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Ball State University Club of Greater Chicago
Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago

Members & Staff Present: Jack Campbell, Joann Davis, Blair Kramer, Shawn Malayter, Mike Smith, Stephen Smith, Emily Radecki, Kate Webber (via conference call)

Introduction: The board welcomed new member, Emily Radecki, ’05.

Recap of Bowl Game Watch Party/Plans for Fall: The Beef O’ Brady Bowl watch party was held on December 21, 2012 at the Houndstooth pub (last minute change of venue since Rookies shut down a day before the event!). There were 54 in attendance. We will continue with football watch parties for all televised Ball State games. Shawn will begin looking into options for locations, since it looks like Rookies will not be re-opening. He will stay in the popular Wrigleyville area.

Cubs Outing May 15 – The Cubs outing will be held Wednesday, May 15. The pre-game will be held at the Cubby Bear from 5-7 p.m. and the Cubs play the Colorado Rockies at 7:05 p.m. We have 150 tickets and have begun promoting (alumni e-newsletter, postcard mailing, social media, and will send several e-mails). Please begin promoting to your friends. Online registration is available at: www.regonline.com/CubsOuting2013. We have received confirmation that Bill Scholl and Julie Stroh will attend as our speakers.

We had originally planned to host the pre-game at an alumnus-owned bar, The Full Shilling. However, Shawn and Kate had issues getting a response from them, the space ended up being too small for our needs, the menu prices too high, and the room was covered in another school’s memorabilia, so we decided to stay at the Cubby Bear. Shawn invited him to participate in our alumni business directory and will keep the venue in mind for future smaller gatherings.

Chicago Alumni Business Directory: In an effort to build community among alumni businesses in Chicago, the board would like to create an online business directory. We could divide the directory by different services offered. We discussed including both alumni-owned businesses and a section for alumni working in other businesses who could offer services (i.e., insurance agents, real estate agents, promotional items, etc.), to allow alumni who are looking for specific services the opportunity to support a fellow alumnus. We could possibly create a print piece to promote the idea and get businesses involved. We will announce the opportunity at our events (i.e., Cubs outing).

Chicago Club T-Shirt Update: The last Chicago alumni t-shirt design we presented to the university for approval was declined (Charlie Cardinal on the Chicago flag) – the university did not want us to modify a governmental flag. We discussed the option of a full-body Charlie Cardinal holding the Chicago flag. The group agreed to go with a higher quality shirt that people will want to wear (possibly doing a vintage look). Kate will work with University Marketing and Communications to help us stay in line with university approved designs. Emily’s friend, Bree, is an artist and will come up with a free-hand design that we can start with. We have ambitious hopes to have shirts for the Cubs outing.

Summer 2013 Event Planning: The board is interested in hosting smaller, self-sufficient young alumni and networking events this summer. These would be opportunities for alumni in the city to get together and everyone would pay their own way. Kate will request a list of alumni by age group to help us identify what we are working with. Ideas include:

a. Singles mixer/cocktail hour – Emily will look into options. These events are becoming very popular and we could offer drink specials and ice breakers.
b. Chicago Sport & Social Club – options include sponsoring a team (get a BSU flag on a court for visibility), or create an all-alumni team to participate (rec league for beach volleyball, softball, soccer, etc.)
c. Tough Mudder – sponsor an event by offering snacks, drinks, etc. to alumni who participate…potentially host our own event in the future (would need liability waivers, etc.)
d. Beer Pong and/or Cornhole Tournaments – both of these have become very popular in the city.
e. Promote alumni 5K races in the fall and/or provide support to alumni runners in the Chicago Marathon (BSU flag at one of the miles with drinks, towels, aspirin, etc.) Would have to be in future years, since this year coincides with Homecoming.

Volunteer Day – Chicago Lights Urban Farm: Volunteer days begin April 6 on Saturdays from 12-3 p.m. Stephen has all of the information and will find which dates are available. We will try to get groups of up to 10-15 people to volunteer (promote via social media and e-mail). Shawn also suggested Parks or Beach Clean-up as another service option.

Group Dinner Idea: Shawn mentioned that other schools offer alumni Dinner Clubs to take advantage of the great dining in Chicago. Groups pick a different mid-range restaurant (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and typically set for early week (Mon, Tues, Wed) when restaurants are a little slower. Each person pays their own way. We can think of a catchy name for the group. Blair has a list of good restaurants and will share with Shawn, who will take the lead on this event. We could possibly get restaurants to offer drink specials or a free dessert, etc. for a large group.

Cardinal Business Forum: Suggestions for this year’s event include:

a. Push the date back a couple weeks to avoid Homecoming (so Alumni Association staff can attend/dedicate more time to the event)
b. Remind people to bring business cards
c. Shawn’s wife, Eileen, attended several conferences and has a list of new activities that we could try with the participants
d. Have attendees write down career goals to spark more engagement
e. Emily mentioned the more you attend, the more you can mentor the younger/shy attendees (she has noticed a jump in her confidence from the first year she attended to the third) – veterans can help make new attendees feel more comfortable, etc.
f. Get feedback from attendees, i.e., get success stories from past events and use as testimonials for promoting next event (Blair and Emily story). Tell these stories at the start of the event to provide inspiration.
g. Promote not only to those looking for work, but as an opportunity to collaborate with alumni (even if you are happy in your career, come meet…)
h. Ask questions in the beginning (i.e., how many people went to XYZ, raise your hand) to allow guests to make eye contact and connect with people they have something in common with.
i. Too much table shifting, not enough conversation
j. Get “fresh blood” for moderators (for those who attend each year)
k. Meet up at bar or restaurant afterwards to continue conversation
l. Feedback form before you leave (quick/5 items) or survey monkey afterwards

New Business:

a. Please invite your alumni friends to join our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter since we plan to use these avenues more heavily for future events.
b. Another event idea which is becoming popular among schools (to consider for the future): an alumni ball/gala. Alumni donate items to auction off at the higher end event. Invite prestigious/popular alumni as special guests (normally held at nice hotel, museum, etc.) and raise money for a full-ride scholarship for an area student who plans to attend Ball State. Usually a $200 per head event. The group discussed hosting the event in February, to avoid holidays and popular vacation times. It should be a FUN event for the guests and not just focus on fundraising, although that will be the end result. Potential names include “Charlie Ball” or “Benny Ball.”
c. ConnectionsChicago – a Miami of Ohio alumnus is running all-MAC events in Chicago (White Sox, mixers, etc.) and trying to get us involved. We agreed to promote on social media for those who are interested in attending, however, we will not do full-publicity since it is not an event sponsored by us.
d. We would like to do something in conjunction with the BSU vs. NIU women’s basketball game.

Next Meeting Date: Shawn will send around a date option for late June, TBD.