As we start the new academic year, I find myself looking back on all of the YAA’s activities over the last year. And what a year it was!
In August 2021, the school year began with COVID-19 policies in place to maintain health and safety and restricted alumni access to campus. There was uncertainty as to how those policies would unfold. The academic year ended in celebration, with our joyously welcoming alumni back to campus. We had an extraordinary number of reunions across the university (22 for Yale College alone!) and alumni were so happy to connect and reconnect with each other and to Yale!
We at the YAA work hard to facilitate and support these connections. I invite you to engage through YAA volunteer activities! To make it as easy as possible, the YAA website has a page that allows you to explore volunteer opportunities. These opportunities include:
- interviewing applicants to Yale College with the Alumni Schools Committee;
- representing your Yale school or alumni organization in the YAA Assembly;
- mentoring students and alumni;
- being a Yale Alumni Fund class agent and volunteering with the For Humanity capital campaign; and
- volunteering for and organizing a service activity or other event with any one of our many alumni groups – a shared interest group, a regional club, your Yale College class, and the alumni associations of the graduate and professional schools.
I hope you find the right fit. There are so many ways to be involved!
I started my Yale volunteer activities after I graduated from law school. Soon after I started work in a law firm in my hometown of Honolulu, the firm’s senior litigation partner came into my office with a box of files. I excitedly thought he was going to ask me to work on a case with him. Instead, he announced, “I was the last president of the Yale Club of Hawaii and now it’s your turn!”
Instead of legal files, the box contained Yale College Alumni Schools Committee interview reports (I found the report of my interview!). So, my first volunteering foray was to organize a picnic in Honolulu. I learned then how Yalies love to connect with each other. I went on to plan a dinner hosting then-Yale president A. Bartlett Giamatti, whose friendship I cherished over the years.
From Hawaii, I moved to Washington, D.C., and began interviewing Yale College applicants for the Alumni Schools Committee. I became active on the Yale Club of Washington, D.C.’s board of directors and in the YAA Assembly as a delegate. One activity led to another. I co-chaired the 25th reunion for my Yale College class, chaired our class council, chaired the alumni association board of governors, etc. Perhaps the lesson is that if you plan a picnic, eventually you too can be the executive director of the Yale Alumni Association!
I encourage you to explore volunteer opportunities in support of Yale. I found personal and professional growth in connecting with other alumni and serving the university. I have formed many lasting friendships along the way. I am grateful that I can continue to do so, and I look forward to your joining me.
It is, after all, a new school year. The possibilities ahead are boundless!
P.S.: I usually write about pizza, but I also like ice cream! If you like ice cream, you may want to read this. What is your favorite ice cream shop in New Haven and your favorite flavor? My favorite is Ashley’s peppermint stick with dark chocolate fudge sauce.