In keeping with the increasing popularity of global communication over the Internet, MIT graduates now have more ways to stay in touch with their alma mater and each other.
The Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT is creating new offerings under the aegis of the newly created Alumni Network Services, including lifelong e-mail forwarding and a directory (already available) of alumni/ae World Wide Web home pages. From the Association's home page at http://web.mit.edu/alum/www>, viewers can click on "Alumni/ae Services" or go directly to http://web.mit.edu/alum/www/Information/Services/> to see the various options, which also include links to Technology Review, regional MIT clubs, the MIT Enterprise Forum, professional association connections and a site describing this year's reunions and Tech Week.
"Most people know we do fundraising, but they may not know the other things we do and the services we provide to alumni," said Diana Strange of the MIT Alumni/ae Association.
The Association's board of directors is scheduled to vote this week on moving ahead with the e-mail forwarding service, in which graduates can obtain a permanent "@alum.mit.edu" address which will automatically forward e-mail messages to their current e-mail accounts. This will only work if graduates keep MIT supplied with up-to-date information about their actual and electronic whereabouts, Ms. Strange noted; they can do so on a form linked to the Alumni/ae Services site. Those graduating in 1996 are being invited to be part of the beta test group starting in the fall.
Alumni/ae who have pages on the Web can already link them to the Association's page; links will appear once they have registered their Web addresses and their identities have been authenticated. "We get two or three a day and we add them in," Ms. Strange said.
The Alumni/ae Association has also expanded its Institute Career Assistance Network (ICAN) guided by Janet Serman, with which students and alumni can network for career planning or job search assistance. In addition, the Association's Web site includes links to Technology Review's Online Career Center and other resources.
Alumni Network Services grew out of recent recommendations by a subcommittee of the Association board. When the group began its discussions, the Web didn't have the presence it does now, "but we knew we needed to be paying attention to the possibilities of the Internet," Ms. Strange said. Forging new electronic links benefits both MIT and its alumni/ae, she added. "The goal is to provide better services, and to do that, we need to know where alumni/ae are. If we have the services they need and want, they're more likely to support the Institute when they're able." Possible future offerings include on-line access for alumni/ae to the MIT Libraries, she said.
A related Web-based alumni/ae service is offered by the Sloan School of Management, which lists alumni/ae events, clubs, career resources and more at http://web.mit.edu/sloanalum/>.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 5, 1996.