Young Alumni Leadership Council
St. Mark’s living alumni span eight decades, with one-third of them having graduated in the last fifteen years. These younger alumni are better connected to current programs and teachers and know, firsthand, the importance of today’s St. Mark’s community. Young alumni represent the best of what St. Mark’s has to offer. At the same time, they are navigating their college years, starting careers, and establishing themselves in their communities. Strong connections to the St. Mark’s alumni community will be mutually beneficial during these transitional years.
PurposeAs leadership representatives of St. Mark’s young alumni, the members of the Young Alumni Leadership Council (YALC) serve as volunteers, representing young alumni within the greater alumni community and to the School. Members help shape the alumni experience for graduates of the past fifteen years. Activities include modeling lifelong participation, volunteerism, and philanthropic support of the school and motivating classmates to do the same.
By hosting events, facilitating networks and connections, and representing young alumni to the Alumni Executive Committee (AEC) and the School, YALC seeks to help young St. Markers transition to their alumni affiliation and establish good alumni practices.
The Young Alumni Leadership Council serves to help young alumni:
- Stay connected to the School.
- Have visibility and a voice through representation in AEC and the alumni community.
- Keep in touch with their classmates.
- Have a safe and welcoming place for conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In alliance with Black Lives Matter and Black@SM, and in coordination with the Alumni Executive Committee, YALC will create meaningful opportunities to strengthen the alumni of color networks.
- Assimilate into the St. Mark’s alumni community and benefit from its vast networks. Be aware of, and have access to, the resources of the School, the Advancement Office, and its alumni
- Enjoy fun, relevant, and meaningful engagement opportunities, including those hosted and branded by YALC.
- Foster long-term volunteerism within the alumni community (Class Agents, for example)
- Welcome the next graduating class into the alumni community (Host 50-Days Dinner)
- Understand the philanthropic culture of the School and develop their own habits of giving to St. Mark’s.
The Young Alumni Leadership Council comprises approximately 30 members with a preferred configuration of two representatives from each of the fifteen youngest classes. If possible, one representative should be a Class Agent and one representative could have been a Monitor. The composition of the group should be diverse in all ways including gender, race, and geographic location. All YALC members should have an avid interest in the history and the future of the School and should be comfortable endorsing the School’s values. As ambassadors, advocates, and allies this is an exemplary group of young St. Markers who possess the quality of leadership among their peers and who show an interest in the direction of the School.
New members from the most recent graduating class are selected by the Chair, in consultation with the Advancement Office, and are invited to join shortly after Prize Day by invitation from the Chair. New members in other class years may be invited to replace vacated seats. New members are matched with a mentor from within the existing Council when they join.Roles and Responsibilities
YALC members are asked to participate in a kick-off Zoom or call-in meeting in the fall and at least two other calls during the year. When available, YALC members are asked to attend SM alumni campus or regional events.
Members are asked to canvass their classmates for ideas and suggest programs and events focused on increasing the depth and diversity of young alumni activities. In turn, YALC members are asked to promote School activities to their classmates and encourage attendance, including participating on the class Reunion committee in Reunion cycle years. The School is eager to plan activities that are most interesting to this group.
YALC members are asked to have an active and positive role on their class social media pages. YALC members are also asked to join and engage with other young alumni in the YALC group on SM Lions Connect, the School’s online alumni community. Suggested engagement includes a monthly post by each YALC member.
All YALC members are expected to make a financial contribution to the Annual Fund every year and should be comfortable encouraging their classmates to join them. If appropriate, members are asked to consider making their own gift at the Young Founders level of support.
In these activities, YALC members are provided with lists from the School that might include contact information or giving histories. Due to the confidential nature of this information YALC members, like all of St. Mark’s volunteers, are asked not to share these lists and to use them only for their intended purpose.
Commitment to DEI
YALC is dedicated to promoting a climate that welcomes, celebrates, respects, and empowers our Black and Brown alumni. YALC pledges to create meaningful opportunities to strengthen the alumni of color network, cultivate student to alumni connections and enhance overall engagement with the School community.
YALC is led by a Chair, having been invited by the Advancement Office to take on the responsibilities of the position. The Chair works closely with a liaison from the office of Alumni and Parent Programming. Currently, the Chair of YALC is Emily Michelson ’13 supported by St. Mark’s staff members Sue Gagné and Gage Gillis. A co-Chair works alongside the Chair. A co-Chair position (currently vacant) is invited by the Chair, in consultation with the liaison(s) and should be from a younger class year. The Chair is invited to serve for as long as he/she is a YALC member. The co-Chair may be invited to step into the Chair role if that position is vacated.
The Chair may also be invited to join the Alumni Executive Committee (AEC) to represent the School’s young alumni community.
Chair Responsibilities include:
- Occasional check-ins with YALC members to exchange ideas and keep current on upcoming events.
- Sign an Annual Fund solicitation promoting 100% participation by YALC members.
- Send bi-annual email message to members with School and YALC updates
- Represent young alumni on the Alumni Executive Committee
- With staff liaisons, participate in annual planning of YALC meetings and young alumni communications and events.
- Lead conference and Zoom calls with staff liaisons.
- Select and invite co-Chair, if the position is vacant
- Confer with staff liaisons about new members, extend invitation, and make a personal outreach to invite and welcome.
- Help coordinate fiscal year-end peer-to-peer outreach for Annual Gifts
- Send hand-written notes of appreciation to YALC members who roll off YALC after their 15th reunion.
Young alumni are poised to carry the best of their St. Mark’s experiences into their alumni lives through the meaningful work of the School’s Young Alumni Leadership Council. This group’s focus is on maintaining connections between alumni and the School, and alumni and their classmates, setting the stage for lifelong relationships along with continued appreciation and support of St. Mark’s School.