My absence has been a combination of being really sick for the past week (I haven't had even a cold for two years) and going to my daughter's college orientation at Boston University. Wow.
This is my wife's and my third kid, third college, third orientation. I always remember my orientation to Penn. My Dad drove me up, we unloaded some boxes, shook hands, and he drove off. I had four days until class, (it was Labor Day weekend) didn't know a soul, and had no idea what do or where to go.
Now, not only do the kids get a summer orientation, but when they arrive on campus (also on Labor Day), their "welcome" schedule looks exhausting.
Good. That's the way it should be.
Two lessons from BU for other nonprofits:
First, why shouldn't we make the effort to welcome, I mean really welcome the people we serve? How many of our constiuents feel more like me in the fall of 1970 being dropped off alone than they do like Caitlin this fall? Think about it: how many of your staff other than the nominal greeter really welcome a new client/student/patient/ etc? How many really make sure that they know where they are going, have their questions answered?
Second lesson was a marketing one: The woman in charge of food service was talking to the parents about food choices, healthy eating, variety, etc. My ears perked up when she said this "We never, ever change a food offering without first talking to a group of students. We value their input, since the food is going in their mouths!"
I LOVED that, as well as the other administrators who obviously spend time, have weekly coffees, get out of their offices and mix with the people who are the most important on campus, the students and faculty.
Good lessons from a great university