On March 19, Baldwin Wallace University will kick off its all-new virtual book club, in which alumni and faculty members can participate. BW is partnering with the online program Professional Book Club Guru (PBC Guru) to help this program launch as successfully as possible.
The idea for a virtual book club started as the Alumni Relations Office began finding difficulties engaging the BW alumni that are not local.
“We are always looking out for ways that alumni who do not live locally [can] be engaged with BW. This book club allows us to do just that,” said Marget Butzow, Alumni & Community Engagement Associate
When searching for an organization to partner with for the virtual book club, the BW Alumni Office gravitated toward PBC Guru because of the structure of their program. PBC Guru is an online forum-based program in which participants are assigned to read one book every month. The program allows participants to choose their level of engagement.
“Participants can log on and participate in discussing about the book every day or they can log on every so often and read the discussion posts. The level of engagement is all up to the participant,” Butzow said.
The participants in the book club will read a variety of books every two months. The first book, The Power of Habit, is written by Charles Duhigg and explores “the science behind habit creation and reformation” said U.S.A. Today.
The books chosen for the book club are primarily books that promote “lifelong learning,” said Butzow. Some books will focus on business, psychology, and social issues.
While the program is just beginning this year, the Alumni Relations Office is already looking for ways that the program can expand in the future. Butzow said that the University may look into creating separate book clubs for different departments of the school. For example, there would be a business book club where specific business books are assigned. However, this advancement may not occur until many years in the future.
As of March 12, there are 225 members signed up for the book club. This is on par with other universities that are of similar size as BW.
Butzow said that BW’s alumni office is “very excited and confident” that the book club will be successful in engaging the non-local alumni base.