AYA targets local alumni

For the graduates of the Class of 2012 who chose to stay in Connecticut after Commencement last May, opportunities to reconnect with Yale may come sooner than their five-year reunion.

The Association of Yale Alumni is creating the Young Alumni Council of Connecticut, an initiative that will invite alumni in Connecticut who graduated from any Yale school since 2000 to monthly events, in an effort to bring together young alumni for networking and socializing. The initiative, which will target the roughly 4,800 young alumni who live in Connecticut, will officially kick off Nov. 30 with an event at Shake Shack on Chapel Street. It will host events similar to those already offered by the Yale Club of New Haven, which has around 400 members, but the new group will be an AYA organization and will not charge annual dues.

“The AYA is very interested and innovative, I hope, in producing events that attract young alumni,” said Mark Dollhopf ’77, executive director of the AYA.

Dollhopf added that the new initiative is one of “dozens of dozens” of initiatives in the AYA’s strategic plan to increase alumni involvement within their local regions across the country.

Johnson Flucker ’80, the AYA director in charge of New Haven alumni who is coordinating the initiative, said young alumni in Connecticut and New Haven represent “one of the largest untapped resources” for social activities and networking opportunities. According to AYA records, 3,300 of Connecticut’s young alumni are concentrated in New Haven.

Flucker added that alumni who attend the Shake Shack event will have the opportunity to provide suggestions for future events. Though feedback to the AYA has previously shown that young alumni are mostly interested in social events, he said, the AYA would also like to organize some service-oriented and cultural events for the new group.

Tahia Thaddeus Kamp ’98, president of the Yale Club of New Haven, said she does not see the new initiative as “detracting at all” from the Yale Club’s events.

“It’s a wonderful way to bridge our influence with very recent graduates who are often busy setting out on careers and think something like a Yale Club or AYA event may not have a great deal to offer them — but actually it does, especially for networking and career opportunities,” she said.

All five local alumni interviewed said they would be interested in attending at least one of the new initiative’s events.

“It seems like a good idea, so I’d definitely plan on going to whatever I can,” said Christine Jun ’12, a current resident of New Haven. “Graduation happened really quickly, and it’s really hard to keep track of where all my friends are — so to corral everyone in the area together and just do some sort of social event would be enough.”

Another New Haven resident, Zachary Rotholz ’11, said he would enjoy meeting Yale graduates from other years, although he already has a group of alumni friends in Connecticut. He added that it would also be helpful to see the initiative bring in panels of older alumni who could give advice to recent graduates and talk about their experiences transitioning from college to their careers.

Though the initiative officially focuses on students from the Class of 2000 to the Class of 2012, alumni from other graduation years are also eligible to attend its events.

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