About Around the Square January 19, 2010

Questions, Concerns About Harris Connect

By Danielle Young

The 2010 alumni directory is just one of the many initiatives/projects currently being done to help keep the Alumni Association in touch with alumni, and to help alumni keep in touch with each other. Our office has produced occasional printed alumni directories since 1909. The last directory edition was printed in 2004. The collection of information for the 2010 directory will conclude later this month and be available to alumni in May.

Shortly after the launch of the 2010 directory project, the Alumni Association heard from several alumni with questions and concerns. To address these issues and to help give you a better understanding of the project, our office has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions..

Q: If an alumna or alumnus is listed in the directory, is he or she obligated to purchase a copy?
A: No, names will be listed regardless of whether the alumnus or alumna decides to purchase a copy.

Q: Does an alumna or alumnus have to be listed in the directory?
A: No, Harris will honor specific requests to exclude all or sections of your biographical data from the publication. To suppress your information, please call Harris Connect at 1-877-701-3110 or send an e-mail message to the Alumni Office at alumni@oberlin.edu before January 25, 2010.  

Q: Why is Oberlin working with an outside company for this project?
A: Harris Connect does the work of contacting alumni, making sure that our records are updated, and producing print and CD directories that are made available to our alumni. Thus far, we have had an incredibly successful number of updates from alumni. The rate far exceeds anything we have been able to accomplish through Web or reunion information updates. This project would also require more staffing than we have available to us here at Oberlin. Please know that your information will be kept secure and will not be used for any outside or third-party marketing purposes.  

Q: Why is Harris Connect contacting alumni who completed online questionnaires?
A: The Alumni Association asked Harris Connect to contact everyone; primarily to make absolutely sure that the data we have is current and complete. The telephone calls, which do end with an opportunity to purchase a directory, are supposed to serve as a validation of information, a reminder that photos and notes may be submitted, as well as an opportunity to suppress any information that the alumnus or alumna does not want listed in the directory.

Q: Why publish printed directories in this age of social media and online communications?
A: Many of our alumni, especially those who do not use the Internet for social networking, are looking forward to having a new directory of Oberlin alumni. The directories are high quality publications and provide an easy way to review entire class lists, search for alumni by profession, and view information on Obies from all generations. The project also provides a way for us to update thousands of alumni records. All of the contact and professional information being collected will be added to our alumni records and, therefore, will ultimately be available to alumni through ObieWeb, our alumni online directory.You can register for the online alumni directory at any time convenient for you.

Q: The cost of the directories seems high.
A: The directories (a softbound copy costs $80) are quality publications and of higher cost due to the limited number of copies produced. They include some history of Oberlin College and the Alumni Association, a biographical section, a class year section, a geographical section, and a career networking section.

Q: What products are being offered through Harris Connect?
A: Once all information on our alumni is compiled, Harris Connect will produce a number of products including a hardcover collector’s edition of the directory ($100 plus S&H); a softbound edition of the directory ($80 plus S&H); a CD ROM edition ($100 plus S&H); and a reunion CD with classes that graduated within a few years of each other ($24.99 plus S&H).  These products can be ordered through Harris Connect by calling 1-877-701-3110.  The Alumni Office is unable to accept any order requests.     

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to send us an e-mail at alumni@oberlin.edu. You can also call Harris Connect directly at 1-800-877-6554.

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Around the Square: Your Inside Connection to Oberlin Stories, News, and Events, is an e-newsletter produced by the Office of Communications in cooperation with the Alumni Association for alumni, emeriti, and friends of Oberlin College. If you have any questions or any feedback about this e-newsletter, send e-mail to ats@communications.oberlin.edu.

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