CSU Voices and Views

Creating a Community of “Cal State Locals”—in New York!

By Cristina Rosales
Alumna, California State University Northridge

Cristina Rosales, CSU volunteer and a member of CSU’s Class of 3 Million, with Aaron Moore, CSU’s director of alumni relations, during the 2011 Cal State Tri-State Alumni reception.

Cristina Rosales, CSU volunteer and a member of CSU’s Class of 3 Million, with Aaron Moore, CSU’s director of alumni relations, during the 2011 Cal State Tri-State Alumni reception.

I moved to New York City ten years ago to take on a job opportunity to work for a well-known investment bank, a chance I considered was a huge stepping stone for my professional career. I’ve always lived in Southern California and was looking for a dramatic change – so I jumped at the chance and moved across country to take on the job and most importantly the Big Apple. After five years working for the investment bank I, along with the numerous financial professionals, fell victim to the 2007-2008 market crash and had to scramble to land a new job. During my job search and after months of attending several networking events, whether it was through another university’s alumni or an industry-specific event, I realized that my own alumni university did not have a regional chapter in the city. How could this be?

Five years ago, Cal State University’s alumni network reach wasn’t as far east as New York. Why wouldn’t CSU’s presence be out East? Did other Cal State alums take the same leap as I did and head out East? If so, how many of these alums are here? And because of these curiosities, I made it my mandate to change that or at least start to change the norm. During my unemployment in 2009, I reached out to CSUN’s alumni office and the CSU Chancellor’s Office to see how I could help or start an alumni chapter in the Tri-State area—in New York City; and this is when I met Aaron Moore, CSU’s director of alumni relations. After many discussions with Aaron, he guided me through how I could start a local CSU alumni chapter. The first step would be by volunteering for the first Cal State Tri-State Alumni reception held in 2009, which would provide me with my first introduction to the California State alums residing in New York.

Being the first face fellow alumni see at the event was extremely important because I wanted them to remember me as soon as they arrived; a familiar face to approach during the event or will see again the following year. The event became an annual occurrence and year after year, and I made sure I attended and was at the sign up table. However these annual events weren’t enough. And they still aren’t.

This is why I volunteer my time to help start a regional alumni chapter in New York. I want to build out a regional chapter that goes beyond the yearly alumni networking event; I want to continue the momentum and create a community of “Cal State Locals.”

Being a transplant from another state and not having an immediate community to lean on that can help you get settled in a new town can be challenging. And I wanted to help remedy this. I’d hope that future California transplants would have a local community to reach out to whether it’s for professional or personal reasons. How nice would it be move into a bustling metropolitan city, and have someone who can tell you who the best doctor is, what restaurants to go to, the best places for networking, how to find your next job and how to develop professional networks in the city? Thus, the reasons of the start of the Cal State Project: New York/Tri-State Alumni Chapter.

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  • Aaron Moore

    Cris, you are awesome and a great CSU ambassador! Thanks for all you do for CSUN, the CSU and your fellow alumni!

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