In September 2019, oikos Cologne hosted its first Alumni Meeting in twenty years of oikos Cologne history. Today, they share how they achieved the milestone and what bringing together the past and present oikos generations can teach us all.
We were lucky that the idea of the meeting was suggested by Kerstin Hötte, former oikos Cologne member, who already had some alumni’s contact details. Her proposal excited us. We were eager to learn who our predecessors were and what was their life after graduation. And it was nice that she was putting effort into the organization and communication so that we mainly had to take care of the logistics.
We started organizing the meeting about two months before the target date. We agreed on program design and then contacted as many alumni as we could. Finally, we drew alumni that were active in our chapter five and even 10 years ago. On a Saturday afternoon, we met at our University to exchange our experiences as active oikos members and alumni that are already working in science, politics or business and economics. 15 alumni and 5 active members participated in the meeting that took place during the semester holidays.
The program was divided into three main parts by some coffee and snack breaks for casual talks. After a welcome and introduction round, Kerstin and Matthias, two alumni shared their current research topics on the green transformation and an empirical approach to consumption norms in social networks which we then discussed with the attendees. Afterward, we continued with career talks. For this part, some alumni volunteered to answer any questions on their careers both in academia and beyond and gave us some useful tips for the future. Finally, we as active members of oikos Cologne presented our current projects and reported about the recent challenges and opportunities. This was followed by a stimulating discussion on how to run a student organization and how to be a volunteer. Many alumni said that they faced similar obstacles during their active time as we do now, like difficulties in handover processes, clear organizational structures or publicity, so we also received some useful advice. Two of the alumni as of last month joined the advisory board so that active members can now build on that knowledge if necessary.
The meeting ended with a shared dinner and many private follow-up discussions and interesting talks. We created a LinkedIn group for all oikos Cologne alumni and aim at staying in contact in the future. We want to host another alumni meeting in about two years from now.