Tufts Black Alumni Association launches new demo website

The Tufts Black Alumni Association (TBAA) launched a demo of its new website at a Boston regional alumni event held in the Remis Sculpture Court last Friday. 

TBAA President Biodun Kajopaiye (LA ’07) said the new website, developed by Tufts alumna Kristen Ransom (LA ’13), was created to make space for an “opportunities board” where alumni can make posts about job opportunities, internships and fellowships that are open to students.

“My approach for TBAA is low intensity but high impact,” Kajopaiye said. “I want to create low-intensity opportunities that alums can participate in that can have significant impact on the alumni association and current students without having them feel overwhelmed in participating.”

TBAA, a chapter of the Tufts University Alumni Association, aims to maintain the bond between Black alumni and students on campus through programming and events, according to Tufts Alumni’s website. 

“Our mission is to connect Tufts alums with undergraduate students…and maximize opportunities for their future,” Kajopaiye said.

According to Groom Dinkneh (LA ’13), a TBAA member who works as a mentor in the group’s mentorship program, many students are able to secure internships through the relationships they foster with TBAA alumni.

Students involved in the TBAA mentorship program, which was  launched in 2014are not only able to think about the job search earlier while learning from and working with their mentors, he said, but are also able to share experiences that they feel are unique to them as Black students.

TBAA Alumni Ambassador Jared Smith, a senior that was a mentee in the TBAA program last year, said he had a positive experience with his mentor, according to an October 2015 article in the Daily

“I am still in touch with my mentor to this day, and I definitely would never have met someone from the Class of ’07 without the program,” he said.

While other universities have mentorship programs, most do not have anything as comprehensive as what the TBAA, Dinkneh said. Moreover, the TBAA mentorship program allows both students and alums to get more involved with the Tufts community.

“A number of students walk away feeling extremely confident,” he said.

Although still in its early stages, the website is an important tool to help students of color on campus to break into an increasingly competitive workforce, Dinkneh said.

The new demo website was released in the midst of several other TBAA projects. Dinkneh said the TBAA is in the process of reviewing applicants for its mentorship program and will be holding interviews in the next month or so before selecting the next class of students.

Furthermore, Kajopaiye said that the TBAA has raised money for the Bruce-Griffey scholarship, awarded annually to a student who will be doing internships this summer to give them a form of income. This scholarship is named after two female African-American Tufts alumnae who passed away unexpectedly, according to Kajopaiye.

He said that the new website has an important role in the progress of these projects.

“In this case, we are creating the opportunity…[for students] to get financial assistance, but the job board is related because we’re creating opportunities for people to connect with alums who are willing to support their future interests or their interests in internships in the professional world,” Kajopaiye said.

Kajopaiye said that the TBAA is interested in collaborating with all cultural groups on campus to work towards improving the undergraduate experience at Tufts.

“The Black experience is a pivotal part of the Tufts experience, and our goal is to make sure that it continues to improve for not only students of color but for all students who step on the Tufts campus,” he said.