The NIU Alumni Association’s travel program is featured in the May/June issue of the national magazine Select Traveler for going the extra mile to connect travelers to NIU and each other.
Pat Anderson, director of alumni relations, emphasizes in the magazine that the travel program is a way for alumni to reconnect with the university, even if they haven’t been in touch with NIU for quite some time.
“Graduates who for 30 years haven’t connected with us will see we have a travel program,” she said, “and often they are at a point in their lives where they have the time and finances to travel.”
The program also creates friendships because travelers are sharing memorable experiences.
“This is a terrific program where travelers immediately have a tie to their fellow travelers, even if they were strangers before boarding the plane,” Anderson said.
The magazine highlights her efforts to provide customer service. For instance, during a trip to New Zealand in 2013, she scoured the area to find ESPN on a big-screen TV so guests could see NIU playing Florida State University in the Orange Bowl.
“It took a lot of research to find a big-screen television that offered ESPN in that part of the world,” Anderson said. “But we finally found a backpackers lodge that had a TV that covered the entire wall.”
As part of the Pacific Northwest trip in June, she is taking travelers on a dinner cruise that will include alumni from the area so the two groups can mingle.
“On those occasions where local alumni have joined us for an NIU event, people get a taste of what our travel program is about,” she said. “But the best part is it continues to promote loyalty and involvement with NIU.”
The NIU Alumni Association has more than 50 percent of repeat travelers on the tours, she added.
About six trips are planned annually. Registration is open for Rome in October, Vietnam and Cambodia in December/January, Poland in March and a Seine River cruise in April. To learn more, visit myniu.com/get-involved/travel/.