In June, the CERN community grew as we launched a new network to give our alumni an institutional connection to the Organization. The network targets those who have left CERN, but also welcomes all members and associated members of personnel. It has been designed to make the global CERN community more inclusive, and has been set up to provide those who have left with a means of keeping in touch with CERN and with each other. It will also foster ambassadorship for the mission of CERN, and will help colleagues, in particular the young, with their future career development, inside or outside the field of particle physics.
A lot of thought and work went into preparing the ground. The Alumni Relations office, which manages the network, reached out to several well-established and successful alumni programmes to learn from their experience and to understand what would work best for our Organization, while a CERN-wide working group took part in designing the network for an inclusive approach. A survey of recent alumni revealed a strong appetite for such a network, as well as giving us a clearer idea of what colleagues would expect from it, and what they’d be prepared to give. As a result, the Alumni Relations office has put a strong focus on increasing CERN’s effectiveness in helping alumni develop professionally, at whatever stage they find themselves in their careers.
At the heart of the network is an online alumni platform designed for interaction. Much effort has gone into providing substance in the form of career opportunities, learning opportunities and other benefits for our members. Since its launch, some 1800 colleagues have already signed up. They represent all categories of personnel including students, users, fellows, associates and staff members. They’re based all around the world, and just over half of them have left CERN or retired. It’s great that they want to stay in touch. There’s already a lively ongoing exchange between members, and the initial feedback has been enthusiastic. “Thanks for sharing,” “Please let me know if I can contribute,” and “I really like the purpose and the reach of the project” are typical of the comments that new members share.
An important date in the CERN alumni calendar is coming up on 2 to 3 February next year, when we’ll be holding our first alumni event at CERN – a two day festival of talks, visits, meetings, reminiscences and networking. You can find out more about this event, and request to join the alumni network, at http://alumni.cern.
Over the years, I’ve seen how keen many of my colleagues leaving CERN or the field have been to stay connected, so our new alumni network is very close to my heart. It’s a community for all of us, and I hope that many of you will join and play an active part. Thanks to the network, leaving CERN no longer means goodbye: it’s an invitation to keep in touch.