From Generation to Generation

At regional events around the country, alumnae welcome incoming students

By Aubri Juhasz ’18

Every summer, alumnae across the country help new students transition to life at Barnard by hosting regional “send-off” events. These get-togethers, held in seven states this summer, serve as a bridge to college, enabling incoming first-year and transfer students (and their parents) to ask questions, meet graduates—some from as far back as the Class of 1953—and make new friends before students arrive on campus at summer’s end.

“It is inspiring for Barnard alumnae to meet the incoming students and to share our enthusiasm for Barnard with them,” says Nancy Vignec ’70, president of the Barnard Club of Seattle, which has been organizing send-off events for more than a decade. “We were able to offer students and their parents some practical advice about life on campus and in New York City.”

While most of this summer’s events were hosted by alumnae, in Boca Raton, Florida, sophomore Rachel Rutstein ’21 welcomed incoming first-years at her home, hoping the reception would “demonstrate the warmth of the Barnard community and help to make the transition to college less intimidating and more exciting for incoming first-years,” she says. The first-years who came “were grateful to receive advice from current students and alumnae about how to take advantage and fully enjoy their time at Barnard.”

“There is this sort of energy and desire for engagement with new students and with the College,” says Jennifer Fearon ’13, who, with Elizabeth Cheniara ’94, helped plan the first central New Jersey event at the home of Mythili Rao Lahiri ’94 this summer. It was jointly organized by the Barnard Club of Central New Jersey and the Central NJ Networking Group. “For a lot of us, it didn’t occur to us until later or even after graduation to use the alumnae network,” Fearon says. “All of the alumnae who were there were really keen to let the students know that they can use the alumnae network now.” 

Ruchi Shah ’22, who attended the central New Jersey event, says it was a great introduction to the College and reaffirmed her interest in Barnard. “Seeing alumnae of all ages and backgrounds…gave me a feel for Barnard as a supportive community,” Shah says. “It was really inspiring, seeing what these graduates were doing from five to fifty years down the line.”

Aubri Juhasz ’18 is an intern at National Public Radio and lives in Washington, DC.