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AOC Projects

A long shot of the Sproul Intercultural Center in bright autumn

Alumni of Color network members identify, nurture, and expand the myriad ways in which alumni of color contribute and give back to the College and the College community, and enlist additional alumni as volunteers through outreach and leadership development.

AOC Steering Committee volunteers have set these six project priorities for 2019-20

Admissions | Mentoring | Student & Alumni Career Connections | Philanthropy | Community BuildingNewsletters


During the 2019–20 academic year, 13% of the student body are international students and 58% of students are non-white. 33% of the admitted Class of 2024 are affiliated with local, national, and international community based organizations, and 28% are among the first generation of their family to attend college. 

Get involved: Serve as an Admissions interviewer for first-year or transfer students in the fall, or host an informational interview in the spring for accepted students who have not yet decided whether to attend Swarthmore.


AOC volunteers are looking into ways alumni can serve as informal mentors to students by working with students to identify connection opportunities and alumni availability. 

Get involved: Update your Alumni Online Community profile to include areas you are interested in mentoring in, which can include fields of expertise, academic interests, career, extracurricular activities, and identity/affinity groups. While you're updating your profile, be sure to list yourself as a member of AOC under "groups." 

Student & Alumni Career Connections

Alumni of Color students and volunteers gather on campus in February 2020.In February 2020, Alumni of Color volunteers based in DC, New York, and Philadelphia returned to campus for a pair of career panels. The first panel focused on "The Decision To Go To Law School."
After touching on the relative lack of diversity in the legal profession, the four women panelists discussed their varying paths to law school, their experiences while students, and their subsequent careers. The panelists engaged with students on a wide set of questions, including identifying a law school with the right "fit," and balancing personal and professional commitments
Many thanks to the panelists:

  • Kristina Alayan ’03, the Law Library director and an assistant professor of law at Howard University School of Law
  • Laura Damerville ’03, an assistant general counsel at the Smithsonian Institution
  • Arianna Freeman ’01, managing attorney at the Non-Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Syeda Tasnim ’08, attorney and deputy director of grants for the Urban Justice Center in New York City

The second panel focused on “Building a Career in the Nonprofit Sector.” With Laura Damerville '03 moderating, the panelists discussed how students could obtain information about potential nonprofit employers, and what governance, funding, and accountability structures students should look at when considering where they might want to work.
Thanks to our nonprofit panelists: 

  • Steven Larín ’97, the senior director of legal services and immigration policy at the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia
  • Maria P. Mello ’08, assistant professor of special education at St. John's University in New York City
  • Karen Minyety ’08, the director of care services at the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia

After the panels, students had dinner with the AOC volunteers and discussed student life at the College, how AOC volunteers can provide support to students, and what comes after Swarthmore.

Get involved: Use the "Say Hello" Google form to let us know you're interested in connecting with students or have an idea for an in-person roundtable or virtual Q&A.


Make an impact on the students of today by supporting AOC priorities. We’re proud that 100% of Alumni of Color Steering Committee members made a gift to The Swarthmore Fund during the 2019–20 fiscal year. Join us in supporting Swarthmore students.

  • The Student Emergency Fund helps qualified students — those in the highest financial need tiers — cover expenses for food, medical care, home internet access, emergency shelter, and a host of other unexpected costs.
  • The Swarthmore Fund supports the areas of greatest need (unrestricted), or you can designate your gift to support a specific initiative, such as:
    • The Intercultural Center.  The IC provides programs and services that support the personal and intellectual development of Asian American, Latinx, multiracial, Native American, queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), low-income, and international students, students with disabilities, and first-generation students.
    • Financial aid. Swarthmore's financial aid policy has three essential components: need-blind admission; meeting full determined need; and providing financial aid in the form of grants rather than loans.

All gifts to The Swarthmore Fund are fossil-fuel free and count toward the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign. 

For more information on ways to give, visit

Community building

Alumni of Color volunteers have hosted student and alumni gatherings at Alumni Weekends and Garnet Weekends since our founding in 2018.

Get involved: Use the “Say Hello” Google form to let us know if you’re interested in hosting a happy hour, museum tour, or reception in your town (once we're doing in-person events again), or hosting a virtual meet up! You pick the place and time, and we'll help invite local alumni.


Fall 2021

• Introducing new AOC Chair Salman Safir '06
• Launching AOC Instagram account and private Facebook group
• Get involved / Host a virtual event
• Alumni Spotlight: June Xie '11

Read the Nov. 2021 newsletter [pdf]

Spring 2021

Statement in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander community members
• LGBTQ+ Alumnx Network recruitment
• AOC Global Citizenship lecture series
• Alumni Spotlight: Heather Hightower '09

Read the April 2021 newsletter [pdf]

Fall 2020

• International Students and Alumni Roundtable 
• Alumni Mentoring Roundtables
• Host a virtual event
• Join our team
• Help recruit the class of 2025
• Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Ruth Perry '78

Read the Oct. 2020 newsletter [pdf]

Spring/Summer 2020

Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
• Website refresh, including new homepage and projects
• Launching AOC Spotlight interviews and the Alumni Online Community opt-in
• Alumni Spotlight: Twan Claiborne '07
• February student panels

Read the July 2020 newsletter [pdf]

Fall 2019

• Welcoming Imaani El-Burki and Tiffany Thompson to the IC
• Introducing AOC-led Career panels
• Diversity Showcase Alumni Dinner and Career Fair
• Externships

Read the Oct. 2019 newsletter [pdf]

Spring 2019

• Alumni Weekend 2019
• Celebrating Black Excellence
• Dedicating the Intercultural Center
• Womxn's Leadership Summit

Read the April 2019 inaugural AOC Newsletter [pdf]