Princeton alumni have regional associations from Tampa to Taiwan, so it would stand to reason that there would be a club for Tigers living in the communities near campus – at least that’s what Kristin Alyea Epstein ’97 figured when she and her husband, John ’96, moved back to the Princeton area.
Epstein learned that the local alumni association had fizzled out in the 1990s, but the Alumni Association staff offered to support her if she hoped to revive the group. Though it seemed daunting at first, she decided to try.
Her first meeting, in 2008, drew about 40 people who brought a range of ideas for events and programs. Epstein asked them to sign up for committees on their way out of the room, and to her surprise, everyone did. “People stepped up right away,” she said, “and it’s really amazing how much it’s expanded.”
Over the last four years, the Princeton Area Alumni Association (a.k.a. PA3) has built a presence in community service, career networking, social activities, and educational events like the quarterly PA3 Tiger Talks, which feature guest speakers discussing hot topics ranging from charter schools to climate change. The group also has taken advantage of its proximity to campus, interacting with current undergrads and graduate students to serve as an “introduction to alumni-hood,” Epstein said.
In all, there are now about 50 PA3 events on the calendar each year, and as the alumnus who nominated Epstein wrote, “She has not done this alone, but she has been the locomotive pulling the train.”
The hard work is not without its perks: At the PA3 annual dinner earlier this month (a dinner that drew more than 100 people), Epstein was able to sit next to Harold Shapiro *64, the night’s featured speaker and Princeton’s president during Epstein’s undergraduate days. “When I was an undergraduate,” she said, “I never would have pictured that in a million years.”
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