Pirate Nation grows with dues-free alumni association

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

East Carolina University just made all former Pirates full members of its Alumni Association.

The change came July 1, as the association moved from its dues-based membership to a free membership.

“The new model enhances engagement by removing the barriers to participation,” Heath Bowman, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, wrote in an email. “Being more inclusive makes us a better resource for alumni and a more helpful partner to the university. We are very excited to reconnect as many Pirates to their alma mater as possible.”

Rather than charge dues for membership, the association will encourage alumni donations to the ECU Alumni Priority Fund, a fund that works to preserve ECU history and traditions, support student scholars and to grow the ECU alumni network worldwide, according to a press release.

By opening up memberships, ECU is following a current trend in universities. Ohio State, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, University of Central Florida, University of Illinois  and Virginia Commonwealth University have all switched to dues-free programs. The change reflects a changing world, and a continued mission to build a strong base of alumni support, according to Bowman.

“We are committed to creating a culture of philanthropy, highlighting the impact of our important work, and asking everyone to do what they can to help our cause,” he wrote.

For those who already hold Life or Centennial memberships, the alumni association will continue to honor their “place of distinction” and recognize these members with special opportunities, reads a FAQ sheet about the new model. The organization will reach out to members whose annual alumni association dues are deducted through autopayment to ask if they’d like to continue the automated membership dues as recurring gifts to the ECU Alumni Priority Fund.

Programming for ECU alumni, including events and other opportunities to connect, will still be held by the association.

To touch base with Pirate Nation, follow ECU Alumni Association on Facebook, or #PirateAlumni on Twitter and Instagram.