Steve Edge, Chair of the Alumni Network Group

The Alumni Network Group (ANG)

The University of Exeter has a range of networks and groups designed to support Exeter alumni in a variety of different ways. Sometimes working behind the scenes providing the ‘alumni voice’ to University boards, sometimes organising professional networking and careers support activity, and sometimes arranging informal, social events to help the alumni community connect with one another.

Over the next few months we’ll showcase some of the groups, sharing what they do for the community and, where relevant, how you can get involved.

Number 1 – The ANG

The Alumni Network Group Committee (otherwise known as ANG) was formed in 2008 and is chaired by Stephen Edge, Hon LLD (Law, 1972; Hon LLD, 2012), Corporate Tax Partner at Slaughter and May.

He says: “The Alumni Network Group arose out of an initiative that the Vice Chancellor took when he first took charge of the University. He got a group of former students together to be a sounding board as to where the University then was and how it was to be developed. The University and its staff and students obviously get the credit for what has happened subsequently but the results are there for all to see.”

The ANG takes a lead role in helping the University to build relationships with alumni and promote alumni engagement with Exeter. It is also consulted on strategic issues on an ad-hoc basis as a collective Group or via individual members.

Steve says: “ANG helps in many different ways. Its prime responsibility is to help and support the University in its efforts to get all alumni re-engaged with the University in one way or another. But, through things like the various sporting events and academic seminars, ANG also responds to what it thinks alumni want from the University. The members of ANG come from different academic areas and have pursued a myriad of careers but they all have a passion for supporting the University in the particular areas in which they have responsibility on ANG.”

And how does the ANG help to support alumni?

“The main work is, of course, done by the University’s Global Advancement team – and the University is rightly proud that it is one of the best universities in the UK for alumni engagement. The achievement of the target of 60,000 volunteering hours in the current Making the Exceptional Happen Campaign bears testament to that. What members of ANG will be doing at any time will depend upon the requirements of the part of the University they are supporting. Some will be engaged in how best to encourage and manage volunteering, others will be engaged in academic initiatives by specific departments and others will help with the organisation of careers, sporting or other events. It is a matter of fostering the alumni/university relationship in all its aspects.”

As with all networks, members of the ANG give up their time to offer advice and support activities and everyone has different reasons for wanting to give back to their University. Steve and others volunteer partly because they enjoy it and find the work rewarding but also he says, “It’s because I want to put something back for the great start that the University gave me in my life, because I love Exeter and the West Country but probably most of all because I believe that the best thing you can do is to help others (not just your own children) in achieving their ambitions in life.”

The focus of the ANG changes over time depending on the University’s activity and alumni needs. However their work always focuses on engaging the community and giving alumni the opportunity to share their views with the University.

Steve says: “We are always trying to broaden alumni involvement and improve the support alumni can give to academic staff and students as well as improving the offering to alumni. People might think that alumni involvement only happens when you get older and is also part and parcel of fundraising but that is not true. Contributions that alumni make at every stage in their lives and careers are equally valuable to the University. In the employability context, for example, younger alumni probably have a lot more to offer than someone with more distant memories and experience of starting out in a career. ANG is an enthusiastic bunch of people who want to do good things for an excellent University – and the University should rightly be proud of all its alumni.

“I have enjoyed every part of my re-involvement with the University over the past 15 years.”

Read more about the mission and members of the ANG on the website.

Date: 5 September 2018

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