Leaders of the College's Future
By Rita Pietropinto '93
President, Columbia College Young Alumni Association

Rita Pietropinto '93

Columbia College Young Alumni. Where are we? What are we doing? Where are we going?

Some of us are looking for new apartments. Some are changing careers. Some are exploring opportunities in unfamiliar lands. Some are going back to school. Some are getting married. Some are making our first bonus. Some are following our dreams.

Wherever we are, whatever we are accomplishing, we share some things in common. All of us are recent graduates of the College living the most exciting years of our lives, with some anticipation, much uncertainty and great promise. All of us share the distinct advantage and privilege of calling ourselves Columbia College alumni.

The Columbia College Young Alumni association is dedicated to enriching the academic, professional and personal lives of young alumni, and to strengthening the communication and interaction of young alumni with each other and with the College. Columbia and its alumni should forever be a foundation for us, a place to return to, a place to network, a place to help us shape our present and future.

As young alumni we are the future of Columbia College.

As members of CCYA, we are the leaders of that future.

Through Networking Nights, academic forums, community service, social events and fundraising, CCYA provides a forum to maximize our opportunities, utilize our talents and give back to our school. Membership is open to all young alumni (graduates within the past 10 years), and meetings are held quarterly. The Executive Committee includes Vice President Rebecca Boston '93, Treasurer Rafay Farooqui '98, Secretary Andy Topkins '98, Networking Chair Alicia Guevara '94 and Vice-Chair of the Columbia College Fund Abby Black Elbaum '92.

More than 50 young alumni attended our first full committee meeting and reception, held on October 5 at the Columbia Club. We were joined by representatives from Columbia College Women and Community Impact, and officers of the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development. The message was clear: Young alumni are interested in becoming involved, and Columbia views its young alumni as a priority.

At the meeting, we outlined our primary goals for the year. Our first initiative was to create a structure that would facilitate communication among the classes. Each class now has captains who will serve as leaders and representatives at CCYA meetings. These class captains will help increase class participation, create an accurate mailing list for young alumni and publicize our programs and events. We also have begun to establish CCYA representatives from coast to coast to help programming efforts in their home states.

CCYA Calendar

(Please consult the CCYA website for times and locations.)

Full Committee Meetings

Monday, December 6, 1999
Monday, February 7, 2000
Monday, May 1, 2000

Networking Nights

Finance, Tuesday, November 30
Law, Tuesday, December 15
Entertainment, Wednesday, January 26
Education, Tuesday, February 29
Advertising, Tuesday, March 21
New Media, Tuesday, May 23
Not For Profit, Tuesday, June 20

Our second initiative was to assess what rogramming would most interest and benefit young alumni. This year, CCYA is conducting Networking Nights to bring together young (and more senior) alumni who are either employed in or interested in becoming employed in a particular field. At Networking Nights, alumni will act as sponsors and serve as mentors, answering questions and providing insight and guidance in their fields of expertise. Our first Networking Night, on Tuesday, November 30, covers the field of finance. If you are interested in hosting a Networking Night, or serving as a sponsor for a particular field, please contact Emily Kasof at the Alumni Office.

Our third initiative was to increase young alumni participation in the College Fund. The College is thriving, with improved facilities, rising applications and enriched quality of student life. These improvements would never have been possible without the financial contributions of alumni. While the Fund is stronger than ever before, Columbia lags behind peer institutions in terms of participation, including young alumni participation.

Young alumni have a great influence on the present status and future success of our alma mater. Our involvement counts. Participation is the key word - it is not how much we give, but that we give. Our goal this year is to increase young alumni participation in the Fund to 20 percent, which would be the highest participation rate to date. This is definitely an achievable goal; if each class could secure 200 gifts of any amount, we would achieve our goal, which would make a significant impact on the Fund and our ranking in national surveys such as in U.S. News & World Report.

To help achieve that goal, the Hamilton Associates program was developed specifically for young alumni. Become a member by making a gift, of any size, to the College Fund.

Now is a perfect time to become involved with CCYA. We invite you to attend meetings and encourage you to bring any ideas, concerns or proposals. For our Networking Nights program, we will be relying on you to help identify fellow alumni working in specific fields who may be interested in participating in a program. We will also ask some of you to volunteer at events. Our next Full Committee Meeting is on Monday, December 6. We hope you will join us.

They say that success in life is sometimes just about showing up. We are asking you to show up. Become involved in CCYA, and together we will achieve our goal to lead a stronger, more dynamic Young Alumni association into the millennium.

If you are interested in becoming a member or have any questions or comments, contact any member of the CCYA Executive Committee or e-mail Emily Kasof at

Search Columbia College Today
Need Help?

Columbia College Today Home
CCT Home

This Issue
This Issue

CCT Credits
CCT Masthead