Appreciating Our Volunteers

By Amy Veltman ’89

National Volunteer Month was April, and I want to take this opportunity to share my gratitude for all that our amazing alumnae volunteers do for Barnard.

One of the most inspiring aspects of being president of the Alumnae Association of Barnard College (AABC) is understanding more fully the brilliance and dedication of our volunteers. I have seen so many actions — both big and small — that have made huge differences to the College and to the individuals in our community of more than 35,000 alumnae. Here are a few of your collective achievements this academic year (which, I needn’t remind you, coincides with a global pandemic):

  • You welcomed each and every incoming Barnard student with an email or phone call.
  • You interviewed applicants to the College.
  • You blasted through records for participation and dollars raised for Giving Day.
  • You supported current students with your contributions to Safety Net. 
  • You challenged the community to become more actively anti-racist.
  • You kept lines of communication open among your classmates.
  • You ran for positions — and voted — in the AABC Elections.
  • You attended meetings, planned events, showed up on Zoom, participated in the conversation, made a donation, and posted on social media.

These actions were carried out by Class Agent fundraisers, Class Officers, Barnard Alumnae Admissions Representatives (BAARs), AABC Board members, committee members, and individual members.

Perhaps what’s most impressed me about Barnard’s corps of volunteers is all I’ve seen you do that is not part of any official designation. I’ve seen you reach out to support each other. You’re there at events to educate yourself about the challenges and opportunities of our time and to share your valuable perspectives on books, issues, and ideas. You have reached out to me with constructive thoughts on how I could serve better in my role. You continue to share your life stories and advice with students and fellow alumnae in Alumnae Circles, through Insights: Powered by Barnard, and during Leadership Assembly, the annual conference for Barnard volunteers. In short, Barnard alumnae don’t just show up. You SHOW UP.

Barnard alumnae volunteers have demonstrated what I’ve long believed: True leadership is not conferred by titles or job descriptions or the number of your direct reports. Each of us has the power to lead from anywhere: to see a problem and speak up, to see an issue and figure out a compassionate fix, to put ourselves out there without a guarantee of success or praise but just because it’s the right thing to do and we have something to offer. Pardon my bias, but I believe Barnard alumnae embody this bold leadership better than anyone. 

Be well,

Amy Veltman ’89
President, Alumnae Association of Barnard College and Alumnae Trustee
Latest IssueSpring 2023