Report on the AAC National Conference, 1971, page 1

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          August 3, 1971

To: President Peterson
From: Nora Percival
Re: Report on the AAC National Conference

The dominant thrust of this year's conference in Washington was
really an exploration of survival methods. From the first general
session, the emphasis was on ways of dealing with this year's crop
of campus problems (which some feel to be even more pernicious
than rebelling students) -- dwindling student interest in education,
dwindling alumni support, dwindling income in the face of rising
costs, and dwindling credibility for educational philosophies.

The alumni business is in a precarious state, and new ways must
be found to counteract the downward trends. Knowledgeable people
in many related areas were heard from in the search for prescriptions
for our common disease -- members of the press educational staffs,
the president of the National Center for Voluntary Action (in joint
session with ACPRA), Newsweek's editor-in-chief Osborn Elliott,
Secretary of the Treasury John Connaly, and a couple of college
presidents -- as well as a full range of top AAC members. The
group discussions were, I felt, especially valuable, providing
an exchange of ideas with people having similar concerns and

Some main points that emerged from the conference: volunteerism
needs a higher profile to supply the meaningful programs needed by
the youngest alumni, who need support of their impulses to serve;
continuing education opportunities for graduates are a strong and
growing trend (some schools are already offering lifetime education
opportunities); a positive way to involve young alumnae in their
organizations is to develop more points of contact during their
student days; because public -- especially federal -- support will
be more and more vital, higher education must learn how to "sell
itself” more effectively to the community, on every level all the
way up to the national -- self-evaluation programs are necessary to
achieve this goal.

The women's colleges gave the impression of being, in general,
on a less precarious footing than many others. Most of us felt,
I think, that we could have a great deal to offer each other and
should develop more joint programs. The women's lib theme was in
evidence in several sessions, particularly in a communications
panel on the subject in which Emily Flint (Barnard '30) participated
most effectively, and which produced some very lively exchanges
on role stereotypes in alumni reporting.