May 22, 2017
Written by Lori Riley for the Spring 2017 Alumni Magazine.
When NYU students walk across the stage at graduation, their involvement with the university’s diverse culture does not end. As they step into alumni life, there are countless opportunities to continue the affinities they developed on campus, while also taking advantage of new ways to connect.
The NYU Alumni Association’s (NYUAA) newly expanded Multicultural Alumni Network represents a renewed commitment to promoting that culture of diversity and inclusion—“an indispensable element of academic excellence,” as President Hamilton noted in his inaugural address (see feature on page 19 of the Spring 2017 Alumni Magazine).
The network, an expansion of the current Multicultural Alumni Group (MAG), invites alumni across numerous cultures and backgrounds to connect in different and exciting ways. “Similar to the multitude of identity-based student clubs at NYU in which students get involved, the groups under the new network will get more alumni engaged,” says Ronald Rapatalo (CAS ’97), a cofounder of MAG and a member of the NYUAA Board of Directors. “There will be more options, more leadership opportunities, more unique events.”
Recent graduate and NYUAA volunteer Jamila McLaughlin (SSSW ’11) looks forward to the new programs, which expand on prior offerings and include book signings, panel discussions, Broadway excursions, mentoring events, and the annual holiday mixer.
“These new groups bring more alumni to the special-interest clubs and highlight the diverse identities throughout our community,” she says, noting that identity-based alumni groups can help bridge the student-to-graduate experience.”
—Jamila McLaughlin (SSSW ’11)
The Multicultural Alumni Network is partnering with the on-campus Center for Multicultural Education and Programs (CMEP), which offers personal and professional development opportunities for NYU students, with a focus on inclusion, awareness, and social justice. “NYU has such a talented alumni base,” says CMEP director Leah Lattimore (CAS ’04, STEINHARDT ’10). “I would love to see where our mission and goals can align with the work that many of these alumni are already doing.” Off the bat, Lattimore hopes to involve more alumni in the center’s FOCUS Mentorship Program for first-generation college students.
With a strong leadership base, a history of well-attended events, and an active presence on social media, MAG has transitioned its most successful qualities in order to establish the network. “My biggest hope,” Rapatalo says, “is for this to be a network where multicultural alumni and our allies can come together to enjoy friendship, career, and advocacy opportunities, back at NYU and beyond.”