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If there is any way to incorporate a digital learning platform in the learning experience, and invite alumni in, that can help. Northwestern does this with some success as Keeley has pointed out. But taking it further, by active back-channel outreach to ask alumni to respond to student's questions could help as well. Draw them in and show them they can provide value; that their experiences when shared can help others. The platform could also then be used to help market the local events and build enthusiasm around them, both before and after (by encouraging people to post photos and blog about the experience).