Here Is Ursa Major

We built the entire media production culture at Northwestern together. It’s time to build our own alumni network.

We are thrilled to announce Ursa Major, a national network for NU alumni who participated in the student-run film groups on campus: the Niteskool crews, the NSTV writers, the NU Channel 1 showrunners, the Studio 22 boards, the URSA reps, the NUWFA grant winners — everyone who paid their dues on set, who survived the pitch process, who gave back to the community and believed in student film — if you were part of the scene, we want you to come home.

Join us today by filling out this membership form. All we need at this point is your basic contact information, your location and job, your student group affiliations (i.e. the clubs you feel a lasting connection with, the ones you’d most readily follow and support in the future), and some general idea of what you did in college and what you’re up to now.

We’ll be in touch with the next steps. The club is in its initial start-up and construction phase, with a target date of full operations by fall quarter 2017.

Call-to-arms

Ursa Major is guided by these two convictions:

  1. That there is something inherently special and unique about the Northwestern student film scene, which seems to attract (or create) people with certain excellent qualities unbound by any particular time period or social context. No matter what the era, or what constitutes “student film” at the time (be it 16mm on a Bolex, or the immersive 360° VR of tomorrow), there is so much shared in common by the old-timers and up-and-comers alike who all cut their teeth on the same campus in Evanston — and so much value we could add to one another, if given the chance to meet.
  2. Technology makes it easier now than any other time in human history to stay in touch and meet new people. You just have to find someone willing to put in the work of actually making the mailing lists, the outreach strategy, the communication infrastructure, the in-person events…

Ursa Major intends to put in the work.

Cost: $0

There are no annual dues, and there never will be.

Officially unofficial

Ursa Major is different from the “official” alumni clubs run by the university, like the regional NAA clubs, or NUEA East and West.

For one thing, we are not open to everyone; membership is limited to those who share a very specific Northwestern experience. And as an independent organization wholly owned and operated by alumni, we are not beholden to the needs of NU employees and staff. We are under no obligation to circulate glossy promos from the school’s marketing department, or hit you up for donations to the capital campaign. We can set our own agenda, focusing solely on the things we care about.

Project #1

Our first initiative is to create a Google Group for each alumni cohort.

A Google Group looks like this.

That way, each graduating class will have its own listserv/discussion forum, making it easy to stay in touch as a group, or reconnect with classmates with whom you’ve lost touch.

Breaking out the discussion by cohort means you’ll already know many of the people in your group, which will hopefully lead to more candid conversations than would otherwise be possible in a single, all-club listserv shared by hundreds of strangers. Plus, the people you graduated with are likely to be in the same life phase as you: new grads can seek roommates as they move out to the latest trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn; seasoned grads can swap intel on the best daycares and preschools in Hollywood.

All members will have full control over their subscription settings. If you don’t want to get an email every time someone replies to a thread, you can opt for daily summaries, or turn off notifications completely, while still retaining access to the forum. Participation is totally optional. You can leave or rejoin the group at any time.

There are more projects currently in development, which we’ll announce in the coming months.

Till then,

fill out the membership form, and spread the word.

Ursa Major has arrived. Let’s build it together.