Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Alum groups meet in Chicago for convenience

When Northwestern alumni gather for events and get-togethers, they often end up meeting not in the city where their alma mater is located but in its bigger neighbor to the south.

The Northwestern Alumni Association hosts a majority of its events in Chicago, said Aspasia Apostolakis, director for students and young alumni career services for NAA. She said Chicago’s location and accessibility is the primary reason for this decision.

“We host events in the city because that’s where alumni want to go to events,” Apostolakis said. “A lot of them work and/or live in the city, so we look at where it’s the most convenient for them to travel, so they don’t have to commute long distance.”

NAA also hosts some events in Evanston, such as Homecoming in the fall and A Day with Northwestern in the spring. An event’s target audience usually determines its location, Apostolakis said. Events targeted towards students often take place in the Evanston campus, she said. For example, an event next week called the Alumni Connection Series involves alumni panelists speaking to students about various topics, like the Careers in Theater talk taking place Monday.

Chicago is also a prime spot for events hosted by alumni clubs, particularly the NU Club of Chicago. Jonathan Cummings, program assistant for the club’s team at NAA, said the club hosts a majority of its events in Chicago because that’s where it’s based.

“The board members in the Chicago Club are volunteers, so in terms of having board meetings or events during the week, it would be the most convenient for people to meet where it would be convenient for them to go after work,” he said.

The NAA and the alumni clubs are separate entities, however. All students are automatically a part of the NAA after they graduate, but the alumni clubs, spread out all over the country and even across the globe, are optional for alumni.

Cummings explained that the more than 50 different alumni clubs could be seen as an extension of the NAA. The clubs require dues, while the NAA is free for everyone.

The desire to distinguish between the association and the club is another key in determining the location of a particular event, Cummings said.

“Aside from the fact that there’s a little more going on in Chicago, it’s also so the club doesn’t get lost in the mix of everything that’s going on in Northwestern’s backyard,” he said. “People don’t know what’s what, whether it’s the alumni association, the alumni club or just something on campus for alumni. We want to separate ourselves as the club.”

He added that the association tends to host larger-scale events, because they have the resources and staff to do so. The club consists only of volunteers.

Still, the club hosts big events once in a while, he said. Last year, it threw a holiday party with 150 guests and another 150 on the waitlist. It will throw a similar party this year during the first week of December, Cummings said.

“We try to brand events like that so people see the difference between the association and the club, and so they can see how much the club does and the benefits of being part of the club,” he said.

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Alum groups meet in Chicago for convenience