10 Big Takeaways from our Annual Survey

10 Big Takeaways from our Annual Survey

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The results are in! Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our Annual Alumni & Friends survey. We sent 5,000+ survey invites and received a 10% response rate, which is quite good. Without further ado, here’s what we heard:

1. We Like Being in the Loop!

77% of respondents stay connected to Chewonki because they like receiving news and updates about happenings on the Neck. Almost as many (68%) stay connected because they find the Chewonki community energizing and inspiring. Aww, shucks, thanks for the affirmation! We’ll do our best to keep you informed about all the exciting things happening on campus and in the lives of fellow alumni and friends. If you’re a little behind, check out our recent stories here.

2. We Love to Learn

When asked about events and other offerings, respondents were most interested in the intellectual, scholarly, and educational. Keep your eyes open for a virtual farm and food systems event with Megan Phillips in January, and if you missed it, check out the recording of Mission-Centered Design: The Chewonki Eastside Campus

3. You Cannot Wait to Get Together

…Particularly if you’re on the younger side. Young alumni expressed interest in regional gatherings and on-campus reunions and were also more likely to value Chewonki for social and professional connections. Make sure your address is up to date to get notifications about future events near you.

4. You Want to Introduce your Children to Chewonki

Parent-aged alumni want to hear about program opportunities and deadlines, custom family adventure travel and family camp, and other family-friendly offerings. Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Camp Chewonki, Maine Coast Semester, or the Elementary and Middle School

5. You are Not a Monolithic Group and There are No “Typical” Chewonki Alumni

We are from different backgrounds and came to Chewonki for different reasons. Alumni represent a spectrum of opinions, professions, and interests – not to mention a variety of ages and other demographics. We are individuals connected by an important experience, a special place, and a love for the natural world. That’s why were committed to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution.

6. Big Eddy is Going to be Popular this Year

Over 40% of respondents were interested in campsite rentals. Did you know that we’re booking for 2021 already? 

Chewonki 2012, scenic near Big Eddy, East Branch of the Penobscot River, Mount Katahdin

7. We’re Ready For Our Next Chewonki Adventure

We were excited to see high levels of interest in custom adventure travel and adult courses – like backcountry first aid and expedition leadership. Look for news about upcoming courses here and check out our custom offerings for alumni and families.

8. Alumni Love Our Publications!

Of those who rated our weekly newsletter, Chewonki Connects, 88% gave us marks of above average or excellent. And, of those who rated our annual print magazine, The Chewonki Chronicle, 94% gave us marks of above average or excellent. Of the remaining readers, 0% gave us marks below average. Wow!  Thank you! Send us a quick email (alumni@chewonki.org) if you’d don’t receive the Chewonki Chronicle but would like to.



9. We Want to Hear Stories that are Thoughtful, Inspiring, and Relevant

Alumni and friends love hearing about our work in the local community and want to hear more about the farm and natural history. We also want to know what other alumni are up to and when they’ll be opportunities to gather, whether in-person or virtually. Most of all, readers want to hear more about Chewonki’s education philosophy, mission, and principles.  Alumni also like program updates, but only if it’s their program. 🤔 Do you have a story to share? Send us a tip alumni@chewonki.org

10. We’re Skilled and Generous

It was heartening to see so much interest in volunteer opportunities and many alumni wrote about specific skills they would like to contribute. Many were particularly interested in submitting content for the Chewonki blog and serving on a committee. That is excellent. More information will be coming in the new year and until then, please consider making a donation to the Chewonki annual fund.

Bonus Takeaway: Chewonki is an Irreplaceable, Transformative Experience

Thanks for submitting so many incredible testimonials. At the end of a very long year, our alumni inspire us to keep going! Until next year – wishing you a safe, warm, and happy December.