Bowdoin's Young Alumni Leadership Program (YALP) is changing both its name and its approach this year in a move designed to ensure that all of its members are as dedicated as possible to strengthening their relationship with Bowdoin after they graduate.

Starting this year, YALP will be replaced with the new Senior Class Leadership Project (SCLP). The SCLP plans to make its recruiting process more active and selective than YALP's approach in previous years.

The change has been met with mostly positive reviews from program alumni.

"I am very thrilled to hear that YALP is going through an admissions process change... I hope this change will make it so more members feel this is an honor to be accepted into YALP (the way it should be) rather than [a] right," wrote YALP alumnus Maxine Janes '10 in an email to the Orient.

Fellow YALP alumnus Patrick Costello '06 agreed.

"I could see why they would change it because there [are] a large number of people who sign up and then don't really participate," he wrote.

YALP was founded in 1998 by members of the senior class who wanted to "instill in the students while they were still here...a connection to Bowdoin that would last post-graduation and to keep Bowdoin relevant in people's lives," said Randy Shaw, vice president for development and alumni relations.

Unlike similar programs at schools comparable to Bowdoin, YALP focused exclusively on preparing seniors to become active alumni.

Middlebury College Assistant Director of Annual Giving Jen Conetta said that "there isn't [a specific group] for alumni leadership" at Middlebury.

Colby College has a program that is similar in scope to YALP, but it is not as well-developed, according to administrators there.

"The YALP program at Bowdoin, which I am quite familiar with, is much more developed that the corollary program here, and has resources and staffing that, at the present moment, Colby does not," wrote Lisa Tessler, Colby's director of donor relations and philanthropic events, in an email to the Orient.

At Bowdoin, YALP offered an open invitation to the members of each senior class to learn how they could volunteer their time or make monetary contributions to the College as alumni.

Throughout their senior year, YALP participants attended several different meetings with administrators and alumni in order to gain behind-the-scenes knowledge of Bowdoin's relationship with its alumni. Then, at the end of their senior year, YALP members were formally invited to become volunteers for the College.

YALP volunteers participated in such programs as the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network; BASIC, which matches prospective students with alumni interviewers; the Office of Alumni Relations, which is involved in planning Homecoming and class reunions; and annual giving.

After its first few years, student interest in YALP began to plateau.

"What we came to realize was [that] we were reaching a segment of the class but not the whole...What we really wanted was to have a much broader impact," said Shaw.

Dan Robinson, who assumed leadership of YALP in August when he began working for the College as an assistant director of annual giving, created the SCLP after speaking with administrators and former YALP participants about the narrowness of YALP's influence in the senior class.

The name change was intended "to clear up any confusion about who the program was targeted at. These are not alumni who are participating, it's members of the senior class," Robinson said.

Robinson's primary goal is to reach more members of the senior class by creating a recruiting process that will be very different from YALP's.

"While anyone who wants to participate will still be given the opportunity to, we're going to be much more intentional in recruiting students to participate," Robinson said.

He aims to include approximately 7 percent of the senior class in the SCLP. In 2009 and 2010, YALP participants also represented approximately 7 percent of the senior class.

Robinson plans to hire three seniors to act as student directors for the program. These students will then be involved in the recruitment and training of class agents. Class agents will be a diverse group of seniors, who coaches, faculty, peers, class council members, and others identify as good candidates for the program.

Robinson stressed the specificity of a class agent's role in comparison to that of a YALP member. Class agents will be responsible for keeping track of their classmates after graduation, for disseminating news about events planned by the Office of Alumni Relations, and for encouraging them to support the College financially.

Unlike YALP participants, SCLP class agents will make an upfront commitment to supporting Bowdoin through volunteerism.

Robinson wants the SCLP's mission to be very clear from the outset.

"It's about saying, 'Listen, Bowdoin needs you after you graduate and we have this great program that will teach you how you can best be involved,'" he said.