| Ford Church

Alumni Engagement and Evaluation Report 2016

Cottonwood Institute (CI) has been delivering environmental education and service learning programs for the past 13 years and we were curious: What are the CI alumni we taught years ago up to these days and how did our programs impact them reflecting back years later? So we set out to re-engage our alumni what we found through our Alumni Engagement and Evaluation Report was outstanding!

Belen Colin

In 2015, CI began reconnecting with its 21+ year old alumni by creating a Cottonwood Institute Facebook Alumni Group. CI encouraged alumni to update their contact information, share contact information of CI alumni with whom they still keep in touch, and CI contracted with AlumniFinder to help update contact information of its alumni. CI then hosted coffee meet ups, happy hours, and invited alumni to participate in CI fundraising events and volunteer projects.

It was one of the most important experiences I had as a teenager. The Community Adventure Program and Earth Task Force (which I helped start as a direct result of my experience in CAP) gave me purpose in life that was previously lacking.

Cottonwood Institute Alumni

Participating in CAP started me on a path to create positive change in our world.

CI worked with Maggie Miller Consulting (MMC) to create an online survey for alumni and Maggie helped CI discover the following information:

  • 84% of survey respondents recreate outdoors at least weekly. They backpack, bike, camp, fish, hike, kayak, raft, run, sail, ski, snowshoe, swim, and walk.
  • 93% of respondents described pursuing education after high school. Here are all the things they are studying:

Anthropology, art education, chemistry, community health, contemplative education, creative writing, earth and environmental sciences, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering, environmental policy, forestry, gender studies, geographic information systems, global issues, health exercise science, international affairs, lighting and sound design, marine studies, medical anthropology, music performance, nurse practitioner, physics, plant biology/ecology, resource conservation, wildlife biology.

  • 100% of respondents were able to describe actions they have taken to improve the environment.
  • Almost half of respondents (40%) described paid work in the environmental field.
  • 78% of respondents said that they keep in touch with other CI alumni.

I gained confidence, leadership experience, group facilitation, outdoor experience, connections in my community, friendships, critical thinking skills. It was a formative experience.

Click here to download a copy of the full report.


Categories: Alumni Spotlight, Updates

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