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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everything's big in Texas

Including Emory, which is fortunate for all of us with the EAA.
Greetings from Houston, where I am sitting in on the spring session of Emory's Alumni Interviewing Pilot Program. For one day, 13 Emory alumni from the Houston area are interviewing prospective students as part of their application process. More than 50 high school seniors are signed up to meet with our alumni today (which adds up to about three per person). 
This morning, I observed a couple of interviews led by Kumasi Adoma 01C, the local co-chair, and she was masterful. Well, first of all, before I talk about Kumasi, the students are incredibly impressive. Way more poised than high school seniors have any right to be. They are well-rounded, eager, driven and goal-oriented, yet they are flexible and open enough to consider changing course based on what a college education might bring them. I was happy just to be in the same room with them.
Now, if all alumni conduct interviews like Kumasi, the program will be in great shape for a long, long time. She asked insightful questions based on each student's interest (one was passionate about science, another about business, and each conversation was distinctive without losing one bit of its depth). For instance, when one student brought up a passion about international study, Kumasi worked in a personal story about her own Emory study abroad experience (in Japan) and off-handedly (but with definite purpose) added in statistics on how many Emory students take part in the program. Very nice. 
Now a little about the program itself. Houston is one of three cities hosting the pilot, which is a partnership between the Offices of Admission at Emory and Oxford and the EAA. The two-year pilot kicked off in 2007 in Chicago; San Francisco and Houston were added for the 2008-09 academic year. By the end of the spring, the Class of 2013 will be chosen and the pilot evaluation will begin. That's when the decision will be made whether to expand the program.
We'll have a lot more news about alumni interviewing, including a podcast featuring several of our alumni, photos, and a story in the April issue of EmoryWire. Stay tuned.  
I'll be in Texas for a few more days meeting with (and writing about) alumni, so I hope you'll continue to EAAvesdrop. The last day of the World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest is tonight. It's a big subject of discussion among our alumni. How could I possibly pass that up? Some brisket is sounding pretty good right now.
I'll write more later. Talk to you soon.
Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Friday, February 27, 2009

Celebrating Emory

So I'm sitting in a bar called the House of Brews ...

Now that I've got your attention .... Celebration Emory: New York has been over for about an hour, and there was quite a lot of celebrating to spread around. More than 350 guests spent their evening with President Jim Wagner, Emory Alumni Board President Crystal Edmonson 95C, and the Emory University Symphony Orchestra, whose performance literally had the floor vibrating at the New York Marriott Marquis.

We'll post photos of the event on EAAvesdropping as soon as we can.

The food was pretty good, too. Our guests stayed more than half an hour past our advertised closing time. We had to turn on the lights to get people to leave, like we were a dance club or something. Not that that's a bad thing.

It was the desserts that kept people around. Of course. The hotel created treats that honestly I didn't even know were possible. Like chocolate spoons. They're pretty self-explanatory. It was a regular teaspoon, overflowing with chocolate. It was one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. I have no problem making a bold statement like that, either. I tested it. I had three of them.

I always enjoy working events like Celebration Emory. As the EAA's communications director, my primary role is in assisting with messaging (what the speakers say) and promotion (how we encourage alumni to attend). At the event itself, I'm a logistics guy. I do the grunt work so the events manager Leslie Wingate 82C, senior director for alumni programs, can take care of other pressing needs. I also look for ways to improve future events. Are there certain topics that make more of an impact? How can we better deliver those to alumni? That sort of thing.

And just being around so many alumni excited about what Emory is doing is exciting. It makes me want to do my job better.

So, what am I doing in a bar? Chocolate spoons, as tasty as they were, aren't very filling. And I didn't want to eat in the hotel. And how can you pass up a place called the House of Brews, which is about a block and a half from Times Square (where the hotel is) on the outskirts of Hell's Kitchen. No, I'm not having beer for dinner. I'm having pretzels for dinner. Seven mini ones and they are very good. The beer is just cleansing the palette.

Have a good weekend, everyone. I'll write you on Saturday from Houston, where I'm helping out with Emory's Alumni Interviewing pilot program.

Eric Rangus, director of communications

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is EAAvesdropping?

Welcome to EAAvesdropping. Thanks for listening in. So to speak.

I'm Eric Rangus, director of communications at the Emory Alumni Association. If you become a regular reader of EAAvesdropping, you'll see my name quite a bit. I hope that's a good thing.

What is EAAvesdropping? Well, I've been sitting in front of blank computer screens and scribbling on notepads for days trying to come up with an easy, articulate answer to that question. And here it is ...

I'm not sure yet.

EAAvesdropping will be a lot of things. It will be an event log where you can read about everything the EAA is doing around the country and the world. It will be a photo album where you can see everything the EAA is doing--and who's doing it. It will be a soundbooth where we will post podcasts and hopefully one day, videoclips. And it will also be a conversation spot--a place where all members of the EAA staff will let you know what we're doing to make our community a better place, and how we feel about it.

But most of all, it will be fun. Fun for you to read (we hope) and fun for us to write.

On Thursday, I'm heading north to Celebration Emory: New York. If you happen to be in the area, please stop by and let me know you've been EAAvesdropping. I'll be wearing a nametag.

Our next post will be from up there. Probably pretty late on Thursday night or early on Friday morning, depending on when I decide to drink my coffee.

Until then, I encourage you to "follow this blog" by clicking below or at least subscribe to us. The plan is to have new content every couple of days or so. We'll see.

Anyway, thanks for EAAvesdropping. Feel free to return to EmoryWire. We'll be here when you get back.

--Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA