BITSAA ( BITS Alumni Association) is the university’s amazing alumni network. BITSAA has been steadily growing in size and in the scope of work it does. It tracks over 1,50,000+ alumni creating a thriving community. There are currently 110 chapters worldwide, across India, the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, under BITSAA. Over 100 student and alumni volunteers come together to run the various initiatives serving BITSians.
Before the pandemic, BITSAA hosted in-person events in India and the US, while Europe hosted a mix of both. The events were mainly for creating and fostering alumni connections to keep the community going.
After the pandemic hit, the larger chapters have been meeting virtually. BITSAA has successfully hosted 13 events on Airmeet since then. Let’s explore how Airmeet’s social webinar features proved to be the perfect solution for BITSAA to continue its community-building efforts via their events.
Challenges (and solutions)
Challenge 1: Hosting an extremely engaging virtual event to promote networking
Srikar Goud Nagelli, VP chapter relations team at BITSAA, mentioned that with the BITS Gala this time, along with the alumni interactions, they wanted to have current students meet with seniors and alumni too. These new students had had no experience of campus life as everything was online. They wanted the Gala to serve as a way for these students to interact with senior students and alumni. The main goal for this event was getting people to engage.
Airmeet helped the various chapters of BITSAA host immersive interactive events with excellent networking opportunities. The events had a mix of live performances on the virtual stage, participant addresses and mainly networking sessions. Airmeet social webinar features that facilitated this included-
Social Lounge: This unique feature played a significant role in humanising the event. Srikar noted, “In the Airmeet Social Lounge, people were freely moving from one table to another, themselves. Comparing this to a Zoom breakout room, where the moderator has to keep moving people from one room to another, not knowing if they are comfortable there or not, here people had the freedom to move by themselves. That was similar to a physical meet in a ballroom where people can walk around and meet others and are happy to network. We had dedicated the last 45 minutes completely for networking which in reality went on for much much longer.”
Chat: Airmeet’s easily accessible group and private chat feature helped the attendees to connect easily. Srikar mentioned, “The chat feature was very engaging. Being able to get the chats in excel format later along with the attendee’s details was extremely helpful to understand engagement levels.”
Emojis: This feature allowed people to show their appreciation throughout the performances on stage. The emojis helped create a dynamic environment where people could participate and encourage those on stage without disrupting the actual performance.
Invite-to-stage: Srikar found this feature to be very useful. Any attendee who wanted to come on stage could click on ‘raise hand’, and the host could put them on the stage via this feature. This way, the host could control who had the spotlight.
Speed networking: The Gala was all about casual networking between the different guests. Speed networking helped attendees to connect with interesting matches. The matching was based on the information shared upon registering for the event, including organisation and designation, batch year, campus etc.much
Challenge 2: Hosting a unique, glitch-free event
Srikar talked about how they felt that people are experiencing Zoom fatigue and, therefore, generally less inclined to sit through a virtual event. They wanted to host an event that could recreate a physical event-like vibe. Airmeet helped them achieve this through-
Backdrop: Having a customisable backdrop really helped bring a professional look to the event, giving a great branding opportunity.
Backstage: Srikar mentioned that the backstage feature helped create an environment similar to a physical event. The participants could meet backstage to discuss matters before going live in front of the audience.
Play videos: The hosts were able to upload and seamlessly play videos where required without any glitches. That helped in the smooth execution of the event.
Besides these features, Srikar also appreciated the Test runs and help videos, Analytics, and the ability to stream live to Youtube, all of which helped BITSAA pull off a fun and engaging event. The Gala was spread across two weekends. Each chapter hosted its event, and BITSAA had 13 different events overall with parallel sessions. The average event lasted for two to two and a half hours, with about 150 people in attendance, per session.
Srikar shared, “We have one event every year called the BITSian’s Day. This event is usually hosted on the 1st Friday of August. On this day, separate physical events are held across the globe in accordance with convenient time zones and alumni the world over will meet and connect. The challenge this year is to have everyone come in and connect virtually.
BITS Gala was like our pilot event, for this larger event, to understand the features and familiarise our folks with the platform. We’re looking for a platform with these rich features to enable interaction.
We raise a lot of funds for different causes through these events. So it’s important to get as many people to attend these events as possible. A platform like Airmeet that can support large numbers with quality and afford great networking will be perfect for our annual meet.”
Book a demo today to see how you can host great events for your community on Airmeet!