The Beach in the Big Apple
When Jackie Napalan graduated from CSULB’s Business Administration program in 2013, she left with a coveted job offer in finance. The only problem? The job was in New York City.
With no friends or family on the East Coast, Jackie turned to the Alumni Association for advice. There was no established New York network at that time, but the CSU Chancellor's Office Alumni Council Executive Director, Aaron Moore, had a possible direction.
Aaron introduced Jackie to a CSUN alumna in New York who had been interested in starting a regional alumni network for the CSU system since the late 2000s. Sensing a great opportunity, Jackie began investing her time to develop a community for CSULB alumni as she moved to New York.
It started as an idea on paper, with volunteers hosting informal CSU meetups around the city and hoarding marketing materials in their small apartments for future events, but positive feedback from alums gave Jackie the motivation to push on. The CSU-NYC alumni network now has support from the CSU Chancellor's Office and all 23 alumni associations of the CSU system.
“People often move to New York with a dream and without any expectations; they don't even know how to get started, how to find good roommates, or how to pick a neighborhood to live in,” says Napalan. “We wanted to provide our alumni with a community to connect and find resources. There's a huge Beach constituency here."
Today, the flagship CSU Alumni Receptions in New York are attended by hundreds of CSU alums and regularly host university presidents like Jane Close Conoley. Jackie and the cadre of Beach alumni lead the pack in attendance and initiative, providing critical support, relationships, and a sense of belonging for their transplanted peers.