Ryan Chartrand

The intimidation of online networking Web sites existing primarily for the high school-and college -aged is no longer a problem for Cal Poly alumni.

Cal Poly Alumni Association has launched its new Web site PolyLink as an online community open only to Cal Poly alumni and select staff at http://www.alumni.calpoly.edu.

“The Alumni Association had been talking about creating a Web site like this for four years; not because it was trendy but because alumni requested it,” said Kim Gannon, director of alumni relations.

“We didn’t really have a good way of communicating information without constantly being a mediator.

“Our traditional method of keeping alumni in contact with one another was a printed directory, but it was a huge project involving printing information that immediately needed refreshing.”

The last printed alumni directory was released in 2003.

“We’re currently deciding whether to continue printing a directory or switch completely to online,” said Gannon.

PolyLink is free to the 120,000 alumni in the university’s database. Only 40,000 of that group have e-mail addresses included. Those who did not make their e-mail addresses available and would like to access the Web site will be directed to an online form to be verified and added to the list.

A degree is not necessary to join. All former undergraduate students who satisfactorily completed at least 36 units of coursework are considered alumni.

Information available on all former students includes name, class year and primary major.

“It will be useful in keeping a connection between Cal Poly and its alumni,” said Chris McBride, assistant director for special events.

“We’re currently informing people through e-mail as well as announcements in the Cal Poly Magazine.”

Applications and benefits of registering with PolyLink include a search option to locate classmates, photo galleries, career networking, message boards, travel information, event updates, customized university and alumni news notifications and the overall ability to keep in touch with a mass group through modern technology.

“As opposed to Web sites like Myspace.com and Facebook.com, PolyLink is designed to be more professional,” Gannon said.

“Those sites appear to be focused on socializing while PolyLink is both for social and professional purposes, created to be kept in the Cal Poly family.”

The Alumni Association plans to offer exclusive membership for faculty, current and retired staff in the future.

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