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All Roads Lead to the HAA
Interviews, Photos, other perspectives at the Harvard Alumni Association
Paths to and Paths on the HAAThere are numerous ways to get onto the HAA Board of Directors. You can come from any Harvard school, be living anywhere, you don't even need to have a Harvard degree (yet), as long as you're an active leader in the alumni community. Some people start off involved with the HAA as undergraduates, while others don't do much as an alumni until they reach a 10th, 20th, or even later reunion. Here, I'll highlight a few different paths to and paths on the HAA to explore who makes up this organization and what they do in it.
Undergraduates on the Board of DirectorsWhen it comes to bringing in undergraduates, the HAA relies heavily on nominations from different corners of the university. The recruitment committee is led by a team of 5 current members of the committee, and the amount of positions available depends on how many members will be staying on for the next year. Members of the committee who are not a part of the recruiting process have chance to meet invited candidates at "get to know the HAA Board" style events in the middle of the recruitment process for candidates to have their questions answered about our work.
Undergraduates on the board serve a default one year term with the chance to stay on longer, and many of our members have gone on to achieve great accolades, including the Harvard Spirit of the College Award, the Truman Scholarship, and the Rhodes Scholarship.
Amelia Muller AB'11 - Undergraduate Involvement, Driven by LegacySome people get involved with the HAA as undergraduates through means other than the Board. Amelia Muller, College Class of 2011, graduate of Lowell House and History of Art and Architecture concentrator (another HAA acronym!), got her start with the HAA as a student employee. The Harvard Alumni Association hires students to help around their office, and Amelia took up that job, eventually moving onto a precursor of the Building Community Committee where she represented undergraduates to the HAA. Importantly, her reasoning for first getting involved as a student worker was familial, a common thread among active participants in the alumni association. Her father was involved in the HAA and as a result, Amelia got to see some of the networking benefits of being involved in the HAA and saw this as a great opportunity to meet people with a similar background from all over the globe. As a member of the Board who was previously engaged as an undergraduate, she's worked towards further involving undergraduates in the work of the Association, including expanding campus outreach and spreading information about the work of the HAA.
Kathryn McKinley AB'09 - SCC to HAA, Dinner Guest to Board of DirectorsKathryn McKinley, College Class of 2009, graduate of Winthrop House with a concentration in Social Studies and a secondary in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, also went through what is now the Building Community Committee in her early years with the HAA. A member of multiple women's organizations and a former athlete as a student, Kathryn had always been heavily involved at Harvard and wanted to continue her growth as a member of the Harvard community. Much like Amelia, her father was also a College alumnus and active member in the HAA and a volunteer for the Harvard College Fund who took her to HAA dinners, so Kathryn got early exposure to the vast alumni network and saw the dedication that others had to the College post-graduation. As a senior, Kathryn was co-chair of the Senior Class Committee (SCC), a program run by the College Fund to campaign for the Senior Gift and to identify class leaders for future engagement. Kathryn notes that she has had substantive interaction with undergraduates during her time on the HAA, but sees room for growth, suggesting the Association create mentorship programs to continue HAA Board engagement beyond the three meetings of the year. Kathryn also points out that the commonly raised issue of size and bureaucracy when it comes to Alumni work (HCF, HAA, Senior Class Committee, etc), so informing undergraduates about the work and nature of these organizations early on is a critical point of improvement for the HAA.