Volunteer Leadership Weekend brought more than 200 alumni and parent volunteer leaders together to celebrate their engagement with the university and to create strategies to support Vanderbilt’s goals for the future.
The volunteers represented Reunion, Chapters, the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni, G.O.L.D. Council and Class Agents, Dores of Distinction, the Alumni Association Board, the Career Center Parent Alumni Leadership Council, the Ingram Scholars Program Alumni Board, and the Parents and Family Association Board.
In addition to regular planning meetings for each group, the weekend featured a welcome reception hosted by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. An overview from Board of Trust Chairman Bruce Evans offered insight into key initiatives including Opportunity Vanderbilt, residential colleges and faculty support, and how they weave together to advance the university mission.
Visiting Rand, Alumni Lawn and other familiar areas, Reunion volunteer Julie La Barba Miggins, BS’94, saw signs of the impact of Opportunity Vanderbilt on the Vanderbilt student experience.
“I was thrilled to walk around campus and see the effect of Opportunity Vanderbilt,” says Miggins. “While remaining a prestigious university, it seems the makeup of the classes is based on the individual merits of its students rather than their ability to pay for their education. It was exciting to see that the student body is more reflective of the world.”
Philadelphia Vanderbilt Chapter President Alex Griffin, BS’17, was excited to learn of the university’s plans to add additional residential colleges for undergraduate students.
“I was one of the first people to spend my entire undergraduate career in a living and learning community (North House and Warren College), so it was interesting to see the progress on the residential colleges project,” she says.
“You could really see how all of these initiatives fit together,” says Miggins. “Vanderbilt has all of these great students with different perspectives. The residential colleges bring them together to learn from each other in a community while they live alongside incredible faculty.”
The enthusiasm the volunteers feel for Vanderbilt was palpable during a demonstration of a new text-to-give service that immediately followed a presentation on Experience Vanderbilt from junior Anarius Cathey. The group responded with 64 gifts benefitting 14 different areas—enough to create six new Experience Vanderbilt scholarships.
“That passionate response to Experience Vanderbilt in the room speaks to how strongly alumni feel about preserving and passing on the Vanderbilt experience to current students,” says Griffin.
Miggins adds, “It really shows that gifts of all sizes matter to Vanderbilt and can mean a lot to great students.”