The past year has been unusual for Dordt’s Alumni and Signature Events Office. Typically, they host between 14 and 18 events a year around the country, but the Covid-19 pandemic put most in-person gatherings on hold. Still, Alicia Bowar (’05), associate director of alumni relation‑s, wanted to provide alumni with a way to reminisce about their Dordt experiences. So she, Alumni Council Member Maria Luttjeboer (’13), and Digital Content Strategist Jordan Harmelink (’16) helped alumni connect virtually through “More the Merrier Mondays” on Facebook.
“Alumni have great memories from living on campus, and most everyone can remember some prank that was pulled,” says Bowar. “Those connections span generations, which allows everyone to participate.”
With a goal of building community and reconnecting, “More the Merrier Mondays” asked alumni to share their favorite Dordt memories as well as their favorite pranks. They also gave away prizes, including hats, a blanket, mugs, and a scarf. Many alumni chimed in, offering 121 comments on memories and 62 comments about pranks.
Ross Van Der Bill (’08) recalled living with his roommates in East Campus F8. “We bought a quarter of a cow for the year, but we always put off eating the steaks until a ‘special occasion’ presented itself,” he says. “At the end of the year we realized we had nothing but steak left, and we ate like kings for a week.”
Maria Noteboom (’99) talked about her memories of “all things B2” in East Campus. “The green paper on the wall, Mario Kart, Supermarket Sweep, our neighbors across the hall, Dawson’s Creek, the list could go on and on! Fun times!”
Once, Cybrina Bajema (’18) watched a group of students outside East Campus change a tire that had a boot on it from Campus Security. “They put the donut on the car, loaded the booted tire into the trunk, and drove away,” she says.
“I appreciated the new stories we heard from alumni and the fact that they tagged their old roommates to bring them into the conversation as well,” says Bowar.
“More the Merrier Mondays” is only one of the ways the Alumni and Signature Events Office connected with alumni during the pandemic. From hosting virtual trivia nights to arranging small socially-distanced outdoor gatherings, they have learned that bigger isn’t always better.
“In the past, the Alumni and Signature Events team measured success by the number of people that came to our events,” says Bowar. “This past year, we’ve had to redefine what serving alumni looks like and have realized that smaller groups often allow for deeper connections. And through ‘More the Merrier Mondays,’ we enjoyed watching connections happen online and laughed together over shared memories and pranks.”