Alumni office directors of different institutions gathered for the inaugural meeting of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development’s (STRIDE) Learning and Innovation Network (LIN) for alumni relations in Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building (Thomasian Alumni Center) last April 24, 2015.

Along with University of Santo Tomas Office of Alumni Relations (UST OAR), the representatives of the different universities and institutions were introduced to the network project. Challenges, strengths, weaknesses, and successes of alumni relations were discussed in the workshop-type meeting. Participants were grouped into areas/issues that they want to tackle. Each group came up with a plan to address the issue and presented it to the other groups.

In 2014, USAID proposed to the University through Asst. Prof. Fides Maria Lourdes F. Carlos, Director of OAR, the possibility of establishing the Learning and Innovation Network (LIN). LIN offered collaboration among the participants- exchange of information, knowledge and resources- to come up with solutions to issues surrounding alumni relations. It was in relation to STRIDE’s mission of enhancing institutional policy and management that this network was created.

USAID STRIDE held the first meeting in UST because of its huge and active alumni base and support. It can be remembered that the Thomasian Alumni Center was built through the generous donations of the Thomasian alumni. They are aware of OAR’s unwavering support not only in STRIDE initiated programs, but also to the projects of other related organizations.

STRIDE’s role in the network included guidance and financial support for obtaining materials that the networks may need to carry out their projects. STRIDE would also give the freedom to the LIN in handling and formulating solutions to the issues related to alumni relations.

For monitoring purposes, a dialogue between LIN in the Philippines and alumni-relations experts from STRIDE partner institutions may visit from time to time, depending on the availability and interest of the network.

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