2013 Alumni Network Awards

By Gianna Fischer, COM’17

Alumni volunteers around the globe are recognized for their contributions to the BU alumni experience

When she graduated from BU, Valerie Sun (CGS’04, CAS’06) was the typical young alumna: bright, excited, and eager to network in her new home in New York City. She had been an Admissions Ambassador as a student and was comfortable talking about her experiences to prospective students. It only seemed natural that she turn to fellow alumni in NYC to join what she describes as a “close-knit community in a big city, where people can meet other people with similar interests and explore the city.”

Since then, Valerie has grown into an exceptional young alumna: a team player, event manager, talent and location scout, and true ambassador for BU. A committed volunteer, Valerie has attended or organized most of the BU alumni events held in New York since she moved there. For her enthusiastic dedication to the BU Alumni Network of New York, Valerie was awarded a 2013 Alumni Network Award.

“My connections through the Alumni Community have allowed me to meet other alumni and gain valuable knowledge and career advice in a relaxed environment,” says Valerie. “With every BU event that I attend, I learn something new.”

For her enthusiastic dedication to the BU Alumni Network of New York City, Sun was awarded a 2013 Alumni Network Award. Each year, BU Alumni Association volunteers and staff nominate the most committed alumni from networks around the globe for the Alumni Network Awards. The Boston University Alumni Council (BUAC), the Alumni Association’s leadership group, selects and presents the awards at the Alumni Weekend Alumni Leadership Forum (ALF). The ALF is a global roundtable of alumni that practice exemplary leadership in their volunteer roles. The ALF was developed by the BUAC as a platform for volunteer leaders to gather and share best practices. The council congratulates the following awardees and thanks them for their service to BU.

Alumni Volunteer of the Year

Along with Valerie, the following alumni shared Alumni Volunteer of the Year honors for their successful efforts in strengthening BU’s alumni network and raising the profile of the University:

  • Communications chair and leader of BU’s network in Washington, D.C., Courtney Vander Poel (CAS’03) has been a critical member of the leadership team. Her dedication and enthusiasm make her both an extraordinarily valuable volunteer and a bright star in the D.C. alumni community.
  • Founder and volunteer leader of the Minneapolis-St. Paul alumni network, Lisa Rothstein (CGS’01, CAS’03) singlehandedly launched the alumni network in the Twin Cities. Her inspiration and persistence have led to the engagement of dozens of alumni and the creation of a variety of successful events.
  • An instrumental leader in BU’s Orange County alumni network, Britt Hoglund (CGS’98, CAS’00) has developed unique ways to get involved with alumni, the community, and the university. She has greatly contributed to the success of events in the Orange County area and beyond.

Best Community Service program

Two 2013 Global Days of Service (GDS) programs received accolades this year:

  • The Alumni Network of South Korea, comprising largely of CFA alumni and led by Mr. Yongmaan Park (GSM’82), volunteered at a local hospital to perform for the patients and their families. Non-CFA alumni joined to serve, prepare, and wrap up the concerts.
  • Led by Lance Ganis (SMG’72) and the Alumni Network of Southeast Florida, GDS volunteers in Boca Raton gathered for the fourth year in a row at Boca Helping Hands to sort and distribute food to the local community.

Best Networking Program

  • Eggs & Entrepreneurs in NYC, a monthly breakfast series led by Adam Marsh (COM’95) and the Alumni Network of NYC, brings together 50 alumni on the third Wednesday of each month to network and connect with their fellow Terriers. The success of the program—which has sold out every month but one since it launched—has led to the creation of similar event series in Boston and Washington, D.C.
  • BU on the Hill—Produced by the Alumni Network of D.C. and led by Chelsey Kelly (SED’04), Mary Aquino (COM’05), Courtney Vander Poel (CAS’03), Colin Reed (CGS’99, COM’01), and Trish Garrity (CAS’12)—celebrated BU’s impact on the nation’s capital, provided a networking opportunity for BU alumni working in the political arena, and showcased BU’s extensive network of alumni on Capitol Hill. The event had nearly 300 attendees and galvanized the Terriers on the Hill network, which has since held two Capitol Hill Happy Hour programs.

Best New Program

  • Social Butterfly: Strategies for Managing the Flutter of Social Media was led by the Alumni Network of Chicago and panelists Scott Monty (CAS’92, GSM’96, MED’96), Ben Pavlovic (COM’99, COM’01), Carolyn Breit (CAS’06), and Anna Briskman (CGS’00, SHA’02). The Chicago-alumni event featured an expert panel that discussed strategies for managing social media effectively in the professional realm.
  • LGBTQ Alumni Network at the Boston Pride Festival: BU was the only university with an alumni group in attendance at the festival, and LGBTQ network volunteers, led by Shane Morgan (CGS’01, CAS’04), created a wonderful opportunity for the BU community to show support for the LGBTQ community and raised awareness about BU’s tradition of inclusivity. “BU pride” buttons distributed at the festival remain a popular item at LGBTQ alumni events.

Best Student Engagement

  • Spotlight on the BU London Community, led by the Alumni Network of the UK, featured an interactive panel discussion and networking session at the BU Program office in London, bringing together students and alumni from both sides of the pond to share their experiences and perspectives. The program was created by Jessica Jia (CGS’04, SMG’06) and was made possible by students Michelle Ortega (CAS’14) and Natalie Deutsch (SHA’14), and alumni Ruby Danowski (CGS’02, COM’04) and Kevin Packford (SAR’07).
  • The Evening With… event series, led by the Alumni Network of Los Angeles and Clare Gillmore (CAS’03), is an industry-expert speaker series that gives BU students and alumni a deeper understanding of the entertainment industry. The program also provides a space for networking among current students, alumni, and special guests.

Outstanding Network

Finally, Boston University’s awards for Outstanding Network in 2013 went to alumni networks of Chicago, the United Kingdom, and Washington D.C. The Alumni Network of Chicago hosted nearly one event per month last year, including three sold-out events. They have consistently offered content-rich activity and attract and engage new alumni at each event. The Alumni Network of the United Kingdom is completely run by volunteers and has created successful programming with strong emphasis on education, networking, culture and service. Under the leadership of President Chelsey Kelly (SED’04), and guidance of past president Paul Chen (COM’87), the Alumni Network of Washington D.C. has an extensive list of outstanding achievements, including leadership position in Terriers on the Hill, three separate Global Days of Service sites, and a variety of educational programming.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer leader in your city, please contact us at 617-353-5261 or alumni@bu.edu.