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      There is no other alumni affiliate organization like this particular one at Clark Atlanta University: Women of CAU, which is composed of Clark Atlanta alumna, are breaking molds and setting standards in terms of what it means for alumni to give back. Not only are they giving back financially, but they are committed to serving, guiding, and mentoring the young women matriculating through Clark Atlanta University. The Women of CAU president, Rochelle Lindsey is a Clark Atlanta alumna of 04’. She set out to build an alumni affiliate two years ago that was grounded in service, mentorship, and sister engagement. HerCampus CAU got a chance to talk with Rochelle about Women of CAU and its impact.

                                                                                                                                            Instagram.com/womenofcau

HC: What was the inspiration behind Women of CAU?

RL: So, Men of CAU was sponsoring an event two years ago. I actually sponsored this event for them. Part of this particular event was a session that was talking to young ladies attending Clark about things that they need to do while they’re in school to prepare them for their careers post-graduation. After that event, I thought that it was interesting that that type of event was being hosted by Men of CAU. So, I inquired about where the Women of CAU were and was told that interest had been expressed in the past but no one had actually stepped up to build the Women of CAU program. So, at that time I said that I would go ahead and move forward with the idea of the Women of CAU. Pretty, much I just took on the huge task of trying to create something that I’m hoping will be everlasting beyond me. 

HC:     There is an undergraduate version of Women of CAU which is Ladies of CAU. What inspired that?

RL:  Yes! That’s my baby! When I first thought about the Women of CAU, truth be told, it was a big sister, little sister organization. I’m getting goosebumps when I talk about it because I’m so overjoyed that my vision actually is a reality. We could easily be an alumni affiliate that just gives money and shows up on campus for special events, right? But how powerful is it that we are reaching our hands back to the young ladies who are going through their matriculation at Clark and we are guiding and uplifting them. How powerful is it that on any given day someone can walk up to me and, as an Alumni, and I can say that I’m able to not just give back money, I’m able to give my advice and my experience. That’s powerful. I think we’re building that bridge between the older generation and the younger generation.

HC: How would you define a woman of CAU?

RL: It’s still being defined in terms of what is a woman of CAU. I think that we have a very unique niche that you have women who walk different spectrums of life but are still able to come to the table. I don’t think that it’s as easy to put us in a particular box because we are so diverse in our thoughts, our actions, and the way that we address certain situations. But, I think the defining underline is that women of CAU are very intellectual women, very driven women, and innovative women.

                                                                                                                                                 Instagram.com/womenofcau

HC: Do the Women of CAU have any plans or events for this semester?

RL: So right now, in terms of student engagement,  we have four programs. One is our freshman mentoring program and that’ll get launched right after homecoming. Our senior transition program really focuses on supporting our seniors, make sure that they find a job, look at their resumes, and also give them a mentor to help them transition from undergrad to being a grad student or an Alumni of Clark Atlanta University. As you already know we have the Ladies of CAU that already launched. So most of our programs outside of the freshmen mentoring program and the senior program we’ll be doing with the Ladies of CAU. We’re gonna do our Thanksgiving meal giveaway where we pick a dorm and give them a meal for Thanksgiving along with offering meal cards. Then we’re gonna do our annual Christmas giveaway where we’ll be offering $50 gift cards to 3 students who are in need.

HC: What is the impact that this organization will have on alumni relations at CAU?

RL:   You know they always say, “The value of a degree is based on how involved and invested alumni are.” I’ve had members who have never given back to Clark who say that because of the Women of CAU, the events that we’ve created, and the volunteer opportunities we’ve created, they now understand what it means to give back to their alma mater. That’s powerful because there’s a lot of HBCU’s that don’t have their alumni involved unless it’s homecoming.

HC: The Women of CAU have lead and participated in multiple service projects since it began. Why is giving back so important?

RL: It’s how we were raised. Clark Atlanta is the culture of service. Within the curriculum, with teachers,  and anything that we do at Clark they preach and talk service. So, I think it was only natural for it to be apart of the organization and its vision. The organization is run by volunteers who give up a lot of their time to really make the organization what it is. Our members are all volunteers who come to the campus and give back their time, talent, and treasure. Being of service to our campus and being of service to the young ladies attending CAU is all apart of why it is that we actually exist.

HC: What is your vision for this organization? What do you hope to accomplish?

RL: I would like for us to be more present in the media. I would like for people to be more aware of what we’re doing. I would definitely love to get more sponsorship dollars so we can give out more scholarships because I know that’s a huge challenge for many of our young ladies. That would be my ultimate dream. My other dream would be that we get to the point where we have 300-400 strong members in the organization so that every freshman girl that comes through those doors has an opportunity to have a mentor that will follow them through senior year. I would love for the Women of CAU to have a house on campus so that there is space for the mentorship and networking to occur.

                                                                                                                                          Instagram.com/womenofcau

    Although Women of CAU is not an on-campus organization, they are not far from reach. They can be reached directly through their email which is info@womenofcau.com. Those interested in joining Ladies of CAU can find Ladies of CAU on Instagram. Freshman and seniors can sign up for their specific programs through the Women of CAU Instagram page. Other important information and details can be found on their Instagram page as well. The women of CAU are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: Women of CAU Alumnae Affiliate

Instagram: @womenofcau

Twitter: @womenofcau

My name is Taj'Zhere Dillard and I'm a freshman, Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University!
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