President’s Alumni Advisory Council Meets Sonya Stephens

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AUP alumni remain committed members of our global community long after graduation. One important way for former students to give back is through membership of the President’s Alumni Advisory Council (PAAC). The PAAC is a university-run organization that acts as an advisory group or sounding board for President Sonya Stephens. Members provide feedback on policy proposals and strategic initiatives, with the overarching goal of furthering AUP’s alumni engagement, recruitment and advancement efforts.

“The PAAC is a great resource, providing leadership, experience and advice to help President Stephens as she takes the reigns of the University,” says Petra Jenkins ’88, who recently joined the PAAC in 2021. Jenkins, along with 25 other members of the council, got to meet with President Stephens for the first time during a virtual meeting on September 20, 2022.

“AUP was an incredible rewarding experience, instilling in me a more worldly and global perspective,” explains Petra, when asked why she wanted to join the PAAC. “I wanted to give back to an institution that provided me with a deeper appreciation of culture, art and language.”

The PAAC also meets in person at events in cities around the world. Elan Garonzik ’70 often hosts fellow members in New York, including at a recent Presidential Reception with Stephens on November 12, which was attended by over 20 PAAC members and included a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by alumna Leslie Tait ’70. “The PAAC helps link more and more alumni back to AUP,” explains Elan. “This is a great year to bring more alumni into the fold. We have a new president, and with the Olympics upcoming in 2024, there are many reasons to keep an eye on Paris.”

The PAAC also contains various subcommittees that specialize in different policy areas. Alexis Jeffries ’12 is chair of the Diversity Subcommittee, a position she took up in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the ensuing prominence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “I wanted to reconnect with AUP to contribute further,” she explains. “I thought the Diversity Committee would be a substantive way to contribute.”

Alexis believes that mentoring and sponsorship are key ways in which alumni can give back to AUP’s student community and that alumni have much to offer when it comes to advancing diversity initiatives at the school. “President Stephens is very eager to hear what we have to say,” she notes. “Our impact will be in lifting up alumni voices so we can see our efforts reflected in an even more mature university in the coming years.”

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these projects or events as a member of the President’s Alumni Advisory Council, you can find out more information on how to sign up by clicking the button below.