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Northwestern University Alumni Relations and Development Privacy Policy

Effective: May 24, 2018  
Last updated: May 24, 2018  


Northwestern University Alumni Relations and Development (“Northwestern ARD,” “we,” “us,” and “our”) recognizes that alumni and visitors to our sites (“you” and “your”) have a right to know how we collect, store, and use the information you provide to us. This Privacy Policy describes the types of information we collect from and about you when you visit this website (and other online properties managed by Northwestern ARD), how we may use and disclose such information, and your ability to control certain uses of it.

Northwestern ARD operates several websites, including:

  • northwestern.edu (“Northwestern Alumni Association website”);
  • northwestern.edu (“Our Northwestern”);
  • northwestern.edu (“We Will”);
  • the Northwestern community directory (“the Directory”);
  • northwestern.edu (“the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program”); and,
  • northwestern.edu (“Catalyzer,” Northwestern’s crowdfunding platform).

Who to Contact

If you have questions about deleting or correcting your personal data, please contact Northwestern ARD User Services at arduserservices@northwestern.edu.

Data We Collect and Hold

A significant proportion of the information we hold on alumni is that which you provide to us; for example, you may give us information by filling in forms on the University’s website, or by corresponding with us by telephone, email, or otherwise. If you are a student or studied at Northwestern University, some of your personal data is transferred from your student record to the University’s alumni database.

  • Most records contain:
  • Education details (e.g. degree type, school, major, year)
  • Unique personal identifiers and biographical information (e.g. student identification number, date of birth, ethnicity, citizenship)
  • Your contact information (e.g. email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses)
  • Your interactions with the University, the Northwestern Alumni Association, and schools and/or programs, including:
    • your membership in alumni clubs, giving societies, and alumni groups
    • your attendance at University events
    • your volunteer participation with the University
    • other contact with us or our partners (as listed below)
    • details of benefits and services provided to you
    • your relationships with other alumni or supporters of the University
    • your participation in student activities and varsity sports
    • your participation in online programming such as webinars and the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program

  • Family information (e.g. your marital status, the name of your partner or spouse, children names if provided by you or if children are themselves alumni)
  • Personal information provided by you for a specific purpose (e.g. disability and dietary preferences for event management purposes)
  • Communication preferences (to help us provide tailored and relevant communications)
  • Employment information
  • Financial information relating to you and your family, including:
    • your history of donations made to the University
    • your ability and willingness to make donations, including our assessment of your capacity and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you
    • your philanthropic interests
  • your career highlights and other life achievements
  • information about your areas of interest and activities

We augment the data we hold from the University and the schools with data from our partners (as listed below) and publicly available data. We use targeted internet searches and may search the following websites (either directly or using search engines), where relevant in order to obtain and maintain the accuracy of the data listed above:

  • Sources for companies (to find personal data of those companies’ employees, etc.):
    • LinkedIn
    • LiveAlumni
    • D&B Supplier  
    • Company websites
    • News publications
  • Sources for charities (to find information about donations and support):
    • Foundation Directory
    • GuideStar US for US non-profits
    • Charity Commission and other internet sources for UK non-profits
  • Sources for individuals:
    • Data vendors and services, including but not limited to: AlumniFinder, AlumniSync, Blackbaud, Clean Address, Community Funded, County assessor office websites, DonorSearch, Donor Watch, employer websites, EverTrue, iModules, Infogroup, Intelligize, iWave, Jive, LandmarkGlobal, Legacy.com, Lexis Nexis, LiveAlumni, ObituaryData, Redfin, Relationship Science, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, Scalefunder, secretary of state office websites, social networks, Stirista, Trulia, Uprising Technology, Wealth-X, Wealth Engine, White Pages, Xinspire, Yahoo Finance, Zillow, Zoominfo
    • Lists of affluent individuals, including published lists
    • National change of address services
  • Press sources:
    • Factiva (subscription) for international press
    • Lexis Diligence (subscription) for negative press for due diligence purposes


Data Collected by Website Usage  

Northwestern ARD collects non-personally identifying data that web browsers and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. Northwestern ARD’s purpose in collecting non-personally identifying information is to better understand how visitors use Our Northwestern and the ARD-managed websites. From time to time, Northwestern ARD may release non-personally identifying information in the aggregate, e.g., by publishing a report on trends in the usage of Our Northwestern and the Northwestern Alumni Association website.

Northwestern ARD collects certain personally-identifiable data, such as your name, telephone number, and e-mail address, if you choose to register on our website, attend an event, or participate in one of our programs. We don’t require you to register or provide personally-identifiable information to view our site or access much of its content but, if you register, you may use certain additional features that allow you to interact with us. In each case, Northwestern ARD collects such information only insofar as is necessary or appropriate to fulfill the purpose of the visitor’s interaction with Northwestern ARD and to validate the current contact information we have on file for you. Northwestern ARD does not disclose personally identifying information other than as described below. Additionally, visitors may refuse to supply personally identifying information, with the caveat that this may prevent them from engaging in certain website-related activities. Sharing this additional information with us also helps us customize your website experience and interactions.

Here are the ways we collect personally-identifiable data:

  • Comments and other interactive features: When you participate in interactive features on our site you may submit information and content, such as comments to the site. You may also provide us with certain information like your e-mail address or city and state. We may use this information to contact you about the content you have provided or to post with your content. Remember that what you post or upload to the site will be publicly available, so please exercise caution when deciding whether to disclose anything personal about yourself. Northwestern ARD does not assume responsibility for the actions of third parties who may view the website and use publicly-available information for their own purposes.
  • Contact information updates: When you update your contact information via the Our Northwestern profile or the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program that information is stored by Northwestern to update your record.
  • Email: When you ask us to send you newsletters, brochures, or other content by e-mail, you may provide us with certain information like your e-mail address so we can fulfill your request.
  • Event registration: You may choose to register for events on one or more of our sites. In the registration process, we request certain information (such as your contact information or class year) so we can provide you with the communications you request, tailor our website to better meet your needs, and customize our contacts with you.
  • Online giving: When you make a gift to Northwestern via the online gift form or Catalyzer, you must provide personal information in order to complete the transaction. The required fields are: Name, title, email address, billing phone number and address, and credit card information. We store a record of the transaction; however, Northwestern ARD does not store credit card numbers and expiration dates, except to administer scheduled payments through a vendor-provided PCI-compliant solution.
  • Surveys and questionnaires: We may ask our website visitors, registrants, and/or donors to complete surveys and opinion polls to provide feedback on activities, attitudes, and interests. These surveys help us understand the needs of our visitors.


Data Collected by Automated Means

We may use cookies, web beacons/pixel tags, log files, and other technologies to collect certain information about visitors to our website, use of our online services, and interactions with our emails and online advertisements. For example, through these means, we may automatically collect information such as your browser type, operating system, mobile device type and carrier, Internet service provider (“ISP”), and IP address. We may also collect information about your use of and interaction with the website (such as the webpages viewed, whether you open, forward, or click-through links, emails, and ads) and other site usage data. Collecting this information, and linking it with your personally-identifiable information, helps us to best tailor our website and enhance your online experience by saving your preferences while you are visiting a particular site, and to help identify site features and content that may be of particular interest to you.


You can set your Internet browser settings to stop accepting new cookies, to receive notice when you receive a new cookie, to disable existing cookies, and to omit images (which will disable pixel tags). Note that the opt-out will apply only to the browser that you are using when you adjust your tracking settings or cookie preferences. Our system may not respond to Do Not Track requests or headers from some or all browsers. Without cookies or pixel tags though, you may not be able to take full advantage of all of our website features.

Third parties, such as Facebook, may use cookies, web beacons, and other storage technologies to collect or receive information from Northwestern ARD websites and elsewhere on the Internet and use that information to provide measurement services and target ads. To opt out of such third-party use, you may use one of these tools: http://www.aboutads.info/choices (US) and http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/ (EU).

How We Use Your Data

  • Your data is used by us for a number of interdependent purposes in support of alumni relations, communications, and fundraising. These include:
  • sending you publications (e.g. alumni magazines and updates about the University)
  • conducting surveys, including research on when and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you
  • providing services, including access to University facilities and alumni email accounts
  • sending you tailored proposals, appeals, and requests for donations
  • sending you details of volunteering opportunities
  • inviting you to alumni and other University events
  • the promotion of other opportunities and services available to you (e.g. offers and opportunities available through the University’s network of alumni clubs)
  • wealth analysis and research in order to improve our understanding of our alumni and supporters, inform our fundraising strategy, and target our communications more effectively
  • internal record keeping, including the management of any feedback or complaints
  • administrative purposes (e.g. in order to process a donation you have made or to administer an event you have registered for or attended)

Communications to you may be sent by postal mail, telephone, or electronic means (principally by email), depending on the contact details we hold, the consent that you have provided, and the preferences expressed by you about the types of communications you wish to receive.

We may use automated or manual analyses to link data together to help us identify your potential for supporting the University, schools, and programs. We do these analyses to provide you with an improved experience, to send you communications which are relevant and timely, to identify volunteering opportunities or opportunities for providing support which may be of interest to you, and to avoid approaching you with opportunities which are not of interest. All of this enables us to raise funds more cost-effectively and to be more responsible in our use of University funds, in support of the University’s strategic research and teaching objectives.

We always seek to ensure that any opportunities we present are aligned with your interests, based on the research we conduct.

If you have concerns or queries about any of these purposes, or how we communicate with you, please contact us using the details at the top of this Privacy Policy. We will always respect a request by you to stop processing your personal data.


How We Share Your Data

We do not sell or otherwise disclose personally identifiable information about our constituents and website visitors, except as described here. We do not share your personally identifiable information with unaffiliated third parties for their own marketing purposes without your consent.

We may share personally identifiable information we collect from and about you among Northwestern University programs and initiatives. We may also share the information with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf, such as to help run programs and provide customer service. These service providers may have access to personally-identifiable information about our website visitors if it is needed to perform their functions for Northwestern ARD, but they are not authorized by Northwestern ARD to use or disclose the information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or to comply with legal requirements. In addition, we may disclose information where we think it’s necessary to investigate or prevent an actual or suspected crime or injury to ourselves or others, if required by law, or in response to a request from law enforcement authorities or other government officials.

We may also share aggregated or de-identified information about you, including based on your email address, with our advertising and marketing partners, and third-party media platforms, including social media sites, to allow them to send targeted advertising messages and/or conduct analyses on our behalf. You may be able to opt out of these ads by clicking on an icon in the ad or through the privacy settings in each social media platform.


How We Protect Your Data

The security of personally-identifiable information is important to us. Northwestern ARD maintains administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction of the personally-identifiable information we collect on this website and via other online properties. While we make every effort to help ensure the integrity and security of our network and systems, we cannot guarantee our security measures.


Rights for European Union Residents Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

As of May 25, 2018, residents of the European Union member countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK) have these rights under GDPR:

  • Ask us for access to, or correction or erasure of your data
  • Restrict processing (pending correction or deletion)
  • Object to communications or direct marketing
  • Ask for the transfer of your data electronically to a third party (data portability)


Legal Basis for Processing Your Data Under GDPR

We rely on separate and overlapping bases to process your personal data lawfully, including to process a transaction you have requested, to carry out our responsibilities under a contract, or in certain cases to pursue Northwestern’s legitimate interests, where those interests are not overridden by your rights and interests. Northwestern ARD handles your personal data securely and takes proactive measures to minimize its use. In addition, there is no statutory or contractual requirement for you to provide us with any personal data. Some key facts and information about your data protection rights:

  • Please contact ARD at arduserservices@northwestern.edu if you have any concerns or questions about the above information or you wish to ask us not to process your personal data for particular purposes. Where you have specific requests relating to how we manage your data, we will endeavor to resolve these, but please note that there may be circumstances where we cannot comply with specific requests.
  • We will retain your data indefinitely in support of your lifelong relationship with the University or until you request us to do otherwise. We will publish on our website any changes we make to this data protection statement and notify you by other communication channels where appropriate.
  • Where you exercise your right to erasure, we will continue to maintain a core set of personal data (name, subject(s), matriculation and graduation details, unique University identification number and date of birth) to ensure we do not contact you inadvertently in future, and to maintain your academic record for archive purposes. We may also need to retain some financial records about you for statutory purposes (e.g. anti-fraud and accounting matters).
  • If you have any concerns about your personal data held by your school, you will need to contact the school directly.


Privacy Policy for the Northwestern Alumni Directory

Northwestern ARD maintains the Northwestern Community Directory (“the Directory”) for the purposes of facilitating interaction between alumni and allowing alumni to update their records in the University databases. The Our Northwestern system is user ID and password protected and may be accessed by authenticated alumni of Northwestern ARD, current students, approved University faculty and staff, and other authorized users. Users are responsible for all use of their name and password to gain access to the Directory and for the use of information as a result of such access. Users acknowledge that responsibility and agree not to share their password with any other person. Northwestern has taken precautions to secure the personal information available through Our Northwestern. However, it is the users’ responsibility to restrict or hide personal information that they do not wish to be generally available in the Northwestern system.

Alumni may opt-out of Our Northwestern and the Directory by emailing Northwestern ARD with the request to make one’s profile private; contact arduserservices@northwestern.edu. You may also opt-out by registering and editing one’s profile: To hide profile information, select “Edit Profile & Privacy,” select “Yes” to the question “Hide your profile?” which can be found under “Search Preferences." All users may also restrict individual elements of profile information by selecting the “Privacy Settings” tab and changing to “Only Me.” If you opt-out of the Northwestern system (i.e. choose to hide your entire record), you may forfeit access to the Directory. By default, the search results summary view displays these fields:

  • Name
  • Preferred email address
  • Preferred phone number
  • Your Northwestern affiliation (student, alumnus/a, faculty/staff), school, and class year
  • Educational information: Northwestern degree(s) and major(s)
  • Employment information: Current and previous
  • Personal interests, including past/current activities and Northwestern alumni affiliations

At no time will Northwestern ARD rent or sell an individual’s personal information to third parties. However, the methods of collecting information regarding visitors to the Northwestern ARD network of websites may also be utilized in connection with the Northwestern system of enterprise software platforms, and Northwestern may use the information for official Northwestern business. NOTE: Even if you do not register for the Our Northwestern, and you have not otherwise designated your official University record as private, some of your personal information—including but not limited to your name, school, class year—may be published in the alumni directory. 


Terms of Use for the Northwestern Alumni Directory

Alumni/User guidelines: In addition to the University’s policies and guidelines, users of Northwestern ARD resources must abide by the following specific rules and regulations:

Unauthorized copying, reproduction, republishing, uploading, downloading, posting, transmitting, or duplicating any of the material is prohibited. Users may download or copy any downloadable materials displayed on the Northwestern ARD network of websites for personal, non-commercial use, provided that you maintain all copyright, trademarks, usage guidelines and other notices contained in such material.

  • Use of personal contact information made available through the Northwestern Alumni Directory—including but not limited to names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, Northwestern affiliations and student information, and employment information—for any commercial, advocacy-related, promotional, or political purpose is strictly prohibited. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to, solicitations for commercial or personal services, fundraising, invitations to participate in research or surveys, cold-calling of any kind, mass-mailings, or broadcast e-mails.
  • Alumni who have registered in Our Northwesternwill have access to information in the directory but may not use the information they obtain for commercial or political purposes, promotions, advocacy, or any other purpose, business or otherwise except to facilitate individual personal communication or business of Northwestern ARD. However, Northwestern ARD will not be held liable for unauthorized use by alumni or other users who do not adhere to these policies.
  • Northwestern students, faculty, staff, authorized volunteers and guest users, and agents of Northwestern ARD may access Our Northwesterninformation for the exclusive purpose of carrying out Northwestern ARD business.

Neither Northwestern ARD nor the Our Northwestern system is responsible for screening communications in advance, and neither Northwestern ARD nor Our Northwestern will actively monitor the use of the online directory. For this reason, it is essential that users report abuse or misuse to ARD User Services, via email to arduserservices@northwestern.edu. Northwestern ARD reserves the right to determine whether the use or misuse of information obtained through the Directory (print or online) by any person or group is a violation of this policy or is otherwise abusive and further reserves the right to bar access to the Directory information and websites by any such person or group and to take appropriate action without notice. 


Links to Other Websites

This website may contain links to other websites. We provide these links solely for your convenience and information. Different websites have different privacy practices. You should always check the privacy notice of the specific site you’re visiting to understand the privacy practices associated with that site. We are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of third party websites.


Children’s Information

Northwestern ARD does not intentionally or knowingly collect data through Our Northwestern from children under 13 years. If you have reason to believe that a child under 13 years of age is providing data on Our Northwestern, please contact arduserservices@northwestern.edu


Updates to this Privacy Policy

Although most changes are likely to be minor, Northwestern ARD may change its Privacy Policy for Our Northwestern, the Northwestern Alumni Association website, the We Will website, and other online properties from time to time, and may do so at Northwestern ARD’s sole discretion. Northwestern ARD encourages visitors to check this page frequently for any changes to its Privacy Policy for Our Northwestern and the ARD managed websites. If you have an Our Northwestern account, you should also check the Our Northwestern homepage for alerts to these changes. Your continued use of this site after any change in this Privacy Policy for Our Northwestern will constitute your acceptance of such changes.