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How We Build Community

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banner | News & Notes from Alumni Affairs

As Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Director of Alumni Relations, Dianne Travis-Teague facilitates collaborations between the Office of the Chancellor and the Alumni Association to extend and nurture the Pacifica experience in the world. News & Notes collects her posts to Pacifica’s growing family of alums.

How We Build Community

| originally posted on 26 Apr 2012

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This year is turning out to be a vibrant time for making reconnections. The Office of Alumni Affairs has been hosting gatherings around the country to bring together the Alumni Association’s wonderful energy, and the more gatherings we hold the more we learn how much the graduates of Pacifica keep alive the Pacifica spirit out in the world. In the first quarter of the year, we have touched both coasts with receptions for Los Angeles-area alumni and New York-area alumni. This month in the wake of our James Hillman tribute on campus, fresh memories of one of Pacifica’s elders seems to remind us all how important it is to maintain connection with our roots. Earlier in April, almost 100 gathered at the lovely Santa Monica home of alumnus Dana White (Ph.D. Mythological Studies, 2003), one of the largest Alumni Association turnouts to date. Last week, the group of Southern California alumni who met in San Diego proved so spirited that the venue — the Doubletree San Diego — had to kick us out, and even that did not stop us because we simply decided to meet for breakfast the next morning!

I have so many stories. One in particular that inspired me so comes from Northern California. Alexa Singer-Telles (M.A. Counseling Psychology, 1996) and her husband Mark D. Telles had been so moved by the Hillman tribute that when they returned to their home in Redding they contacted all the alumni in their area and organized an alumni gathering.

“We had a small gathering and a wonderful time,” Alexa told me afterward. “Mark gave an incredible presentation of the experience we had at Pacifica and a wealth of quotes and ideas from all the presentations. People shared their own experiences with Hillman.”

They are planning to share stories from their gathering here on the website, so stay tuned!

Earlier, when I first heard about their plans to spontaneously assemble local alumni, I did not hesitate to send them a special Alumni Care Pack chock full of Alumni Association pens, magnets, flyers, and brochures. (“Everyone loved the goodies,” Alexa told me later.) Normally as part of how I organize any alumni event, I send these Alumni Care Packs to our Alumni Association regional coordinators who are taking care of local logistics. But ,really, I am so pleased to send one of these to any alum who is organizing a gathering, formal or informal.

This is how we build community, by reaching out to the alumni one graduate at a time, and by doing our part to boost the Pacifica spirit one city at a time. We’re off to a great start this second quarter of the year, and please be looking for an alumni gathering near you in the near future. We welcome both participants and organizers — there is something for everyone. I work personally with the Alumni Association’s regional coordinators to make sure every single Pacifica graduate with the desire to meet and reconnect can realize that desire. We have not found a situation or obstacle yet that can’t be answered with imagination and chutzpah.

This month has been about reconnecting California, but we definitely have our sights set on points beyond. Plans are underway for gatherings in Portland, Seattle, and a special multi-city gathering in Texas in partnership with the local C.G. Jung Society. We’ll be organizing in Austin on the weekend of July 27-28 to bring together alumni from across Texas. As they say in the space exploration business, “Houston, do you read me?” Well, here in the soul-tending business, we are currently saying “Houston do you read me? If you do, come to Austin.”

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