Science - May 23, 2019

End is nigh for alumni society KLV

Text:
Albert Sikkema

Alumni society KLV wants to shut up shop. The reason: steadily falling membership numbers. ‘We are no longer engaging substantial numbers of young alumni, and neither is KLV in the picture among the expanding group of international alumni.’

© KLV
KLV in the picture among the expanding group of international alumni.

In the past year, the Wageningen alumni club’s board and members have discussed scenarios for the future. ‘Our conclusion is that we basically lack the backing for continuing with KLV,’ says chair Han Swinkels.

Our conclusion is that there is no backing

The 130-year-old alumni society has 7500 members. Half of the members, overwhelmingly older alumni, pay a membership fee. The other half consists of recent graduates and students who pay little or nothing in fees. Over the past 10 years, the society has lost about 2000 paying members.

The KLV board has used interviews and focus group discussions over the past 12 months to gauge the opinion of members. ‘Older members use their membership to demonstrate their loyalty to Wageningen University,’ says Swinkels. ‘Younger graduates and international alumni say they don’t need KLV for that.’

That is partly because the demand for KLV’s services for members has waned in recent years. For example, KLV Professional Match for career development ceased its activities at the start of this year. KLV’s added value with respect to University Fund Wageningen, which organizes activities through WUR for all alumni, has also declined.

KLV does still have 14 active study groups. The board is investigating whether University Fund Wageningen can take over the support for these groups.


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