Student-alumni partnership forms

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Photo by Madeline McMahon.

A new campus organization that began recruiting students Monday hopes to connect alumni with students through networking, community service and social events.

Composed of alumni, students and administrators, the Students and Alumni of Yale has already planned a series of student leadership forums, career panels and networking events in the coming months. Alison Brody ’95, chair of the Association of Yale Alumni student initiative committee, said the group will eventually assign students to alumni mentors in their intended career fields. The group hopes to accept around 70 applications from undergraduate, graduate and professional school students who would become official members of STAY and help execute initiatives, she added.

“Everybody recognized by putting students and alums together shoulder-to-shoulder, you create a powerful force that didn’t exist before,” Stephen Blum ’74, senior director of strategic initiatives and founding STAY board member, said.

STAY’s nine-member board has been filled with members from the Yale College Council, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, AYA, Undergraduate Career Services and the McDougal Graduate Student Center. Brody said this diversity of backgrounds will help the board develop programs that span the entire University.

The group will receive funding from partner institutions such as AYA and UCS and hopes to attract private donors, Blum said, though maintaining financial sustainability remains a concern.

Blum said STAY’s student-alumni events will be offered for the whole Yale community, including all the professional schools, whether or not students are official members of the group.

Emily Stoops GRD ’13, Graduate and Professional Student Senate president and vice president of STAY, said she became involved with STAY because it allowed graduate and professional students to become better integrated into campus culture.

“It was one of the goals of the Senate to not be outsiders,” she said, “but actually participate actively in the culture and have more interactions with undergraduates and the alumni community.”

Blum said the idea for STAY was conceived a year ago, when the AYA Board of Governors created a new student initiative committee, initially chaired by Blum, to develop a stronger connection between students and alumni. The committee hosted a few preliminary events last fall that included a networking session for Timothy Dwight College undergraduates and alumni, as well as a “meet-and-greet” event for alumni and graduate and professional school students. After conducting focus groups to gauge interest in expanding efforts to create a student-alumni organization, Blum said, administrators determined there was enough enthusiasm to launch STAY.

In developing the new organization, Blum said the student initiatives committee analyzed similar organizations at other universities, such as Lehigh and Emory.

“As you look at these schools, you find that their programs rest on common pillars such as service, networking, pride and tradition,” he said.

YCC President Brandon Levin ’13, president of STAY, said he has been impressed by the student involvement in developing plans for the group, and expects the organization to appeal to many undergraduates.

Applications to become members of STAY are being accepted until Jan. 29.

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