More than 150 alumni volunteers attended the annual Club and Affiliated Group Officers Weekend, February 11-13.
Dartmouth Winter Carnival was in full romp, and the run-up to the Grammys underway, but for over 150 alumni who lead Dartmouth clubs and groups, the real excitement of last weekend was their annual meeting in Hanover – a service-oriented brain exchange known as Club and Affiliated Group Officers Weekend.
President Jim Yong Kim '82a kicked things off with a presentation on the history of alumni club and affiliated group volunteer service to Dartmouth, from the launch of the Dartmouth Club of Greater Boston in 1864 on up to the hugely successful 38th anniversary reunion held last year by the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association.
Members of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees also met with the officers. Trustee Bill Helman '80, chair of the board's investment committee, gave an update and took questions on the College's financial status, and trustee candidates Gail Koziara Boudreaux '82 and Bill Burgess '81 met informally with the officers during the weekend.
A new educational component, "Secret Sources: Unique Campus Resources for the 21st Century Student," drew rave reviews. The program took small groups of officers into an electron microscope facility, the studios of the Digital Musics Program, the letterpress studio of the Book Arts Program, and other facilities for up-close demos by students, faculty, and staff.
The officers also maintained a full schedule of meetings and workshops in which they shared their successful practices and challenges of running clubs and groups, covering event planning and sponsorship, new communications media, interorganization collaboration, and many more topics. This volunteer peer support is the heart and soul of CAGOW, as the weekend is called.
"CAGOW offered tremendous learning opportunities," said BADA president Ellis Rowe '74. "I've already been in contact with a number of alumni in various regions to share ideas regarding Web sites, iPhone apps, event planning, and alumni outreach."
The grand finale was a dinner in Alumni Hall. Sara Burbine Potter '91, 2010–11 president of the Club Officers Association, told her fellow officers, "What I love most about CAGOW is the opportunity to share ideas with other Dartmouth clubs and groups around the country and the world." She challenged them to "take at least one new idea back" to their organizations.
Awards for standout service to the Dartmouth community were presented.
The fun began with the presentation of a 2010–11 Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Kimberly Koontz Haring '96, by Tom Peisch '70, president of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. In addition to many other volunteer roles for Dartmouth, Haring has served as president and vice president of the Dartmouth Club of Northeastern Ohio, providing critical leadership in its revival.
Excitement increased as surprise announcements of club, group, and officer awards were made.
The Metro Club of the Year Award went to the Dartmouth Clubs of Boston and San Francisco.
"Collaboration was a theme throughout our events," said Dick Wenzel '71, president of the San Francisco club. "Our officers and board worked hard together, while also extending fully a collaborative spirit to the College and our companion clubs, the Dartmouth Alumni Association of the Silicon Valley and the Dartmouth Outing Club of Northern California, in providing activities for alumni and support for Dartmouth and our local community." As examples he cited a Big Green Bus party to welcome student engineers to the Bay Area; a young alumni pong tournament to benefit Special Olympics; admissions interviewing; skating parties; and phonathons at the local PBS/NPR affiliate. The club also helped organize a regional visit by President Kim that Wenzel called "the largest gathering of Dartmouth alums ever assembled west of the Mississippi."
The Dartmouth Club of Orange County received the Medium Club of the Year Award, and its president, Mabelle Hueston '86, received the Club President of the Year Award. Hueston, who became the club's first female member when she joined in 1992, said the club's activity in 2010 emphasized outreach and camaraderie. "We have a good core group," she said, "but we're also looking to increase membership, for example, among families, by focusing activities in the great natural settings of our area, and among young alumni, by providing networking opportunities." Though Hueston was unable to attend CAGOW, fellow member Erin Leigh Dornan '00 shared the excitement via texting.
The Affiliated/Shared Interest Group of the Year Award went to BADA, which brought more than 80 alumni from six decades of class years to its reunion on Homecoming weekend last fall, "spawning a rejuvenated sense of excitement for the group," said Sarah Sinclair, assistant director for alumni diversity and shared interest groups in Alumni Relations, in presenting the award.
"The BADA reunion planning team met early and often to develop an engaging agenda," said Rowe, "including our first march in the Dartmouth Night parade, a pregame tent, and President Kim's welcome reception." The group was "surprised and honored" to receive the award, he added.
"Seeing the fantastic work being done by our clubs around the world is a great testament to the fact that we all take a little bit of Dartmouth with us when we leave Hanover," said Potter. "CAGOW is our chance to salute all the great Dartmouth leaders out there and provide a setting where clubs and groups can learn from one another, making the entire system even stronger."
2010 Club and Affiliated/Shared Interest Group and Officer Awards:
Club Presidents of the Year:
Mabelle Hueston '86, Dartmouth Club of Orange County
James von Rittmann '95, Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley
Metro Clubs of the Year:
Dartmouth Club of Greater Boston
Dartmouth Club of Greater San Francisco
Large Club of the Year:
Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley
Medium Club of the Year:
Dartmouth Club of Orange County
Small Club of the Year:
Dartmouth Club of the Gulf Coast
Affiliated/Shared Interest Group Officer of the Year:
Alexandra Meise Bay '01, Dartmouth Lawyers Association
Affiliated/Shared Interest Group of the Year:
Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association