Alumni representative report to the ISU Community (wrt to...

Abdul M. Ismail Discussion started by Abdul M. Ismail 8 years ago

Dear ISU communiity,


[Disclaimer: This report was not endorsed by ISU HQ and represents the views of the Alumni Representative to the BOT]

This report blends information presented at the BOT50 as well as communication between the Alumni Representative and a number of ISU Executives/staff (e.g. external relations/alumni affairs/IT) together with thoughts/suggestions/input from the ISU Alumni Organisation Presidents/Working Group Chairs.



Most Alumni Organisations, ISU’s Head of External Relations, Alumni Affairs POC (point of contact) at ISUHQ and the Alumni Rep concurred that there is a need for a new communication tool to reach out to the alumni which needs to be put in place

      • A similar conclusion was reached independently but proves the majority of the community has the same thoughts on this issue
      • Only one Alumni Organisation (ISU*USA) disagreed with a need for change to the communication structure and mentioned there’s already an ISU LinkedIn group
      • The disconnect results from the official communication tools (ISU News and Talk) being obsolete (which will be discontinued). Connect2ISU has >80% of the community’s correct details yet so far only ~2.7% subscribe to the ISU Talk group on Connect2ISU and ~3.5% of the community subscribe to ISU News group on Connect2ISU


Prior the Alumni Rep’s arrival in Strasbourg, ISU independently decided to consolidate communication to the Connect2ISU platform (which was welcomed)

  • Most other forums (facebook groups, Twitter etc.) will stay intact but Connect2ISU will be the official platform


The suggestion was to subscribe the entire community but possess an option to opt out

Although the old ISU Talk/News e-mail was considered outdated, the Alumni Rep reiterated the previous ISU President’s phrase that the institution is now inter-generational (i.e. the 4th“i”) and that e-mail should be kept as an option – as a daily e-digest similar to the AIAA’s Daily Launch

The Alumni Rep proposed we attempt to create a Smartphone App to keep up with the times

The proposed date for re-launch of ISU’s updated communication system is planned for 15thAugust 2014

Connect2ISU is still a bit slow and the servers have to be updated in order to accommodate the additional traffic

Encourage the establishment of Regional and National Alumni Organisations

  • Reinitiate the European Alumni Association (existing European alumni organisations will not be affected)
  • ISU*Latin America
  • ISU*China



Income generation:

ISU Consulting

One element which has proven to be profit making is the ISU Research aspect led by Dr. Angie Bukley

Both the Austrian Space Forum (ASF) and the Alumni Rep came up with an idea (again, independently) that the alums could team up with ISU Faculty and bid for contracts

ISU Faculty could act as project managers/mentors which would a) enhance the proposal’s resume and b) provide expert guidance

The collaboration would not be under the ISU banner but as an independent joint venture entity.

  • Since such an entity does not yet exist and there is no need to establish one until it is proven that this proposed alumni organisation/ISU Faculty effort will be successful, the alumni organisation/ISU Faculty shall make independent arrangements

One ISU Professor is interested to collaborate with ASF and this message was conveyed to the ASF for action

This effort would be a win-win situation since a successful contract award will result in;

      • a) the alumni having an opportunity to get paid for what they want to do and help building up their professional resume
      • b) ISU Faculty will get compensated for their services
      • c) the proposed Alumni Organisation would generate revenue (in order to hire full-time staff for administration)
      • d) a percentage of the contract fee could be donated for scholarships (initially retained by the alumni organisation until an International Alumni Organisation can be established)

Revenue from donors (the objective from an alumni point of view is to establish an independent but affiliated Alumni Organisation)

The Chairman’s Circle was formed as an alumni organisation within the alumni organisation and consists of ISU alums who are playing an active role in fund raising

    • This was an independently developed effort by alums on the BOT and is totally independent to the Alumni Rep’s idea of generating funds from donor organisations and philanthropists  to finance an independent ISU Alumni Organisation


The Alumni Representative felt that in order to finance an independent Alumni Organisation, an independent fund raising effort would be required which will avoid those that already;

      • finance the ISU (past and present);
      • approached by the ISU or the Chairman’s Circle


The objective will be work with the Alumni Organisations around the world and draw up a list of non-conventional/non-space related philanthropists

  • This list will be cross-referenced with ISU/Chairman’s Circle to avoid conflict of interest
  • An approach will be defined in association with the Alumni Organisations
  • With the consent of ISU Executives, the Alumni Organisations will approach  these potential donors – to fund the Alumni Organisations
  • This is because there was a feeling that strengthening an ISU Alumni community will in turn make ISU as an institution more attractive

IAO Credit Card

    • An effort will be made to see if it’s possible to obtain an Alumni Organisation Credit Card which can assist in generating revenue every time the Credit Card is used




It was found that there currently is no skill-set to enhance the Connect2ISU database in preparation for the proposed ISU Consulting effort or to develop a Smartphone App

In order to locate a partner within the ISU community, the fields within the Connect2ISU database should be enhanced to include;

  • Profession (e.g. propulsion), specialisation (e.g. electric, chemical or advanced) etc. The idea would be to fine-tune the search to locate a specific partner
  • The database should also highlight if the potential partner would be willing to collaborate or if there are any restrictions (e.g. ITAR) otherwise they would not show up in that search


The Smartphone App would be a welcome addition to the community’s communication tool but volunteers must be sought to introduce this application

A suggestion was to invite IT minded individuals from the community who can volunteer to participate in the ISU IT Committee headed by Joel Herrmann and to develop these elements for the institution and the community


In summary…

  • It was felt that in order to achieve the manifesto objectives (which interrelate with my mandate), it was first of all necessary to take corrective measures regarding communication between the community, focus on raising revenue as well as initiate collaborative efforts between alumni (or alumni organisations) and faculty.
  • These three action items will serve to highlight the benefit of remaining part of the alumni community via achievable milestones. Only once revenue begins to flow can we attempt to establish a ‘parent’ ISU alumni organisation which will retain strong links to the ISU institution.
  • The objective of the next six months is to achieve some elements of the aforementioned; albeit it is recognised that raising funds may take a great deal longer.


If any alums wish to contact me directly, they can do so at


Abdul M. Ismail, MSS2001