During 2013 the College of Nursing sponsored informal “cottage meetings” in Las Vegas; Washington, DC; and the Los Angeles area that allowed local alumni to meet with Dean Ravert and hear a message about the college. However, due to the expense and also the difficulty of scheduling the dean for multiple locations, an alternate solution was developed to help nursing alumni across the country stay connected to the college while also learning of other nursing individuals in their own communities (for support and networking).
In an effort to meet those objectives, the BYU College of Nursing alumni board sponsored a Night of Nursing on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This event invited nursing alumni and friends to join in small groups around the nation to learn about current college happenings, to network, and to reminisce about university experiences.
The largest group gathered on campus in the Wilkinson Student Center, with 187 students and Utah Valley alumni attending. In the spirit of the evening, Dean Ravert dressed as Florence A Night of Nursing Nightingale and shared a message showcasing stories of growth and opportunities for the college. Participants said they enjoyed great networking opportunities with local alumni.
Additional locations in Spokane, Portland, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, North Salt Lake, Boise, Denver, Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Charlotte involved 14 hosts and 79 alumni and friends.
Many volunteer hosts for the evening expressed how easy it was to sponsor their event because of the kit they received from the college with almost everything needed to produce their gathering: a message from the dean on DVD, college factsheets and information, and door prizes with raffle tickets.
“My event went well, as I had seven people in attendance,” says Elizabeth Manning McCombs, alumni board member and chapter chair for the Orange County area. “Everyone loved the door prizes! We are looking forward to our next event and getting the word out to more alumni in the area.”
Campaign evaluations found that participants wanted even more college program details, such as how to obtain a master’s degree or ways students earn clinical hours internationally. Many also desired scholarship information and materials on how they can give back to their alma mater.
The next Night of Nursing will be Thursday, March 12, 2015, and the college hopes to have 400 alumni connect in 20 cities. Visit nursing.byu.edu to find a location near you to attend. You will be given a host name, address, and event time. RSVP and let the host know you want to participate; all guests will receive a free media stand as a gift.