A shift in the way Redbirds can engage with Illinois State University has occurred over the past several months as a result of the coronavirus. Virtual events have become increasingly popular as the Alumni Association continues to uphold its mission to strengthen relationships, provide opportunities for connection and continuing education after graduation, and foster involvement.

Redbirds heard from Illinois State Athletics, learned more about President Larry Dietz, heard how to better themselves as leaders and stress less about finances, made a Redbird dish in their own homes, and took time to learn about mental well-being through online offerings. Recordings of past events can be found online at Alumni.IllinoisState.edu/Virtual.

Virtual programming has expanded and strengthened connections to campus, as it allows individuals from across the world to share in Redbird fun and ISU pride. More than 700 registered for the inaugural Reggie’s Virtual Run, which had alumni and friends complete 3.1 miles on their own.

Zoom reunions are yet another way alumni are staying strong together. Several have found that these online gatherings help relieve stress and unease during a heightened time of anxiety.

“The best part of a Zoom reunion was the ability to cross time zones. They were as far west as Vancouver Island and Alaska, across the United States and the Atlantic Ocean to London and Israel,” said reunion host Barb Dallinger ’81, M.S. ’01.

“Seeing partners, children, and pets was great, but the smile on their faces and the light in their eyes was what I’ll never forget,” Dallinger said, sharing that attendees found the most meaningful part of the experience was hearing voices of those they only see via social media.

Individuals interested in hosting a virtual reunion can contact Alumni Engagement Director Stephanie Duquenne ’04, M.S. ’15, at saduque@IllinoisState.edu for help in arranging a Zoom session.

To stay informed about upcoming online events, go to Alumni.IllinoisState.edu/Virtual.