News from Alumni House

Go where you want to go with your AYA

Michael Morand '87, '93MDiv, works with the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

Traffic reports from throughout alumni-land at November's annual assembly came with consistent detail: more drivers and passengers are accumulating more trip-miles more smoothly than ever on the highways and byways connecting Yalies with each other and with their communities.

Another thing was clear: whatever vehicles volunteers are in, none are great-grandfather's Oldsmobile.

It's a new day at your AYA.

Your alumni association's forward momentum has been propelled through its first-ever strategic plan. The plan, initiated by alumni volunteers in 2006, sought to renew tradition and energize alumni in new ways. The direction was clear: not only to better serve alumni but also to call Yalies to serve and share their time and talent with alma mater, each other, and their communities.

The energy at the assembly showcased how the plan is working and alumni are working the plan.

Tradition has been renewed. Reunions in 2011 were popular and lively, with the second-highest participation ever. The Class of 1966, as one example, was a pacesetter, with the highest number and percentage returning for a 45th. Millennials are very much in the picture: the Class of 2006 promoted its reunion with a vibrant video worth a watch on Vimeo whatever your Yale affiliation.

Keeping with the plan, powerful new traditions are also being made. The global Day of Service has quickly taken root, with Yalies working at over 200 sites in a dozen-plus countries. It has brought more members of the extended Yale family on the journey, with a third of participants saying it is their first time in a local Yale-sponsored event. Next slated for May 12, 2012, the service day has helped catalyze ongoing service activities by regional Yale clubs in Chicago, Colorado, New Haven, and elsewhere.

Shared interest groups have likewise prospered, multiplied, and brought more Yalies along the voyage. These SIGs involve both alums long active in class, club, and other alumni activities and Yalies who had been disconnected from Yale. The Yale Black Alumni Association's theme, "Reconnect with Yale through Leadership and Service," exemplifies the way forward.

A quick list of SIGs that have grown under the strategic plan demonstrates the depth and breadth of connections renewed. Volunteer leaders have established or extended associations of Latino, Asian American, veteran, women, Jewish, Arab, and gay and lesbian alumni/ae, among others. There are thriving groups connecting Yalies in media and entertainment, real estate, and energy, and plans for more to come.

Your alumni association, like the university overall, has also become truly global. New ventures like the Alumni Service Corps and Global Alumni Leadership Exchange have taken off in recent years. Through YASC and Yale GALE, over a thousand alums so far have taken part in programs in China, Mexico, and Turkey, to name a few. Plans for 2012 include Ghana, Nicaragua, Israel, and England. The sun sets no more on your alumni association.

It's been a grand adventure, so far. November's assembly saluted some exemplary individuals and groups through the Yale Medal and leadership, excellence, club, and class awards, all described at—a worthy site to bookmark! Their stories disclose fully what your AYA has become, where it's been, and where it can go thanks to the drive and determination of committed volunteers.

From the reports of the current strategic plan's results, one thing seems likely: whatever your desired destination, there's probably a way to get there through the alumni association. As the next strategic plan is now being developed, you can help chart the route.

If you've seen the growing volume of happy drivers and satisfied passengers and wondered where everyone's going, make 2012 the year you come along. If you want to go for a test drive, it's easy to find someone to ride with you. If you want to take an extended journey, there's plenty of room.

And if you're already on board, bring some new people along with you in 2012.

Yale alumni groups are serving, growing, and going to some amazing places—in your hometown, around the globe, and on campus. The journey has just begun. You won't want to miss out. 


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