The 2022 Andover Alumni Volunteer Summit welcomed alumni from a wide array of graduation classes for a weekend of events on campus, including Alumni Council Committee meetings and options for breakout sessions, such as a curator tour of the Addison Gallery of American Art and student-led campus tours.
Organized by the Office of Academy Resources and the Alumni Council, the Summit kicked off early Friday morning with a breakfast at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archeology. The events then ended on Saturday afternoon with an outdoor Distinguished Service Awards luncheon.
Karleigh Antista, Associate Director of Affinity Based Engagement in the Office of Academy Resources, described the purpose of the programming as enabling alumni to interact across generations, as well as connect with the current community on campus.
“[The] volunteer summit is an opportunity for our alumni volunteers to come back to campus, so, that includes a variety of volunteer roles, including our alumni admission representatives, our class agents, our class secretaries, as well as Alumni Council members and some other groups that are invited as well… when we bring people back to campus, we try to really let them see Andover as it is today. Our Alumni obviously have some great memories of their time here, but it’s nice for them to know how it is now, and how it’s changed, and what is currently going on on campus,” said Antista.
Founded in 1946, the Alumni Council is the governing body of the Andover-Abbot Alumni Association and aims to preserve and strengthen the connections between alumni after graduation. The Council currently stands at around 140 members, each serving four-year terms, and consists of 12 committees––eight independent standing committees and four association committees––based around core activities such as activism, outreach, and remembrance.
Candace Douglas ’00, one of three Vice Presidents of the Alumni Council, expressed her wishes for more student-alumni relationships. She hopes to provide alumni an opportunity to take a more active role within Andover’s campus community.
“I think one of my dreams in general is for students to see [us] as a resource. I wish more students felt that they could come and approach us, because we want to talk to you, but you’ve also got six million things going on at any given time. I think the alumni body is very rich in terms of resources and knowledge. And I mean, to be quite frank, some of them are just plain money, I’m not gonna deny that. But I always wish that there were more ways for students to feel that they could organically reach out to alumni and start having those conversations early…and I don’t want to just feel like we’re just showing up for the council experience or as donors, but [also] that we’re showing up for students,” said Douglas.
Despite the seemingly selfless nature of community service at Andover, Sam Butler ’72, a recipient of the 2022 Andover Distinguished Service Award, explained that returning to Andover is more than pure kindness. For him, it is a reimmersion into the Andover community.
“You know, we’re volunteers, and the school likes to talk about our selflessness. But it’s not selfless. It’s not even remotely selfless. It’s an opportunity, it’s very selfish. It’s an opportunity for us to come back and be a part of a school again, even for only a day that you guys are all enjoying right now, we enjoyed years and years ago, but which were not as much of a part of it. So just coming back to campus and seeing the campus and interacting with students, and seeing old friends and interacting with faculty members, that was always the draw,” said Butler.
President of the Alumni Council Jennifer Amstutz ’86 also believes that many alumni volunteers came to the summit and continue to take an active role in the community, not only because they want to give back, but also because alumni events serve as a way to connect with more people at Andover. She emphasized the valuable opportunity to build relationships within the community as the highlight of the Summit.
“What I enjoyed most about the weekend was really the relationship building and the hearing. We heard from students at lunch on Friday. There were four students who spoke about their experience with the community engagement programs, and really who they were… that’s the thing we can’t get anywhere else, to really talk to students and hear the amazing things that they’re doing. Their perspective on what’s going on at Andover and their kind of vision for where they’re going with their future—that is always the best part of coming back,” said Amstutz.