Elon students and alumni unite in NYC

Elon’s New York City Regional Center hosts a series of events connecting students and alumni to the city.

The Elon New York City Regional Alumni Center kicked off the summer by acquiring a new office space in the heart of midtown Manhattan at WorkHouse NYC.

Since the recent addition of this space, the regional alumni center has been home to a series of events for alumni and students, including orientation for Elon students participating in a capstone course this summer, a leadership and planning meeting with the Elon Latinx and Hispanic Alumni Network (ELHAN) and an admissions information session for prospective students.

Elon students on a tour of New York City’s five boroughs.

Beyond the new space, the center has also hosted several events for students and alumni, such as outings to Broadway shows, joint meals to learn about the city’s culture and cheering on the New York City Football Club. This summer’s events have served the dual purpose of creating community and connection for Elon students, alumni and prospective families while also introducing current students completing their capstone course to the diversity that exists in the global microcosm that is New York City.

Under Boldly Elon’s Connect theme, the Office of University Advancement worked collaboratively with the Global Education Center, the Student Professional Development Center and other offices to establish Elon’s Regional Alumni Center in New York City. The regional center will help Elon better support its New York community by serving alumni through professional development, networking opportunities and internships. The center will also serve as a hub for StudyUSA and serving prospective families acting somewhat as a satellite admissions headquarters in the city. Through its visioning, planning and implementation, the NYC Regional Center was created to serve as a hub for lifelong learning and professional education.

On May 29, Elon students participating in the “New York City: Living in the Global Community” Core Capstone course began their summer with an orientation led by the Global Education Center. While also completing their internships, this course is designed to help students understand the diversity and complexity of humanity and their role in the global community as they begin to live as global citizens.

“The great part about teaching a course in NYC this summer is that students can get into the city as they do their research,” said Naeemah Clark, professor of the Core Capstone course.

The students have a final project where they are using podcasts as a form of public scholarship. To gather information, students visited the Historical Society, The American Indian Museum and The Museum of the Moving Image.

Elon students on rooftop of WorkHouse NYC.

“These places not only provide information, but also inspire them to think about how to approach their podcasts. At the same time, they are immersed in a city that offers global cultures a few steps away from their apartment,” Clark added.

The program’s orientation was jam-packed as students learned how to navigate the city, visited the Empire State Building, and got a tour and history lesson of several of New York’s most iconic landmarks and neighborhoods.

Associate Director of Alumni Engagement Rachaele Henderson led a tour of the WorkHouse space for students and alumni, who also participated in a scavenger hunt.

Students were also able to have a one-on-one meeting with Brooke Buffington, assistant vice president of Elon’s Student Profession Development Center, to discuss their career aspirations, gain networking tips and prepare for upcoming interviews.

These meetings helped solidify strong internships for all 17 students in the Core Capstone course.

“It was exciting to hear more about students’ goals for their internship. These internships will help the students learn more about who they are as future professionals and guide them in determining what careers they want to pursue in the future,” Buffington said.

Throughout the summer, students will have multiple opportunities to network in meaningful ways with Elon alumni living in New York City and discuss being a working professional in the city.

On Monday, June 5, students met with Kanree Wright ‘14 at Lagos near Times Square for Nigerian food. During this meeting, Wright shared her experience as a first-generation migrant from Liberia and shared her experience as an Elon alumna living in the city.

“I wanted the students to have a unique experience as they explore NYC’s multicultural landscape, so I chose an African restaurant. I’m a West African refugee and my African culture is at the base of my story and my overall mission. So, I was excited to share my culture and journey as a young NYC professional over some traditional African cuisine like jollof rice, pepper soup, and suya,” Wright said.
In celebration of Juneteenth on Saturday, June 17, Clark invited students to Sylvia’s, a Harlem staple since 1962, for a soul food brunch.
“As someone who had yet to experience the Elon Alumni Network, it was great to partake in a brunch alongside individuals who have already paved paths in the fields I aspire to explore. The event held a special significance as it coincided with Juneteenth, adding an extra layer of meaning. I am grateful for this opportunity and the connections that Elon offers,” said Michael Blair ’25, a student in the program. 

On Sunday, June 4, students and Alumni gathered to watch the Broadway show “The Thanksgiving Play.” This show, coupled with an in-class discussion, prompted students to think about what responsibility we hold to research and tell the real history of a minoritized population; the one that is often hard to tell and even harder to hear.

Students and alumni at a cooking course with De Gustibus Cooking School
Students and alumni at a cooking course with De Gustibus Cooking School .

Students and alumni also had the opportunity to try their hands in the kitchen at the De Gustibus Cooking School on the eighth floor of the famous Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street. This cooking class gave a unique opportunity for students to get to know alumni while co-creating a component of the meal they were about to share together.

“The conversations I had with Elon Alumni from NYC have been very delightful, nice, and educational. I was able to learn a lot from them while getting to know them as people at the same time,” Bonnie Buffoe-Bonnie ‘25 said.

Lauren Ludlow ’13 said, “The cooking class with Elon was an incredible experience. Having lived in New York for 10 years, I loved getting to connect with students who are exploring entering the workforce in NYC. It offers a fresh perspective and a nice reflection point on how far I’ve come living in NYC. I loved getting to experience a cooking class with old and new friends from Elon.”

The New York City alumni chapter has been a champion for the Regional Center hosting events in tandem and inviting students to find ways to socialize and make connections in N.Y.C. On Wednesday, May 31, Alumni from across the city came together to cheer on the New York City Football Club as they played at Yankee Stadium. Thanks to Elon Alumnus Matt Browne ‘16, those in attendance with Elon were able to enjoy half-time on the field of Yankee Stadium – complete with a complimentary NYCFC scarf.

On Friday, June 2, Elon Latinx/Hispanic Alumni Network leadership met at WorkHouse and were given a tour of the space. Immediately after, they began to brainstorm how the space could be utilized to host events that promote their visibility in New York City. Vanessa Truelove G’24, NYC Regional Fellow, supported the partnership of the Elon Latinx Hispanic Alumni Network and the Regional Center initiative by identifying and creating a Pride gathering for Elon Alumni in New York at the Strike A Pose!: A Madonna Pride Party at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 24.

Elon alumni and students at a New York City Football Club game.

“We are excited to continue some of this great work throughout the summer and into the Fall. The partnership and collaboration across campus and New York City will have lasting effects for the students learning here this summer,” Henderson said.

On Friday, July 14, the class will get to tour the Sesame Workshop with Alonzo Cee ’18. This visit will focus on Sesame Workshops, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and how they help the children of today grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. On Tuesday, July 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., students and Alumni will gather for Networking NYC – our second annual Regional Center event focused on helping students build interviewing and networking skills with the help of alumni in NYC.

If you are an alum in the area, we invite you to come visit us this summer at WorkHouse NYC. You can also stay up to date with events by following us on Instagram, and connecting with us on LinkedIn. If you have any questions about what the regional center is up to, feel free to email Vanessa Truelove vtruelove@elon.edu.