West Coast alumni office changes location


Andrea Cannon

West Coast alumni office changes location

By Senior Campus Reporter

Columbia’s Alumni Relations office on the West Coast will be relocated from its current location to a new space in the Raleigh Studios lot, 650 N. Bronson Ave., where the college’s Semester in LA program is held.

Alumni Relations has been stationed at 6255 Sunset Blvd. for the last 10 years, but the staff has chosen not to renew its lease in order to be closer to Columbia’s other offices in California, according to Sarah Schroeder, director of Alumni Relations on the West Coast.

“[The move] presented an opportunity to be closer to the Semester in LA program,” Schroeder said. “Being there physically and being accessible to the students is great.”

Jonathan Stern, vice president of Development, said budget cuts to the Alumni Relations program influenced the decision to move the office’s location.

“The lease was up at the current location, and it was an opportunity for us to examine our costs and the program,” Stern said. “Truthfully, a combination of [being] able to save money but also the advantage of aligning with the Semester in LA program was strong and positive as well.”

However, Schroeder said she does not view budget cuts as the reason behind the office’s relocation. She said the move primary motivation for the move is that the office’s lease is up. 

“Budgets are being cut across the board, so of course in the department where I work, our funds are being cut along with everyone else’s,” Schroeder said.

Stern said moving the Alumni Relations office to the same building as the Semester in LA program has no disadvantages. 

“It’s an opportunity for the Alumni Relations staff to more directly interact with the students and the alumni that come and [visit],” Stern said. “Having a closer proximity instead of having to get in a car is quite positive and powerful.”

Stern said the move would allow for more alumni and industry professionals to visit Columbia events for students to attend and network.

“We’re able to bring our alumni operation closer together with the students and the visitors that come and teach and work with the students,” Stern said. “I think that’s a very positive situation.”

Concern over the possibility of other programming changes or cancellations was evident after Alumni Weekend—an annual event hosted in Chicago—was postponed and later canceled. However, both Stern and Schroeder said any programming hosted through the Alumni Relations office would not be affected by the move. Stern said there is a possibility that the change of location would attract more speakers and events to the college.

“Moving over to the Semester in LA [building] might enhance the programming,” Stern said. “We will have the space and maybe we will do more bringing in alumni speakers apart from the academic classes. I think there’s more opportunity for events or collaboration by being there.”

Similarly, Jon Katzman, executive director of the Semester in LA program, said that by having the Alumni Relations office in the same building and down the hall from the program, it will allow for more efficient ways of communication for students to reach out to alumni which could then allow the Alumni Relations office to kick-start their careers. 

“We’ll be working very closely together to make sure students and alumni have the best possibilities they can have,” Katzman said. “I think it’s a great move. I’m very excited about it.”