Sometimes the greatest gift that we can give is not just financial, but is opening ourselves to others. The new Marlboro College Branch Out online platform asks community members to do just that—open themselves, assess their personal assets, and share their experiences with others in the community.
Since the platform launched on May 5, dozens and dozens of alumni, students, parents, staff, faculty, and friends of the college have joined the platform. Funded by an Endeavor Foundation grant, Branch Out is exclusive to the Marlboro College community and customized for us with critical input in the development process from every part of the community. In fact, one of our student focus group attendees (now an alumna) dubbed the platform “Branch Out” partially in honor of the tree in the college logo.
Branch Out serves as a virtual commons for the full Marlboro College community, a space to share stories, support each other, create interest groups, mentor, offer resources and advice, and give or get a helpful nudge to careers. The platform provides real-time opportunities for alumni to give back through engagement opportunities, mentoring, events, and fundraising efforts. Similar platforms have been adopted at many colleges and universities worldwide over the last few years and have been highly successful at increasing alumni engagement during particularly challenging times for institutions of higher education.
But there is getting, as well as giving on this platform. If members use Branch Out to its potential, we get to find what others can offer to us in our personal or career pursuits, we could even get a lead on a sweet new job! Ultimately, we get a better picture of what our community looks like, and we get a way to build this rare community through stories that we can share with potential students and their parents about the truly life-changing nature of Marlboro College. Oh, and we get each other.
Please, take a moment to give your thoughtful time to Branch Out. Your stories and reflections on this place are more valuable than you can imagine.