Colleges are tapping into alumni information posted on Facebook profiles.

A single class picture can connect hundreds of alums with each other and their alma maters. U For Life, a Facebook application launched in December and used at 10 colleges and universities, lets schools digitize sentimental material not often accessible online, including yearbooks, sports guides, and newsletters.

Alumni relations officials said the viral effect of tagging old class photos on Facebook alerts former classmates that they’ve been identified on the social media site and draws them to the university’s Facebook page.

From there, if they’re willing to let their alma mater access information listed on Facebook—such as eMail and home addresses, phone numbers, and places of employment—the alum can access the U For Life application and connect with friends from back in the dormitory and student union.

King Logan, information systems specialist for Tulane University’s Office of Alumni Affairs, said before Facebook use spread beyond current college students, the school had to rely on alums to update their addresses and contact information through Tulane’s alumni website.

That meant only the “most involved” alums would have up-to-date information that alumni affairs officials need when organizing an alumni event or targeting former students during fundraising campaigns, he said.

And even some alums who stayed in contact with Tulane would only update their eMail address, leaving gaps in the university’s database.


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