New online service will unite alumni
Calvin to launch "uKnight" this spring

Uniting over 57,000 alumni who live in 100 different countries and every state and province is no easy task. However, the development of online social networking tools is shortening the distances between Calvin alumni.

Get Started

  1. Log on to uKnight and register with your alumni ID What's my ID?
  2. Update your profile
  3. Begin searching for fellow alumni and connecting with them
  4. Invite other alumni to join thereby vastly increasing the network

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Calvin is venturing into the vibrant domain of social networking with the upcoming launch of uKnight, an online community exclusively for Calvin alumni and special friends. Having witnessed from the sidelines the genesis and exponential growth of social networking giants such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and others, the Calvin Alumni Association saw a new opportunity to unite alumni with one other and the college.

"The real power behind many social networks is allowing individuals to make direct, meaningful connections with their family and friends,” said Luke Robinson ’96, Web manager at Calvin.

uKnightIf Facebook is likened to “the pub” and LinkedIn to “the conference room,” then uKnight is the online “Johnny’s (The Commons Coffee Shop),” a virtual extension of campus.

The new online community was recently named uKnight, with the subtitle “Uniting Calvin Alumni.” The site, for Calvin alumni and staff, provides a secure environment for members to network and reconnect with one other. Unlike many other social networking sites with open borders, membership to uKnight will require being an alumna/alumnus of Calvin or an authorized user therby ensuring one’s privacy. The service will make it easy to find a former classmate and contact them. Networking with Calvin alumni in a particular career field or connecting with alumni in one’s city are a few of the many features that uKnight will offer to its members.

Speaking about uKnight, Norm Zylstra, coordinator of student and young alumni programs said the site will “help uncover the Calvin network.” He added, “We are trying to build a mutually beneficial relationship.” It is hoped that the site will foster and enable greater alumni connection with the college and amongst themselves.

Moreover, uKnight will feature online event registrations, e-mail-forwarding (as in news relevant to alumni and online discussion boards. In short, uKnight aims to deliver genuinely Calvin-specific content not available elsewhere.

But this not Facebook, warns Tommy Heyboer ’08, the e-communication coordinator for the alumni office. “We are not trying to compete with Facebook nor any other social networking platform out there, but rather work with and through these tools to make it easier for alumni to network with one other.” He added that uKnight will, however, provide a secure community with full access to the Calvin alumni directory. “Facebook can’t offer alumni that,” said Heyboer.

The beta-testing and feedback for uKnight are in their final stages. Heyboer has welcomed the feedback: “We really want this community to be valuable to alumni; therefore, a wide variety of opinions and feedback was essential to creating a vibrant and successful online community.”

The site is slated to be gradually launched in the coming months.