As the Class of 2017 prepares to walk across the state at NYU Shanghai’s first commencement, another team behind the scenes is working to make sure that the inaugural class will stay together long after graduation. An integral part of any university, a group of students working with Alumni Relations staff Xin Wei are in charge of coordinating NYU Shanghai’s alumni network and benefits. While NYU Shanghai alumni will not receive any Shanghai-specific benefits, former students will reap the benefits of the New York University alumni network as well as networking opportunities organized throughout the world by the committee.
NYU Shanghai’s young alumni network program is similar to New York’s in many ways. Alumni will receive the same benefits as a New York student, such as access to the online database JSTOR and lifetime NYU email. While surveys sent to the Class of 2017 indicated student interest in free VPN and gym access post-graduation, these items did not meet the criteria for alumni benefits, which have to be strictly for educational purposes. For now, there are no Shanghai-specific benefits for future alumni.
Alumni associations, however, are not just for special post-graduation perks. A large part is the continued connection to the class and the university. “It’s a huge networking thing,” explained Mike Chen, Global Alumni Ambassador for the inaugural class. “Also, once you graduate, it’s hard to make new friends that aren’t in your workplace. This is a way to connect the NYU network.”
To facilitate these networks and promote communication among alumni, Chen created a committee with regional hubs around the world that will be in charge of coordinating events and networking opportunities for alumni in those regions. He will be in charge of the hub on the East Coast of the US, with fellow Class of 2017 members Sherry Zhuang and Johnson Huang representing Shanghai and Beijing, respectively. Since NYU Shanghai will have less than three hundred alumni, Chen sees three hubs as being adequate for now. However, in the future, he foresees possible expansion to hubs on the United States’ West Coast and Europe.
In the coming year, NYU Shanghai alumni have the opportunity to experience the new alumni network at National Alumni Day for NYU in New York City on Oct. 27, with a similar celebration in Shanghai on Oct. 22. Chen also established a bimonthly newsletter to keep alumni updated and connected with the broader NYU alumni network.
Despite being the first class to graduate NYU Shanghai, Chen did not find many problems with establishing an alumni network. “We have all the resources from New York, and we have examples to follow,” Chen said. “The more difficult part would be making sure we have enough events to interest everyone to stay together and making our class one to be well-connected. We already have a WeChat group, and that’s been pretty active, so hopefully once we graduate everyone’s not going to delete or mute the group.”
This article was written by Mike Chen. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: NYU Shanghai