Supporting under-represented alumni following graduation, the Office of Alumni Relations has launched four affinity groups to further cultivate community among Black, LGBTQIA, Latinx and Asian & Pacific Islander graduates.
Senior Director of Alumni Relations Rosella Garcia called affinity groups a natural outgrowth of TC’s embrace of diversity, inclusion and social justice.
[Join the LinkedIn Groups for the TC Black Alumni Network, LGBTQ Alumni Network, Latinx Alumni Network, and Asian and Pacific Islander Network.]
“While the efforts of Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association have long-since focused on building an inclusive community and making all feel welcome, we feel it is equally important to provide alumni with more focused affinity groups in which they can seek out meaningful connections and systems of support that are grown out of shared experiences and cultures,” Garcia said. “We look forward to the relationships that will flourish among alumni — and students too — as we continue to grow the four established affinity groups, and consider the creation of others down the line.”
In addition to providing another support system for TC alumni in professional endeavors, the groups also create an additional networking opportunity among alumni and current TC students, as demonstrated by the recent mixer hosted by Alumni Relations, the Black Affinity Network Development (BAND) and the Black Student Network.
The relationship building between alumni and students is a key motivator for Jacquada Gray II (M.A. ’19), a co-leader of BAND.
“We have the capital that comes with a TC degree but don’t always have access to networks that help students with existing social and financial capital,” said Gray, an Academic Success Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University. “The connections make us more competitive…It's important for Black students, especially those struggling to attain a degree, to see people like us who have done it.”
To fellow BAND co-leader Clifton Shambry Jr. (M.A. ’14), the recent mixer with students set the stage for the success of affinity groups into the future.
“Our own journeys can inspire others to use our stories to their advantage,” said Shambry, Assistant Director of Life Design: Diversity & Inclusion at Johns Hopkins University. “We can fill a gap that is not always available at the institution. Support and alumni engagement should not just be financial. It should be time, talent and treasure and by sharing our voices and experiences perhaps one student will one day join us in giving something back.”
Shambry hasn't a doubt that the Latinx, Asian & Pacific Islander and LGBTQIA groups are about to experience the “wonderful energy” that infuses BAND activities.
“I have every confidence they can run with it,” he said. “All you need is a call to action once the leadership is in place.”
Please contact Associate Director for Alumni Relations Andrea DiMarco for more information about serving as an Affinity Group co-leader or communications manager.