On May 30, 2019, at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development, the Peace Corps and NYC Peace Corps Association sponsored the Spring Mixer, the first of a series of networking events that aim to foster community amongst NYC RPCVs. The event was organized by Gina Leow (China ‘14-’16), Julissa Soriano (Madagascar ‘14-‘17), Favio Germán (Paraguay ‘13-‘16), NYU Peace Corps Recruiter Sarah Michelle Steeley (Lesotho ‘15-‘17) and President of the NYC Peace Corps Association Sarah Elizabeth Porter (Macedonia ‘05-‘07). The mixer was facilitated through a speed networking-format, where participants were provided questions to foster discussion, and were prompted by the moderators to engage and speak with at least six different RPCVs. Over 70 RPCVs signed up to attend the event. All attendees were provided a packet that included, with the attendees’ permission, photos of the attendees with their name, country and year(s) of service, service sector, current title at their organization, email address, and any other information that the attendee wanted to disclose. The packet ensured that RPCVs were able to connect with one another after the event. At the conclusion of the event, RPCVs were given the opportunity to donate to a PCV Project: Water Catchment Tank for Njombe by Erin Holiman, a Volunteer in Tanzania from Florida. RPCVs continued networking at The Brazen Fox. Retired Peace Corps Country Director, Darcy Neill made special remarks about an organization she represents, Peace Corps Community for Refugees or “PCC4Refugees.” If you are an RPCV interested in working with PCC4Refugees, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RPCV Spring Mixer garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback from its participants. According to the post-event survey, 100% said they would recommend this event to another RPCV. Attendees liked that “there was structure without feeling too formal” and enjoyed the “relaxed atmosphere, [which] made it easy to connect with people.” RPCVs “appreciated the packet the most” and felt that the ability to network after the event was “the best thing.” We were reminded that “being surrounded by so many RPCVs was a very comforting feeling…It was also refreshing to speak frankly with people about what it was like to come back to the states, finding work and how PC had an impact on our lives.”
The organizers are excited to continue hosting networking events to further strengthen the connections amongst RPCVs in New York City. The next RPCV networking event will be a potluck picnic in Central Park at the end of August/early September. Feel free to contact Gina at email@example.com if you would like to be part of the planning committee.