Volunteer Profile: Arianna Deans (STEINHARDT ’16)
November 15, 2022
“Our alumni are the most innovative people in the world, and you can have the opportunity to be in spaces with everyone from Nobel Peace Prize recipients to Oscar Award winners,” says Arianna Deans (STEINHARDT ’16) [she/her]. With a BFA in mass media (Valdosta State University), an MA in higher education and student affairs from NYU, and a current doctoral student of social work (DSW, University of Southern California), Arianna serves as the Communications Leader for one of the largest and most active of NYU’s 89 Alumni Clubs, the NYU Alumni Club in Los Angeles. She was recently honored as the 2022 Volunteer of the Year at NYU Alumni and Parents Weekend.
In her role as a Violet volunteer, Arianna responds to inquiries from community members and facilitates a welcoming environment for her fellow alumni. She has created new platforms to support fellow volunteers and engage the NYU alumni community in Los Angeles, including running the club’s social media accounts. This year, Arianna also helped plan and staff the club’s 15th Annual Holiday Party on Ice, Black History Month Trivia, Sunday Funday at Throw Clay LA, and an outing to Broadway in Hollywood’s Pretty Woman. She also co-facilitated an event for Alumni and Parents Weekend with the Office of Global Inclusion, and served on the planning committee for the inaugural NYU West Coast Alumni Conference, which took place in San Francisco this month.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Arianna now calls the West Coast home. She is the residential college coordinator for Cardinal Gardens and McClintock Apartments at the University of Southern California. “I was determined to make LA feel like home, and my main goal was to network with other alumni and create experiences showcasing our interests and talents,” she says.
You’re the Communications Leader for the NYU Alumni Club in Los Angeles and recently won Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Alumni Volunteer Recognition and Service Awards (Congratulations!). How did you first become involved/what inspired you to become involved as an alumni volunteer with NYU?
I became interested in joining the club after attending an NYU alumni event; the leadership spoke highly of the club and how my contributions would bring a new perspective to club events, so I joined the club as an event volunteer. I was determined to make LA feel like home, and my main goal was to network with other alumni and create experiences showcasing our interests and talents.
Why do you stay involved with NYU?
I stay involved with NYU because I enjoy planning events, networking, and learning from others. Our alumni are the most innovative people in the world, and you can have the opportunity to be in spaces with everyone from Nobel Peace Prize recipients to Oscar Award winners. Our events provide a space where we can motivate and inspire each other. My volunteer role allows me to be close to NYU—the engagement, connection, and realization that we can make a difference in our world. With Violet pride, we can inspire each other to be the best version of ourselves.
Why would you encourage other alumni to get involved?
The NYU Alumni Club in LA is always looking for innovative ideas for programming, and I encourage you to reach out to us or connect with us at an event. The time commitment is flexible, and even if you don’t have time to plan the event, we have an entire team dedicated to making it happen. Show up because we want to hear your story and how you impact your community, state, and the world.
What’s your proudest (or most fun) moment from serving with the Club?
I’m most proud of bringing together 50+ alumni and future alumni from so many generations to celebrate and enjoy a Violet family day at Disneyland. We had Mickey Mouse join us for lunch, adding even more magic to our event.
Did you have any NYU classes or instructors who inspired or impacted you?
Yes, studying abroad in South Africa with Professor Teboho Moja. As a Black woman visiting South Africa, this course allowed me to explore my identity, be more creative, and think critically about how I show up and advocate for my global communities.
What is your favorite NYU memory?
My favorite memory is representing all of Steinhardt on the jumbotron in Yankee Stadium during the 2016 Commencement. This was my “Mama, I made it!” moment, and I was honored to have so many friends and family cheer me on from NYC, Georgia, Virginia, and Louisiana.
What is your favorite:
- Food? Loaded baked potato
Book? Becoming by Michelle Obama
TV Show and/or Movie? TV Show: The Good Doctor; Movie: Love and Basketball
Song and/or Musical Artist? Song: “Satisfied” by Renée Elise Goldsberry, Original Broadway cast of Hamilton; Musical Artist: HER
Place on the NYU campus? Washington Square Park in winter
Way to spend a fall day? Apple picking with my friends