The most effective way to understand what your alumni want is to directly ask them through a mix of surveys, small group conversations, or 1:1 chats starting as far as seven months before your anticipated reunion date.

Some core questions to ask include:

  • Are you interested in an in-person, hybrid, or all-virtual reunion? [rank your options]
  • What do you hope to gain by attending the reunion?
  • Do you have any specific requests for the event?
  • What is the ideal length of a reunion for you?
    • Half-day
    • Full day
    • Two days
    • Three days
  • Which of the following activity types are you most interested in during a virtual reunion?:
    • Speeches and presentations from staff or faculty
    • Lectures and presentations from alumni
    • Casual open-room networking
    • Coordinated group activities through video
  • Are you interested in helping support the reunion in any of the following ways?
    • I would like to be on the reunion planning committee
    • I would like to speak at the reunion
    • I would like to help during the reunion 
    • I would like to donate items or goods for use during the reunion

Use multiple-choice questions to understand your group’s general needs. Open response options will provide more thorough insight but take longer to review.

What Is the Best Virtual Reunion Platform?

With your survey responses analyzed, it’s time to find a platform that can meet these expectations.

There are a lot of virtual events platforms, but many are built with bare-minimum functions or restrictions that treat you like a child. These platforms will be difficult to tailor for your reunion, and your attendees may skip the event altogether if the interface is too confusing or lackluster. 

At a minimum, consider these five essential areas for your virtual reunion platform:

  • Cost based on attendees and time limit: Ask how much the platform costs based on your anticipated attendee count and the necessary elements—breakout rooms, mainstage speaker, during-event announcements—you need for a complete experience.
  • Networking capabilities: How can attendees connect with each other? What level of customization is available for attendee networking rooms?
  • Support for live-streamed or pre-recorded video: What type of content does the platform support?
  • Live support: Does the vendor provide technical support in case something goes wrong during your event?
  • Security: There is always a risk that an alumnus may attend your event with an ulterior motive, or your reunion could be the target of Zoom bombing. Review any security features of each vendor and assess what level of risk your team is comfortable with. 

These are just the top-level questions to ask. We’ve created this 13-question checklist to help you find an ideal virtual college reunion platform. 

Virtual College Reunion Example Schedule and Activities

With a platform and date set, you can now create your event agenda

Start with the essentials. What are the major, must-have elements during your reunion? Generally, college reunions involve these activities:

  • Speeches or panel discussions from college leadership, including the president, vice president, dean, or class leadership. 
  • Remarks from current students. 
  • Alumni-spotlight conversations. These can be a panel conversation, “fireside chat,” or 1:1 or small group presentations for alumni.
  • Interest-based activities or group discussions. 
  • Remembrance ceremony. 

With your core items in place, blend in these other fun reunion activities that work incredibly well for a virtual college reunion:

  • Fun Run
  • Campus tour
  • Small group breakout rooms
  • Happy hour or wine and paint

It’s a New Age of College Reunions

This blog post provides just a glimpse at what you can accomplish during a virtual college reunion. Survey your alumni and create a schedule that is hyper-focused on their needs. You’re then more likely to host a successful event that rebuilds connections and helps your university continue to prosper.

You will likely find that your event technology is the biggest hurdle in your planning process. It’s critical to find an option that will allow you to build the experience you need, plus the benefits of security and an intuitive interface.

We’ve built Socialhour to help accelerate your event design and allow you to focus on what really matters—rekindling relationships that will last a lifetime. Contact us for a virtual reunion consultation: 

virtual networking

What Is A Virtual Networking Event?

The virtual world is becoming more and more an essential part of everyone’s daily lives. In fact, as much as 93% of adult Americans use the internet to help them in different ways. Hence, it is no wonder that many aspects of our lives are being transformed to adapt to the new environment.

Socialization has always been an exclusively face-to-face activity. However, the emergence of easy-to-use online meeting programs has led to the digitalization of this once personal activity. The best example of this shift is the growing popularity of virtual networking events.

Like physical networking events, virtual networking events are meetings organized between individuals who share similar needs, goals, or ideas. The purpose of it is to help people connect with others that can help them achieve their objectives. For entrepreneurs, it is a great way to find potential clients or suppliers.

Virtual Networking Events Versus Physical Networking Events

You may wonder, “Why would anyone wish to connect through online means when physical networking events have always worked?” To answer this question, we must first identify the differences between a virtual networking event and a physical networking event.

Advantages Of Virtual Networking Events

Virtual networking events are relatively new concepts in the business of building connections. Professionals attending virtual networking events might not even be sure what they are supposed to do at these eventsNevertheless, it has some advantages over conducting a physical networking event, such as:

  • Lest costly to implement: With virtual networking events, the only venues you need are the virtual rooms provided by online meeting programs. This means that organizers can cut costs related to renting and other expenses such as food and maintenance.
  • Requires less planning: As no physical venue is needed, organizers do not need to plan for scenarios that may arise had the meeting been physical in nature. It’s easier for those attending to plan what to wear.
  • More accessible to more people: Attending virtual networking events does not require you to travel to a physical venue. This feature means that you can attend any virtual networking around the world as long as you have internet. Virtual networking events require less preparation for attendees.

Disadvantages Of Virtual Networking Events

The fresh concept of virtual networking is also why it is still a long way from being perfect. Here are some issues that you may face with an online networking event:

  • Internet reliability can be an issue: One of the most critical requirements for joining any virtual activity is having internet access. Unfortunately, this means that a slow or unreliable internet may prevent you from enjoying or even completely joining your virtual networking. 
  • Can be harder to communicate: It is normal for any online-based communication to have some delays. This problem is especially true where video calls are necessary. Thus, you may sometimes find yourself reacting late to other people’s messages. It is also sometimes harder to communicate complicated ideas through online calls. Follow up after the event can also be more difficult due to the fact that it’s more difficult to form a quick relationship in this setting.
  • Fewer people can participate: Inviting too many people will make communication harder and harder. More participants increase the risk of delays in the transmission of messages and the risk of people accidentally interrupting others. For this reason, virtual networking events are often limited to small groups of people.

Advantages Of Physical Networking Events

Physical networking events have been around for a very long time. Thus, there are many guides that have been polished over time on how to organize one successfully. However, here are some reasons why you may still opt for a physical networking event over a virtual one:

  • Communication between participants is easier: Talking face-to-face means there is no delay in the transmission of messages between participants. It is also easier to explain complex ideas to people right in front of you.
  • More people can join at a time: The only limit to the number of people who can join a physical networking event is the size of the venue. As long as the organizers are willing, they can accept as many participants as they wish.
  • Connections: No risk of people getting disconnected

Disadvantages Of Physical Networking Events

Nevertheless, physical networking events still do come short in some aspects. Here are some reasons why you may choose virtual networking events over physical ones: 

  • More regulated than virtual networking events: Some localities require organizers to accomplish some requirements for large-group networking events. Furthermore, physical networking events can sometimes be prohibited during certain scenarios, such as during a pandemic.
  • More costly for the participants and organizers: A physical networking event requires organizers to secure a venue large enough to accommodate the participants. In some cases, the organizers may also need to provide food and other amenities to the partakers. Attendees will need to bring more to physical networking events as well.
  • Harder to organize and implement: With physical networking events, there are more ways for things to go wrong. For example, your chosen venue may be unavailable, or people fail to attend on the date itself. 

Each type of networking event has pros and cons. Whichever type you may choose, remember to plan every step of the way. This way, you can make sure that everything will turn out smoothly.

virtual networking

What Should You Do At A Virtual Networking Event?

Virtual networking events are a new, but growing, concept in the social and entrepreneurial world. So, it is understandable that plenty of people are still confused about how to attend them properly. Moreover, the lack of online and offline guides makes it difficult for newbies to know what to do during such events.

To help you out, here are the things you need to do before, during, and after a virtual networking event.

Things To Do Before Your Virtual Networking Event

Before joining a virtual networking event, you first need to get ready for it. Otherwise, your participation will likely be unproductive and a waste of time. Here are the top things you need to do before attending an online networking event.

Research About The Meeting’s Purpose

Most, if not all, virtual networking events have a specific purpose why people organized them. For example, people can organize them to connect those from similar business niches, people with similar ideas, or people from the same background. Whatever the purpose is, make sure to research about it thoroughly beforehand.

Doing so will make you more confident with the ideas that you may share during the meeting. It will also communicate to other participants that you are serious about the event. Research will also help you know what to bring to the virtual networking event.

Research About The People

Many networking events allow participants to access the name of others. If so, do a quick research on the identity and background of the people that you will be meeting. Having a little bit of knowledge about other participants will give you an idea of how you can best approach them and what type of attire you should wear.

It will also give you topics to ask them about when your conversation is starting to get boring. Lastly, doing so will help you identify which people you should spend most of your time with.

Prepare Your Talking Points

Your talking points are the ideas you wish to share with your co-participants in the virtual networking event. Therefore, it is best to prepare some of your talking points before the actual meeting.

This is so that you are always ready to share when it is your turn to speak. Researching your talking points will also help you identify other things you may want to share or ask about when the time comes.

Things To Do During Your Virtual Networking Event

Congratulations, you have successfully joined a virtual networking event. Now, you need to ensure that nothing wrong happens during the whole time. Make sure to keep these in mind during the entire duration of the event.

Share Your Ideas

The most crucial thing you need to do during the online networking event is to socialize with the other participants. The best way you can do this is to share your ideas. By doing so, you will encourage other participants to speak to you and give their inputs or suggestions.

Give Others A Chance To Speak Listen Attentively

Equally crucial to speaking is listening. By listening attentively to others, they will get a sense that you appreciate their presence. This will encourage them to speak with you more and build a stronger connection with you.

Organize Your Thoughts

Lags during online meetings are one of the most frustrating things about them. This problem is exacerbated when the participants have trouble organizing their thoughts. If an idea suddenly pops into your head, make sure to organize them with your other ideas first. Doing so will help you, and other participants avoid jumping back and forth between topics.

Take Down Important Information

While attending a virtual networking event, make sure to have a pen and paper beside you. If not possible, use your computer’s notepad application to take notes of key information. This information should include other’s ideas, meaningful information about other participants, and contact information of others.

Things To Do After Your Virtual Networking Event

Ensuring the success of your virtual networking event does not stop once you have disconnected from the online call. You need to follow up and follow through with others. Not only will it cement the good outcomes of the event, but you will also ensure that future events are also a success.

Give Honest Feedback To The Organizer

Most people who join virtual networking events think twice about giving feedback to the organizers. Most of them are afraid to unintentionally hurt the latter’s feelings, leading to them being banned from future events.

However, the contrary is true. Organizers often crave feedback, both positive and negative, from their participants. Assessments given by participants help organizers improve their processes and plan for better future events. In addition, it makes it easier for them to identify parts of their event that went less than they intended.

Reflect On The Outcome Of The Meeting

After giving feedback to the organizers, make sure to do the same for yourself. Reflect on how you performed and what you were able to achieve after the event. Some of the questions that you may ask yourself are:

  • Were you able to share all your thoughts?
  • Were you able to connect with other people?
  • Were you able to collect contact information from the others?
  • How can you improve your socialization skills for future virtual networking events?

Follow-Through On Your Promises

Suppose you promised other partakers that you will contact or collaborate with them in the future, make sure to follow through. There are a few things more frustrating than hoping for a promise that will never come. Not only will you risk getting banned from future events, but you also risk damaging your reputation in the outside world.

Congratulations! You now know what to do before, during, and after you join a virtual networking event. As a result, you should feel more confident when joining them and increase your chances of reaching your goals.

virtual networking

What To Bring To A Virtual Networking Event

The internet has made it possible for billions of people to connect with just a click. It also made it easier to build relationships with other groups or individuals with the same goals or personalities. Virtual Networking Event platforms have taken the stage among professionals who wish to find people they can relate with.

What Is Virtual Networking Event?

Virtual networking events, like physical networking events, are social gatherings that connect people with like minds. The main difference between the two is that one is done face-to-face, while the other is through the internet. In addition, people often meet with each other through video calls.

A central person or group often organizes a networking event. These events usually have a specific purpose or theme that all participants must follow.

The following are the characteristics of virtual networking events:

  • Less costly to implement
  • Requires less planning
  • More accessible to more people
  • Internet reliability can be an issue
  • Can be harder to communicate
  • Fewer people can participate

The following are the characteristics of physical networking events:

  • Communication between participants is easier
  • More people can join at a time
  • No risk of people getting disconnected
  • More regulated than virtual networking events
  • More costly for the participants and organizers
  • Harder to organize and implement

Now that you are familiar with virtual networking events, let us talk about how you can prepare for them.

Things You Need To Have During A Virtual Networking Event

As virtual networking events are set in cyberspace, there are fewer physical things you need to bring with you when attending them. However, this does not mean that you can slack off and forget about non-physical things. Here are the things you need to bring with you when attending a virtual networking event.

Bring Your Best Self

Before clicking the join button on your event, make sure to prepare yourself mentally and physically. You need to bring your best self to the event if you want others to talk with you. The moment people realize that you are dozing off or are lost in the conversation, they may likewise lose interest in you.

Some things you can do to be in your best before the event include:

  • Have a complete sleep the night before: Having a complete eight-hour sleep before your networking event will make your brain work better. You will be able to answer questions and contribute to your conversations.
  • Eat and drink an hour before the event: Having food inside your stomach and being hydrated will help you think better. However, make sure to do this about an hour before the event to minimize your bathroom breaks.
  • Do some vocal warm-ups: Perform some tongue twisters to make yourself speak more comfortably. Practicing your greetings can also help prevent stuttering or mumbling.
  • Clean yourself up: Being clean will help you feel more confident talking with others. Although other participants will not smell you, taking a bath will improve your psyche. And don’t forget to wear clothes appropriate for the event!

Fresh Ideas About The Topic

One of the biggest mistakes of some people when attending virtual networking events is not preparing their talking points. Unfortunately, many misbelieve that networking events are purely impromptu.

Being unprepared may result in you being excluded in some parts of the conversation. People may also interpret you as not having anything to contribute to the table. Some great ideas or questions you can ask other participants are:

  • Interesting facts about your own business/practice/job
  • Interesting facts about your location
  • How your field/industry relates to theirs
  • “What field/industry are you in?”
  • “How can I help you with your business/practice/job?”
  • “How did you learn about the networking event?”
  • “How can I connect with you in the future?”

Bring Pen And Paper

You need to take down as much key information as possible during the networking event. The “pen and paper” method is a tried and tested way of doing this.

However, in the slight chance that getting this two is impossible, using a text application on your laptop is good enough. The only downside to this is that you will need to switch between your video calling application and text application occasionally. Hence, there is a risk of you missing some things mentioned or shown while you are typing.  

Virtual Business Cards

Sending virtual business cards is a great way to provide your contact information to others. Like traditional ones, virtual business cards contain:

  • Your name;
  • Contact information (mobile number, email, address, etc.); and
  • Possibly your profession or position.

However, with virtual business cards, you can also include other elements such as your image, your portfolio, and a little background about yourself. Lastly, there are plenty of free virtual business card generators online. Some of which allow you to send your card with just a simple link. Virtual business cards will help those you meet follow up after the networking event.

Your Work Portfolio

If the purpose of your virtual networking event is for you to gain professional relationships, having your portfolio is essential. Your portfolio can include previous projects, exhibits of your skills, services, products, and more.

There are plenty of virtual portfolio platforms on the internet that you can use to create one. You can also create a simple portfolio that you can present online using Microsoft PowerPoint or other similar applications.

virtual networking

How To Follow Up After A Virtual Networking Event

So, you have finally had your first virtual networking event. If things went as smoothly as they should have, then you must have the contact details of some of the participants. If so, then following up with them should be your next step. But how exactly do you follow up after hosting a virtual networking event?

Step-By-Step Guide On Following Up With Other Participants

Getting the contact details of another participant after the virtual networking event is just one step towards building a relationship. It is essential to show them that they are valuable to you and you are to them. The best way for you to do this is through a follow-up.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can follow up with a fellow participant:

Plan Your Follow Up

Before the actual follow-up, you need first to plan your actions. You need to consider things such as your timing, location, and objectives. To prepare your follow-up, list the things you plan to achieve by reconnecting with your fellow participant. Try to answer these questions:

  • Were promises exchanged between you two?
  • If there were promises between you two, do you plan on asserting them?
  • How can you help the other person?
  • What do you plan to get out of following up with them?

Try to remember and list down important personal and professional information about them. The last thing you would want is to make the other person feel like you are mistaking them for another participant. By doing this, you will also be able to address the other person correctly.

Send Them A Pre-Follow Up Letter

Calling a fellow participant out of nowhere can damage your relationship. You never know when the other person is busy or unavailable for a call. So, the best way to avoid this is to send a follow-up letter first.

A follow-up letter can be an email or text message. It can be in any form as long as it will not interfere with your recipient if they are doing something urgent. Your letter should include the following:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Any information to help them remember you (i.e., notable events between you two during the virtual networking event or previous conversations)
  • The name of the person with the proper address (i.e., Doctor, Attorney, etc.)
  • Ask them when they are available for a follow-up call.
  • Ask them for the best way to contact them. (i.e., video call, phone call, etc.)

The best time to send your follow-up letter is at most 24 hours after the event. The reason for this is so that you are still fresh in their memories when they read your letter.

Reach Out To Your Contact

Now that you have scheduled a call with the other participant, it is time for you to call them. Before contacting them, make sure to prepare yourself. Refresh your memory on key information about the other person. Keep a list beside you of crucial things you want to discuss with them.

Introduce Yourself

During the call, make sure to introduce yourself first. Provide the other person with the same name that you gave them during the previous virtual networking event. By doing this, it will be easier for them to recall your name in the future.

Follow-up calls no longer have to be as formal as your previous virtual networking event. So, keep your introduction short and simple. A lengthy introduction may immediately bore the person you are talking to. Hence, they will no longer have the energy to focus on the more essential things you plan to discuss.

Remind Them Of Your Previous Engagement

Like your follow-up letter, try to bring up something from the online networking event you both attended. Doing so will make it easier for you to get the conversation rolling. It will also remind you both of why you connected in the first place. Even better, the other person may remember any help they may have promised to give you.

Offer To Help Your Contact

Connections made through networking events are always a give-and-take type of relationship. Never will it be about just one person asking for help from another. Hence, it is a crucial step for you to proactively ask the other participant if there is any way you can help them with their business, job or other parts of their life.

Ask For Help If Needed

Do not feel shy about asking for help. By connecting with you, the other person will expect some benefit from you. So, it is normal for them also to expect you to ask for their help. Make sure to state how they can help you clearly. Avoid beating around the bush and directly explain your need.

Exchange Social Media Or Networking Accounts

If you could not get their social media handles or online networking accounts in the past, now is your chance. If you plan on having a professional relationship with them, then your LinkedIn account will be the best account to give. Otherwise, your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts can be good alternatives.

Try To Set A Future Meeting

If things go well, try to set a future call with them. A face-to-face meeting is best if it is possible. You can also invite them to have a group call with other participants to make your connections wider. However, make sure to consider their schedule as you did before. If needed, you might look into online networking software.

Thank Them For Their Time

Their time, like yours, is important. Hence, make sure to show your appreciation by giving them a simple thank you. You can also repeat this by sending another short message after the call.

virtual networking

How Should You Prepare For A Virtual Networking Event?

Virtual networking events can go both ways. Either you connect with people and have a long-lasting relationship with them, or it can go so bad that they will avoid you like the plague in the future. How your networking event will end up depends greatly on one thing, your planning.

Understand The Purpose Of The Event

To plan for a networking event, especially a virtual one, you must first understand why you are attending them. You need to internalize the purpose and goals of the event. The purpose of most, if not all, networking events are to build relationships. However, you need to look deeper than that.

Some questions you need to ask are:

  • “Why was the event organized?”
  • “Who are the participants?”
  • “What fields or industries are the participants from?”

You then need to ask yourself, “What is your ultimate goal in joining this event?” By understanding these things, you will be able to prepare for the event properly.

Learn About The Participants

Learning about the people you will meet will prepare you for how you can approach them. For example, you can use a participant’s interests or business to start a conversation with them. By learning about the person, you can also prepare your talking points specifically for him or her.

Furthermore, you can avoid awkward conversations by avoiding things that you know are not interesting to them. Most virtual networking event organizers share the list of participants beforehand. If not, you can ask them for it.

Prepare Interesting Questions Or Topics

Awkward silences are worse than gibberish. Some people may interpret them as not being compatible with others. By having some questions or topics prepared, you can prevent this uneasy scenario from happening. More importantly, you will not forget to ask things you are interested in.

Here are some suggested topics or questions you can ask other participants:

  • “What field/industry are you in?”
  • “How can I help you with your business/practice/job?”
  • “How did you learn about the networking event?”
  • “How can I connect with you in the future?”
  • Interesting trivia about your own business/practice/job
  • Interesting facts about your location
  • How your field/industry relates to theirs

Find Suitable Clothes For The Networking Event

Yes, you heard that right. Your outfit is still essential when joining virtual networking events. Besides avoiding embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, your outfit conveys a message to other participants. It tells them how serious you are about the event and what your intentions are.

It can also affect how other people will approach or talk with you. Formal clothing will tell people to talk more seriously and be more reserved with you. Very casual clothing, on the other hand, will make people more easy-going around you. However, they may not take you seriously and think that you are not worth their time.

Prepare An Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a short message you give people about you or an important topic you wish to share. It is usually three to five minutes long only. Its purpose is to quickly convey key aspects of your topic before the person you are talking to gets bored.

To prepare for an elevator speech, write down your speech with all the information you want to talk about. Write it as shortly as you can. Afterward, set and start a stopwatch. While the stopwatch is going, loudly read your speech the way you usually speak to other people.

After you finish reading your speech, stop the timer. If it is longer than your target time, revise the speech by first simplifying your sentences. Then, one by one, remove some of the topics. Start from the ones you believe to be least significant. Repeat the process above until your speech is around three to five minutes long.

Update Your Social Media And Networking Accounts

After networking, or sometimes even the event, people often check the social media or networking accounts of people they connected with. If your Facebook or Instagram is public, then there is a big chance that they will find it. This is also important to do before following up after the networking event.

So, before going to your networking event, hide posts that you think may work against your favor. Posts such as you ranting about the business of other participants are best kept to yourself. However, you should avoid overdoing this to the point that you become unauthentic.

For professionals, LinkedIn is a popular way to share their professional background. It can also act as an online curriculum vitae. So, it is always best that you update it with your latest projects, job positions, employers, and more.

Check Your Gadget, Internet, And Electricity

Last but not least, check your internet, computer, and electricity a few days before the event. Check with your local internet and electricity provider if there are any scheduled interruptions on the day of the event. Make sure that your internet can also handle video calls without lagging.

Try video calling another person for at least thirty minutes. Check if your video call keeps getting dropped or sounds or images are always delayed. If so, you should get a faster connection as soon as possible. The last thing that you want is irritating other people with you always leaving the call.

Are you ready to learn how to host your own virtual networking event? Social Hour can help.

virtual events

How To Create An Exciting Virtual College Reunion Schedule of Events

If you’re planning a virtual college class reunion, it’s common to face a few initial questions: 

  • How can you adapt an in-person class reunion for an online audience? 
  • What does a typical virtual college reunion agenda look like? 
  • What activities take place during an online class reunion?

Drawing from examples from leading universities with the most robust alumni networks in the U.S., we’ve gathered the essential virtual college reunion activities and additional fun ideas to help you create a complete experience that will truly impress your alumni. 

Essential Elements of a Virtual College Reunion Agenda

Your virtual college reunion schedule should include a variety of activities throughout the day and into the night to appeal to the range of alumni reunion goals and expectations. 

Some alumni will want a family-friendly experience and the opportunity to show their children or loved ones their alma mater. Others will want high-energy, adult-oriented activities focused on reliving the excitement of college, and reconnecting with the people who made those years special. 

The best way to understand your alumni expectations and maximize your potential attendee satisfaction is to survey them ahead of the reunion to understand what sort of activities they are or are not interested in. We share a few essential pre-reunion survey questions in this overview of planning a virtual reunion.

Generally, though, there are a few core elements of college reunions that your planning committee should at least consider adding to your reunion agenda during the mornings and afternoons:

  • Welcome Address: Start your virtual class reunion with a welcome address from a member of your planning committee or a notable member of your university leadership. This is an opportunity to greet attendees, explain what they can expect during your reunion, and ultimately set the tone for the rest of the event.
  • Alumni Spotlight Conversations: Feature notable alumni or group alumni based on current role or industry to discuss their work and their views on how their world of work is changing. This can help your attendees connect with other alumni who now work in similar fields, offering invaluable professional networking opportunities. 
  • College Leadership and Faculty Remarks: Host speeches, panel discussions, or informal fireside chats with key leadership members from the university, including the president, vice president, dean, or your student body leaders. These can involve inspirational or thought-provoking discussions (in the style of a TED Talk), an examination of current world events or trends, or a speech that celebrates the class and its accomplishments. 
  • Current Student Remarks: Spotlight current students and their stories to help alumni understand how the university is creating opportunities for its students to thrive, and how they can help those efforts. 
  • Identity and Faith-Based Discussions: Provide open networking spaces or coordinate a discussion of topics related to gender, race, identity, or religion (as appropriate).
  • Remembrance Ceremony: Honor the deceased members of your collegiate community with a special program. Consider including a photo slideshow and offer dedicated rooms for alumni to openly grieve those that they have lost. 

To better understand how you can approach each of these agenda elements, check out these virtual class reunion agendas from Cornell, Smith College, and Amherst College.

8 Virtual College Class Reunion Activity Ideas

The above essential elements of a college reunion are just one piece of your schedule. You will also want to layer in fun activities and networking areas that allow your alumni to freely connect with one another throughout the event.

Include these fun college class reunion activities to keep the energy high during your event and break away from more structured talks:

  • Breakout/Open Networking Rooms: Your alumni are excited to reconnect, and a virtual environment is ideal for enabling guests to hop in and out of rooms at their leisure. Select a virtual event platform that allows you to create small group breakout rooms, ideally with a thought-starter prompt. These can include questions like “What Restaurants Do You Miss” or “Favorite College Memory,” or instead use categories like “Sports Fans,” “Greek Life,” “Now Based In [State or Region],” or “[Dorm or Residence Hall].”
  • Campus Tour: What is new on campus? What little-known facts can you share? Pre-record a campus and community tour, or take attendees on a live tour of select locations. This campus tour video from D’Youville or this from Williston Northampton shows how you can approach your tour.
  • Fun Run: Encourage alumni to complete a fun run and submit their time with the alumni association. You can learn more about how to plan a virtual fun run in this walkthrough
  • Game or Trivia Night: Host a variety of online card or board games, or coordinate a trivia night that focuses on the history of your college or fun facts about your graduating year. 
  • Happy Hour Or Wine and Paint: Offer an open happy hour networking time, or add structure by turning it into a “wine and paint” or similar activity. To elevate the experience further, mail your attendees cocktail mixes to try, or a themed paint kit. 
  • Recipe Sharing: Appeal to the bakers and foodies in your alumni network by hosting a recipe sharing or how-to cooking or baking session. Mail supplies or grocery lists to alumni ahead of time so that they can follow along from home. 
  • Talent Performance: Let your class performers take the stage to sing, perform an instrument, or showcase some other talent that they have. These performances can be recorded ahead of time and streamed so that attendees can all watch and engage with each other. 
  • Yoga or Group Exercise: Allow your attendees to take a moment to unwind and recenter themselves in a yoga or similar group exercise class.

Remember to not pack your agenda too full to allow attendees to take part in one or more of these activities. Your reunion guests need ample time to network with each other and gain the full value that they can from your agenda. If you offer too many exciting activities, or don’t have time in the schedule set aside for these opportunities, your alumni will need to make tough choices on what main events to attend, and that could detract from their experience.

How To Delight Your College Online Reunion Attendees

With the core agenda elements set for your class reunion, your planning committee can now focus on the finishing touches that will turn a perfectly acceptable reunion into a truly outstanding experience.

Pre-reunion Engagement Opportunities

Ahead of the event, create branded hashtags to help alumni keep up with the latest information and join conversations about your reunion. Mail your attendees swag bags and other goodies to get them excited for the reunion. These can include class apparel or useful items like USB drives, as well as any items they’ll need for your reunion activities. And create virtual backgrounds for attendees to use during the event, like these alumni background examples from Stanford University or these from Williston Northampton School

Keep the Momentum Going During the Event

During the event, include a playlist that features popular songs from your college years. Or, live stream a band or similar musician that performs covers of those songs. Further this trip down memory lane with a photo slideshow or video montage in an easy self-service area for alumni to revisit memories at their leisure. 

After the Event

Once your event is over, there are a few final ways to provide value to your attendees. First, share a copy of your virtual photo album, campus tour, or other assets that your alumni may want to revisit. Ensure that they are aware of any social media community groups that they can join to continue engaging with one another after the reunion.

Finally, ensure that you conduct a post-event survey that can help inform future class reunions. Ask about each attendee’s overall satisfaction with the event, their favorite sessions or activities, and any ways that the experience can be improved.

Make Your Online College Reunion an Event to Remember

By hosting a mix of essential in-person college reunion activities and fun, online-friendly activities and networking venues, your alumni are more likely to have a fulfilling reunion experience.

Are you looking for a virtual event platform that can provide your attendees with a number of large and small group activity options? Learn more about how Social hour has hosted alumni events for some of the nation’s top universities.