Stanford has more than 211,000 alumni around the world. If you are one of them, or are going to be one of them, participating in an annual reunion or coming back to the football stadium every now and then may not be the only way to support your alma mater. In fact, there is a great opportunity where you can join other alumni in extending Stanford’s spirit of service right in your own community. Beyond the Farm is one of the Stanford Alumni Association’s newest programs. Launched four years ago, its impact and message to local and global communities are powerful.
The Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) launched Beyond the Farm in 2010. It was designed to encourage alumni to leverage the Stanford network in service to local communities. You can lead or participate in various volunteering programs for one day or throughout the year. In the initial year, the projects were limited to local alumni who lived in the Bay Area. With enthusiastic support and positive appraisal from the first year’s participants, the program was extended to a global level in 2011. In 2012, 1,600 Stanford alumni, family and friends lent their hands to 116 projects around the world. Alumni living in Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Sarajevo, and Lagos joined their U.S. counterparts in organizing and participating in volunteer projects.
The program provides a broad range of options so that people can easily join. For the annual Global Day of Service, you can lead your own project or simply sign up to join a project others have organized. If you are up for longer commitment, you can apply for alumni-sponsored volunteered projects or positions listed on the Beyond the Farm 365 tool all year long.
Edith Law MS ’97 of Hong Kong recalls her decision to lead a service project in 2011. “When I first found out about the Beyond the Farm program, I just wanted to lead and connect our alumni to the local community, extending our Stanford's spirit of a serving heart!”When asked what keeps her involved in the program, she responded, “It is always the smiles on the volunteers as well as on the people of the beneficiary organizations after we’ve given a couple hours of community service.”
Since its launch in 2010, most of the volunteer projects have been focused in local communities in the United States. However, the number of international projects has been growing and last year, 5% of the projects were organized aboard. In the long-term, the program is looking to broaden its international presence with more participation from alumni around the world. Beyond the Farm’s Global Day of Service is promoted annually via email through Stanford clubs around the world. If interested, you can simply register yourself by visiting the SAA’s Beyond the Farm website.
Message to Stanford Alumni.
Katherine Toy, Senior Manager of Alumni Volunteer Engagement at the SAA, highlights that Beyond the Farm is an excellent opportunity for Stanford alumni to give back to the community and causes they care about. Through the program, alumni share the University’s commitment of services to the global society and Jane Stanford’s wish that the University graduate students who "render the greatest possible service to mankind." Anyone can join. It’s rewarding and worthwhile. After all, wouldn’t it be fun to spend some hours with fellow alumni while making a world of difference?
More Opportunities for Alumni Abroad.
Aside from Beyond the Farm, the SAA is launching another exciting global initiative this year, Stanford+Connects. For the next four years, President Hennessy, faculty and alumni will connect in 18 cities around the world and digitally exchange intellectual and social knowledge and ideas.Paris will be the first international destination on September 7th, 2013 followed by a number of other cities around the world. The tour will provide various on-line and off-line opportunities for international alumni. Get connected HERE.
How will you go beyond?
- Global Day of Service: too busy for a long-term commitment? You just need one day to volunteer with fellow alumni, family, and friends. Mark your calendar for this year’s Global Day of Service on May 18th, 2013. If you would like to lead a project, submit your proposal HERE by March 29, 2013.
- Beyond the Farm 365: a day is not enough for you? Check out various opportunities using the volunteer matching tool on the Stanford Alumni Association’s website.