CALC 2019 Review

by Jenny Ritter Kelly ’89, current Club and Association Alumni Peer Advisor

Sessions and Expo from CALC 2019

Have you attended CALC?

Walking into the Sheraton Boston Hotel lobby, I immediately saw a big Cornell banner and the friendly desk clerks were all wearing Cornell polo shirts. I headed to the CALC registration desk and picked up my name badge. In the registration lobby, there was a huge counter filled with Cornell pens, CALC schedules, brochures, and affinity tags for the name badges, such as what state you live in, Greek affiliation, and your leadership role(s). There are also tables with snacks and coffee/tea stations, a step and repeat, a bank of computers to allow alums to vote for alumni trustees and a networking area. This is the hub of CALC.

On Friday afternoon, the opening session was with Ryan Lombardi, Vice President, Student & Campus Life. The highlight was a student panel where six students discussed their life on the hill. Next, depending on your leadership role, you could attend your class meeting or various break out sessions. The evening concluded with a networking reception, a fraternity and sorority reception and for class officers, the Cornell Association of Class Officers Dinner. The students on the panel from earlier in the day were at the networking reception and were engrossed in discussions with alums.

Saturday started early with breakfast in the Grand Ballroom. Associate Vice President of Alumni Affairs Michelle Vaeth ’98 and Cornell Alumni Advisory Board Chair Kelly Brown ’88, MBA ’92 presented the draft of the Alumni Affairs 5 Year Strategic Plan. We broke into small groups for discussion of the plan. It was a great opportunity to bond with other alums and we all left our sessions energized that Cornell was willing to hear our voices and happy we made new friends.

Saturday afternoon included a lunch with Rakesh Khurana ’89, Dean of Harvard College, professor of sociology and organizational behavior at Harvard University, and Faculty Dean of Cabot House. He shared his personal journey managing change throughout his career and while implementing a strategic plan. The seating at lunch differs every year – this year was by your college.

We had a choice of sessions in the afternoon, including Volunteer Core Competencies, Engaging Generations of Alumni Through Activity and Social Media, Greek Life Today, and Class Officers Make a Difference. No matter your volunteer interest, CALC has something for everyone. In our session, Engaging Generations of Alumni, we had a full room of club leaders and discussed best practices for social media and events. Who knew Curling was the most popular club event? Or that the Cornell Club of Rochester celebrates Founder’s Day on Ezra Cornell’s birthday and Slope Day on the same day as the undergrads.

The day ended with a Volunteer Expo, Celebration reception, and Young Alumni Reception. Some class officers in reunion years stayed through Sunday to work on reunion planning. Other alumni stayed over until Sunday and enjoyed the great restaurants in Boston.

So why attend CALC? With over 600 alumni and 150 students attending, it’s a great way to network, meet high-level Cornell University administrators, and learn more about all facets of Cornell that can help you in your leadership role. You will leave exhausted, rejuvenated, and well-prepared for your volunteer role.

To read more about the schedule from CALC 2019, please visit

Cornell University Athletics – Planning Events in Your Town


Cornell University Athletics

As the 2019-2020 academic year kicks off, check out the currently available competition schedules for teams by visiting the Athletic’s Calendar. You can also read all about the teams and the athletes by visiting Cornell Big Red.

For those areas lucky enough to see the Big Red live in your town; connect with the local box office to inquire about tickets, and head out to cheer on our student-athletes! No teams visiting? No problem! Review the schedule and if the event is live-streamed, consider hosting a watch party at a local establishment, invite the competition for some friendly rivalry and cheer (loudly) for the Big Red!

Either way, email to let us know you are hosting a party or connect with your Regional Staff Contact. We can also share ideas on how to arrange a local watch party. With enough notice, we may be able to send along some spirit in a box!

Let’s Go Red!

Homecoming Weekend


Big Red Athletics on the Road

A great way to show Cornell pride locally is to cheer our athletes on while they are on the road. See the schedule to find an event in your area:

Here are some suggestions to show Big Red Spirit and share in the excitement with area alumni:

  • Encourage alumni to meet up at a venue nearby before or after the contest
  • Gather everyone in the same area at the event (i.e.: meet by the picnic tables, buy your tickets in section XX)
  • Watch televised events together at a local restaurant/sports bar

Have you hosted an athletics centered event before? Share your tips & tricks for success in the comments!

Event Spotlight: Coastal Connecticut Cornell Club Cornell Through the Ages

by the Coastal Connecticut Cornell Club

On Sunday April 23rd more than 40 newly accepted students, alumni, and family members experienced life at Cornell Through the Ages from the perspectives of different alumni over time.

left to right: Sam Bender DVM ’41, Bethany Douglas ’15, and Bob Linden ’71, MD ’75

Hosted jointly by the Coastal Connecticut Cornell Club (CCCC), the Cornell Club of Rhode Island, and Cornell Alumni Affairs & Development, the program was facilitated by Shana Mueller ’95 and featured three alumni panelists: Big Red Centenarian Sam Bender DVM ’41, Bob Linden ’71, MD ’75, and Bethany Douglas ’15.  Sam recounted life on the Hill in the 1930s post-depression era, Bob described the tumultuous 1960s, and Bethany described the current campus culture.

The event was kicked off by Caroline Wetzel ’99, President of CCCC.  Caroline explained that Bob got to know Sam Bender after both Bob and Sam had signed up for the Cornell – Brown football game and lunch alumni event organized by CCCC.  Bob was so moved by Sam’s vivid memories and humor that Bob was eager to organize a forum for Sam and other passionate alumni to share their experiences.

Through a combination of answers to prepared questions, responses to queries from the audience, and spontaneous reflection, Sam, Bob, and Bethany explained why they chose Cornell, what experiences were most memorable, and what they thought differentiated Cornell from other education institutions.

Highlights of the program included:
• Sam describing how he obtained a real “sheepskin” (i.e. degree) and marriage certificate in the same month
• Bob sharing Pulitzer Prize-winning images of the Willard Straight Hall takeover and recounting his fellow crew members’ experiences
• Bethany describing all of the social networks on campus – and discovering in conversation with alumni in the audience that “Facetime in front of Willard Straight Hall” means something different today with social media than it did 50 years ago.

Following the event, all enjoyed light refreshments and further conversations about life at Cornell.  Indeed, the Big Red spirit was alive and buzzing in New England!

CU Staff Spotlight: Lily Carbonara

Get to know your Regional Staff! Today we are featuring Lily Carbonara, Assistant Director for Alumni Affairs. She works out of the Northeast Corridor Office in NYC.

CS: Tell us about yourself.
LC: I grew up in Sullivan County, NY and attended Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications. I really enjoy cooking/baking, even if I’m not the greatest at it, because there are few situations food cannot make better (my dog Stella agrees).  I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and will most likely read any Game of Thrones fan theory I come across; same goes for several other series/books as well – I’m a sucker for click bait.

CS: What is your role at Cornell?
LC: My role is to be the primary point of contact for the Regional Clubs throughout Metro NY, which includes Connecticut and New Jersey. I also work with the Cornell Tech Alumni Council and have been dabbling in the world of Cornell Women’s Network. I think of myself as the behind the scenes crew to the clubs’ productions; I’m here to make them look good and help them work through challenges. A piece of my job is also connecting alumni to opportunities and each other; it’s always nice to see how those simple introductions can blossom.

CS: What do you like most about your position?
LC: Meeting people and sharing creative ideas. Volunteers, and especially Cornellians, are always such interesting people with many passions and experiences. Getting to know these people really opens my eyes to many possibilities – on a personal level, and professionally in terms of ideas for new creative events or ways to work together.

CS: What’s a piece of advice you often share with your volunteers?
LC: Volunteering should be fun and offer you gratification.  If it’s not, let’s talk so we can get your experience back on track and don’t feel guilty if you need to step away to take time for yourself or other priorities.

CS: What are your favorite things to do in Ithaca?
LC: When I was in college my friends and I would grab Wegman’s subs and have a picnic near one of the waterfalls – usually Buttermilk as it was easiest for us to get to. I also think that IC has the best view of the lake from campus!

CS: Anything else we should know?
LC: In my last job I was able to interact with my volunteer team in person on a near daily basis, and that is something I miss; real time conversation has a certain je ne sais quoi that emails can sometimes lack. So, invite me to your events, call me to share updates or ask questions, set up video calls (one on one or as a group), or let me know when you’re in NYC so I can connect with you better – my metaphorical door is always open!  While I work with and in Metro NY, I’d love to connect with volunteers and events from other regions and parts of the University as well should the opportunity arise.

Lily can be reached at or (212) 351-7682.

#TBT: Convincing Accepted Students to Choose Cornell

It’s that time of year again- admissions decisions have come in and students are deciding where to spend the next 4 years. Many of you are hosting Accepted Students receptions in the coming weeks. Here’s a re-post of an article from two years ago that includes some helpful tips on increasing student yield. For the most recent facts and news, visit Cornell admissions. Thanks for everything you do to show accepted students why they should go Big Red!

by Jessica Raha ’99

In March, 2015, Susie Schneider and Kyle Downey from Cornell’s Undergraduate Admissions Office (UAO) spoke to Regional Club and CAAAN Leaders.  They spoke about the importance of yield, defined as the number of entering students/number of admitted students.

Alumni can have an impact on yield by including hosting admitted student receptions, encouraging admitted students to visit Cornell, and staying current on messaging from Cornell. Key yield messaging:

  • Cornell is home to students from all over the U.S. and 120 different nations – anyone can find their place on the hill.
  • The depth and breadth of academic options are amazing.
  • Great athletics and rich traditions enhance the Cornell experience.
  • Ithaca is a top college town and one of the best places to live – noted by multiple publications each year
  • Cornell food is famous – Cornell dining is ranked in top 10 by both Huffington Post and Princeton Review
  • Cornell has 250,000 living alumni all over the world – it’s like joining a great Big Red family.

Click to view presentation slides

What is your club doing to improve yield in your area?

iModules training webinars- sign up now!

Do you have access to iModules? Do you have questions about how to create emails or webpages? If so, read on!

Ron Babuka will be leading several webinars in the coming weeks about the creation of emails and webpages in iModules. He will go through each process step-by-step and take questions. The only requirement for attendance is that you have administrative access to iModules.

See more information and register!

Event Spotlight: Cornell Club of Austin Slope Day

by Christian Compton ’14

Following the local spirit of innovation, the Cornell Club of Austin is always trying new events to connect and engage with our expanding community.  Last May, one of these experiments was Cornell Slope Day in Austin.  The event was held downtown at Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse, where we met up for casual dinner and drinks.   Relaxing with other Cornellians on the patio while enjoying live music made us almost feel like we were back on the hill, except it was about thirty degrees warmer than the festivities that were simultaneously underway in Ithaca.

Alumni attending spanned several decades, but all were able to bond over their Slope Day memories as we reminisced about our time on the hill,  whether it was comparing which year had the worst weather, or which artist put on the best show. Following up on the success of last year’s event, the Cornell Club of Austin is planning to turn this into an annual event. Stay tuned for a similar event at a local brewery this May.

As one of the fastest growing cities in America, new Cornell alumni join us regularly for their first events and great friendships are made.  As someone who knew no one before moving here, I can honestly say that my first friends in Austin were Cornellians.  This community is really supportive, and provides great advice to those unfamiliar with central Texas, whether it be about affordable real estate, the vibrant New American food scene, or esoteric weekend festivals.  Coming up soon, we are hosting a networking event to better share how to leverage the opportunities across our network for new Austinites.

Our club is very active in Austin’s Ivy+ community, and plans many events with other alumni clubs in the area – follow us on Facebook or visit our website to find out about upcoming events and get involved with our community.

CALC- what did you think?

In the first weekend of February, 700 Cornell leaders from all over the world traveled to Baltimore for the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (CALC). It was great to see such a strong presence from our Regional Club Leaders! If you missed it, check out the Chronicle Feature to see the highlights from the weekend.

If you attended, what was your biggest takeaway? If you did not attend, what would you have liked to learn?

Comment with your thoughts!