Shadaia Gooden, CEAS ’02, is one of the leaders of the UC Alumni Association’s New York alumni network and the Proudly Cincinnati Campaign Committee for New York. Here she talks about her UC experience and how she helps other New York alumni connect with their university.
On fellow Bearcats finding each other so far from campus:
“People who have been out of school for awhile and live somewhere else just want something to reconnect with. Any Cincinnati connection will strike a chord. ‘Oh, you went to UC? So did I!’ No matter what their UC experience has been, they still have that in common, which offers a new opportunity to re-engage in some way.”
On engaging a variety of alumni:
“The New York region is so large and people are so spread out. There’s so much diversity here — so many things that take people’s time and attention. A UC athletics event may draw a group of people, but many others aren’t interested in that. We try to find some balance in our events and activities to reach as many alumni as possible.”
On discovering each alum’s potential connection point:
“Everyone is so different — who they are, what they want. When I talk with people, I speak from my own experience, my love for UC, and memories of my time there. Sharing that enthusiasm often gets them reminiscing, and pretty soon they might want to get more involved with the local alumni network. There’s a strong group of alumni in New York, so there are lots of opportunities.”
On the origin of alumni involvement:
“Developing a strong alumni base starts freshman year or earlier — from your first interactions with the university. I was fortunate. I came to UC from Youngstown, and was driven to become very involved in many on-campus activities, from athletics to service organizations. My UC experience has a lot to do with my efforts to remain involved. Being around other alums reminds me of my experience and keeps it more alive for me.”
On the benefits of her own involvement:
“The most rewarding part is getting to meet so many people. We already have UC in common, which opens the door to wonderful connections I’d never make otherwise.”
On specific opportunities for alumni to connect and support UC:
“There’s a lot of potential with the UC Alumni Association’s 1819 and UC Where You Are initiatives. The 1819 opportunity is great for our alums who haven’t been very engaged with UC, but are open to taking a small step forward and supporting the university. UC Where You Are can help ‘make’ a UC community no matter where you live. It’s perfect for alumni who are relocating or just trying to make connections with other Bearcats in their area.”
To learn more about the UC Where You Are opportunities in the New York area, contact Shadaia Gooden at 610-209-1984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.