For generations of Yalies, Cross Campus has been common ground, where all students travel on their way to or from class or Sterling Memorial Library, where they congregate, chat, and connect.
Yale now offers that same sense of community online with Cross Campus, Yale’s new networking, community-building, and mentoring platform. Cross Campus facilitates relationships among Yalies – whether alumni to student or alumni to recent alumni – and is open to all Yale students and alums.
“We envision this as a game-changer for connecting alumni with students and with each other,” said Weili Cheng ’77, executive director of the Yale Alumni Association, which arranged the launch of Cross Campus. “Cross Campus offers an online platform where Yalies can come together in the spirit of collaboration and engagement, to provide advice and guidance, and to help each other through career and professional and personal transitions.”
There was conversation about delaying the launch of Cross Campus due to COVID-19. But in the end, the decision was made that launching an online community platform at a time of social distancing made more sense than ever – offering a way for alumni and students to connect at a time when connecting is harder than ever.
“These are tough times,” said Steve Blum ’74, senior director of strategic initiatives for the YAA, which led the Cross Campus initiative. “In many ways, Yalies need each other more than ever right now. And while we cannot assemble physically, we can connect virtually, either by establishing mentor-mentee relationships, connecting for one-off advice, or joining groups with common interests. Cross Campus allows for all three.”
And, Blum added, therein lies the beauty of this new online community.
“Cross Campus creates unique community-building and networking opportunities,” Blum said, “and our Yale connection drives that. As a mentee, you already share something with your mentor – something reinforced by shared interests and goals. This is personal and relational, not just transactional.”
Cross Campus is powered by PeopleGrove, an expert in the field, and features a number of ways to engage: Through advice, mentorship, online discussion boards available to Cross Campus users, and by joining Cross Campus groups.
Cross Campus offers other benefits as well, including carefully moderated, pre-vetted communities of Yalies; profiling, filtering, and screening tools customized to students and alums; easy-to-use templates for one-to-one outreach, and even on-platform video chats.
To get started, alumni and students create profiles on Cross Campus, selecting from an array of options (location, career and outside interests, discussion topics) to create the meaningful connections.
“Cross Campus extends the campus community well beyond New Haven,” said Nancy Stratford ’77, chair of the YAA Board of Governors. “For mentors, Cross Campus offers a way to give back and share all they have learned with the next generation of Yalies. For mentees, who can select their mentors, it’s a chance to network, to get advice from those who have been through many of the issues they are navigating, and to get one-on-one coaching from Yalies who have walked in their shoes.”
Cross Campus will replace the current Yale Career Network, which will sunset its operations this summer, as the database of record for alumni networking with alumni and students.
“Cross Campus is a remarkable platform that opens the door to so many possibilities for those looking to grow and advance their careers,” said Jeanine Dames, director of the Yale Office of Career Strategy. “At the same time, it provides an avenue for alumni to give back and help guide the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. We’re so excited to see what the future brings for Cross Campus and look forward to using its tools to develop our own programming and events.”
The launch of Cross Campus means the entire Yale community can join, and the YAA plans to do all it can to communicate its availability moving forward – throughout the summer and when students return to campus.
“The power of Yale is its community, whether that’s connecting organically or through mentoring programs offered by some of our professional schools,” Cheng said. “What’s great about Cross Campus is that is stretches across boundaries, impacting Yale College and graduate and professional school alumni and students to create a greater sense of connection. And in times like these, those commodities are of great value, solace, and strength.”