OUS Prime-Mover                                             Issue 25, April 2012

Editor: Ian Senior, chairman, Hertfordshire Branch               ian.senior@trinity.oxon.org

An unofficial forum for branches to network ideas.  

Prime-Mover is complementary to the OUS’s official newsletters to branch secretaries

A prime-mover personally makes at least one branch event happen each year

News from branches

Northants and Bedfordshire – a newly formed branch

I asked Dr Rachel Odams (Univ ’85 and St Antony’s ‘88) how she has set about forming this new branch.

Prime-Mover     What made you start?  Have you had contact with other OUS branches in the past?
Dr Rachel Odams  Three things made me start the group. Firstly, my love of my time at Oxford both as undergraduate at University College and postgraduate at St Antony's.  Secondly, Oxford is a community of people, of like minds, people of  similar backgrounds, intellectual, cultural and social level. In addition to people I have kept in touch with all over the world, I was desirous of restoring that community on my doorstep. It has fulfilled my expectations in every way. Thirdly, one of my oldest friends (Magdalen '86) runs the Aberdeen branch. I have attended his events and they are excellent. Robert encouraged me to do the same in my locality.

Prime-Mover    What back-up have you had from head office in terms of e-mail lists etc?
RO   The University Alumni Office have been fantastically supportive from the start. Following my initial interview, we began the process of building the database. Joby Mullens identified the target audience, and I developed an initial letter. Joby then sent my mailing. I have now taken over the database and agreed to provide a monthly update to the Office to help them maintain their database. We have found that people often "pop" up by word of mouth and we need to capture these names, so that we are inclusive. The Office has also been helpful in offering advice and support in setting up the Committee and in developing an on-line presence.

Prime-Mover How many alums have you got on your list and how many responded to you when you contacted them?
RO  The Office identified 575 alums in the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire regions. The initial mailing was sent to all of these. There was around a 20% response rate, which now forms my "active" mailing database. I found that alums generally do get in contact, even to decline an invitation. I also had some delightful hand written letters from alums, who matriculated in the 1940s, each of which I responded to personally.

Prime-Mover What are your future plans?
RO  Once we got the go ahead, I quickly drafted an events programme, recruited a Committee of extremely enthusiastic volunteers and put both to them to ratify. Our events programme includes a monthly organised event and also an informal pub get-together for anyone who wishes to attend. Events include speaker dinners, theatre and gallery trips, trips to areas of local interest. We are also developing an active online presence, using social media (Facebook page) and our web page (on the University site). We are also planning an online quarterly newsletter (and mailing for members who don't use email) and young alumni outreach activities.

Dr Rachel Odams, founding Chairman of OUS Three Shires.

For our first profile, our Chairman was interviewed by Ian Senior, Chairman of OUS Hertfordshire Branch and Editor of Prime Mover.

The photo shows Rachel enjoying the Univ Ball held in July 2011.