Last December 15th, the Cornell Latino Alumni Association (CLAA) held a Virtual Town Hall where the new Executive Board was introduced. Stephanie Adams Ryan, outgoing President of the board, did the handoff to Calie Santana '98, new president of the board for 2020-2025. Calie and the new board started by raising the bar with the level of interaction and engagement that they want to have with the community of Latino/Latinx Alumni and their communities.
After hearing an update on life on campus from Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, Director of Latina/o Studies, Calie presented the results of the new board’s first outreach to the alumni community: a HOLIDAY FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN launched on November 25th. Understanding that students and their families are facing increased hardship, the board decided to motivate alumni to contribute to the Emergency Fund that supports the Latina/o Studies Program and the Latinx Students’ Success Office.
The initial goal of the campaign was to raise $8,000 but just in the first three weeks they exceeded the goal, collecting $9,100! This result includes the $1,900 matching offer made by a generous board member. As the campaign ends on December 31st, this amount might keep growing, allowing the Emergency Fund to help more undergrad students, who might need support to cover transportation, meals, medical bills, winter clothing, lodging, rent, etc.
Some donors shared the reasons why they decided to donate:
“It’s so important to give back to the community that was a big part of my Cornell years. One day the student recipients will be in a position to give as well and if alumni can influence their giving spirit, we have done well”.
"Paying it forward. In recognition of the previous donors who help me afford an education at Cornell when every dollar was a blessing”.
The Virtual Town Hall also included breakout sessions where alumni and students got the opportunity to share their challenges and expectations on the new board and the association in general. By listening to students and taking their valuable feedback to heart, the new board will be able to integrate those ideas into an engaging plan and set of programs for 2021.
The fundraising campaign and this interactive Virtual Town Hall represent the new board’s strong entrance as a multiplier force and a positive influencer in Cornell’s Latino alumni community. Congratulations to the new board on a wonderful start of your service with Cornell!