The Yale Club of Beijing (YCB or the Club) is an informal social group comprising Yale University alumni and friends. YCB is not a part of Yale University or the Association of Yale Alumni and receives no funding from outside of China. Through the years, the Club has expanded its activities from alumni gatherings to events encompassing Service, Learning and Fellowship.
The Club held 28 events over the past 12 months, portions of which were hosted in conjunction with the Yale Center Beijing or other alumni clubs. The bulk (16) of these were Learning events, followed by Fellowship (8) and Service (4). Most Club events are open to Friends of Yale, who have enriched the dialogues and helped spread our reputation around the city. The Day of Service, in particular, saw participation and donation by Friends from 20+ schools. In order to reflect Yale’s diversity, the Club’s Learning program spanned topics including entrepreneurship, music, electric cars, US-China relations, food safety, Chinese movies, globalization, graphic design, architecture, Chinese fashion, rural China, innovation, the Dunhuang caves, and cultural heritage preservation. Our Service programs included a book donation trip to Guiyang, mentoring activities with the Project Kickstart students, and the annual Day of Service. Fellowship events included an Ivy Speed Dating (a first in Beijing), trivia contest with Harvard and Princeton, “The Game” tailgate, welcome reception for incoming students, Feb Club Emeritus, ski trip and happy hours with other schools.
This year, the Yale Club of Beijing also won the Association of Yale Alumni’s AYA Excellence Award in the Outstanding International Club category, standing out from 70+ other Yale alumni clubs around the world. “[The AYA Volunteer Leadership Committee] was impressed with the scope of the club’s work and its outreach beyond the immediate Yale community”, said Alison Brody, Committee Chair, in her congratulatory email. I would like to thank all past YCB leaders and volunteers for making this possible!
YCB events would not be possible without the continued support of all our volunteers. In addition to Vice President Bailey Carroll and Treasurer Adam Zhang, who have served in these positions for the past four and two years respectively, YCB volunteers include Kaichen Xu, Daniel Tam-Claiborne, Catherine Feng, Lea Yu, Judith Chen, Xi Chen, Hannah Wang, Lei Huang, Bryce Hwang, Timothy Shih, Victoria Wu, Irene Shi, Jasmine Lau, Ming Rong Weng, Vivian Li, Colm and Carol Rafferty and members of the Board of Advisors. This group organized, hosted and underwrote events, wrote event recaps, drafted newsletters (34 of them in total), and updated the Club’s website (yaleclubofbeijing.net). They did all of this without seeking recognition or personal gains and the Club very much appreciates their hard work and dedication. We’d also like to thank once again Friend of Yale Ms. Lei Huang 黄蕾 for donating a total of ¥3,000 to the Guiyang Book Donation and this year’s Day of Service event.
The Club has also held eight events at the Yale Center Beijing since it opened last October. We thank the Center for inviting us to jointly sponsor some of these events. Kudos to the Center’s M.D. Carol Li Rafferty for leading a team of dedicated staff that has always gone the extra mile to ensure our events run smoothly. We’re currently working on ways to strengthen our cooperation in the coming year.
In addition to the Yale Center Beijing, our members and Friends have enjoyed the cozy ambiance of the Courtyard Institute, where we’ve held several events over the past two years. We’d like to give a big shout out to the Institute’s Matthew Hu for accommodating us and sharing his knowledge of hutongs with us.
Last but not least, we thank all the speakers for donating their time and sharing their wisdom with us.
We used the small profit from events and annual dues to subsidize service activities and to pay for tchotchke (e.g. lapel pins) and sundry expenses. All officers and volunteers paid for tickets to events they attended or hosted as well as all expenses at officer meetings. Our goal was and continues to be keeping event costs low enough that it is not a factor in deciding whether or not to attend an event.
In closing, I’d like to call on all Yalies and Friends to step forward and help run the Club with us. We encourage you to bring your idea forward and run with it! Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Cheng, MA 1987 President