Save the Date for Cap and Gown’s Winter Women Welcome!

This year, Cap and Gown’s Winter Women Welcome will take place on Monday, January 23, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Vidalakis Dining in the Schwab Residential Center, 680 Serra St. Come hear from Dr. Margot Gerritsen, Senior Associate Dean for Educational Initiatives, Associate Professor of Energy Resources Engineering and, by courtesy, of Mechanical Engineering and of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This year’s theme is “Walking Fine Lines: How to find and keep a healthy balance and positive perspective as a woman in a male-dominated field.” Hear Dr. Gerritsen’s story and build your network with Stanford faculty, students, and alumni who support the development of women. We’ll be serving tasty snacks and desserts. We want to see you! Please see the Winter Welcome 2017 page for more information. RSVP encouraged but not required: stanford.capandgown@gmail.com.  ...

Fall 2016 FAQs on Cap and Gown Changes

These FAQs cover the changes made to Cap and Gown as mentioned in the Fall 2016 Letter form the President of the Alumni Board. What process did you go through to rewrite the constitution? After learning about the changes in the policies of the administration, we created a cross-generational task force to examine the possibilities and determine our next steps. It was serendipitous that over the summer we conducted a survey of our membership and gained insight into what our alumni members appreciate about Cap and Gown and how and why they engage with the organization. The responses to the survey informed the conversations of the task force. One thing that stood out was how many members described what an honor it was to be asked to join Cap and Gown. We didn’t want to lose that. The Actives Board met with the leadership of SAL several times last fall to better understand their concerns and requirements. Though SAL flagged our application process as out of compliance, we were able to use this method for one final year to tap 41 new members last November. Alumni-University Relations Chair Carol Benz led our conversations with the Stanford Alumni Association. Based on these conversations, the task force explored several options of how we might proceed and in the winter, we convened a special meeting of the entire board to discuss the options. At this meeting we took a moment to reflect on the essence of Cap and Gown and came up with four unique characteristics that we value in Cap and Gown: • Intergenerational community • Honoring excellence • Service •...

Fall 2016 Letter from the Incoming Actives Presidents

Hello to our wonderful Cap and Gown community! We are very excited to lead Cap and Gown through a transitional year. While this year is a time of change and creating new expectations, we continue to value academic excellence, leadership, and service to the university. We are immensely excited to seize this opportunity to welcome the addition of younger undergraduate faces, create friendship and leadership opportunities for them and with them, and use our constitutional change as a chance to strengthen Stanford Cap and Gown as a community beyond a professional network. The entire Cap and Gown Executive Board worked hard this past summer to brainstorm and plan ways to make Cap and Gown’s recruitment process this Fall unique, engaging, informative, and fun for both the current Actives and the incoming members. Fall has been a full force recruitment season, centered around reaching underclassmen, with our first appearance at the Activities Fair and two Fall recruitment events. Our first event, “Meet the Leaders” on October 20th, showcased the diversity of student leaders in Cap and Gown as eight Actives shared how certain on-campus activities have aided in their individual leadership development. Through the variety of experiences discussed, we connected the event content back to our organizational pillars of excellence, service, and leadership. Our second fall event, “Insights Over Ice Cream” took place on November 10. The aim of the second event was to provide prospective and current Cap and Gown student members the opportunity to hear stories of growth and resilience from a panel of young alumni, before breaking out into small group discussions with ice cream sundaes. To...

Fall 2016 Letter from the President of the Alumnae Board

It has been an honor to serve as president of Cap and Gown for the past year and a privilege to serve in the year that we celebrated 110 years. That is such a significant milestone and I was so delighted to hear about Cap and Gown women from all generations meeting together across the country and around the world to celebrate. That experience of connection and support between women leaders is at the essence of what makes Cap and Gown such a phenomenal organization that I am so grateful to be a part of today more than ever. I have spent much of this past year thinking about what makes Cap and Gown unique, how we can best uphold our traditions, and what the future of the organization might look like. At first this was instigated by reflection on what it means to be an organization that lasts for over a century. Then changes in the enforcement of university policies for student and alumni groups prompted a thorough examination that has led to some significant changes in how we operate as an organization while also enabling us to reinforce our core principles. Last year, the Alumnae Board became aware of the policy of the Stanford Alumni Association to provide open membership to all Stanford alumni for all alumni groups. As a selective honor society, we have been out of compliance with this policy. Over the summer, the new Actives Board became aware of a similar policy for student organizations under the ASSU. The administrative organization for the ASSU known as Student Activities and Leadership (SAL) asked us to...

Fall 2016 Letter from the Outgoing Actives Presidents

So many emotions swirl as we write this letter of aloha, saying “hello” and “goodbye” in the same breath. Hello to the much-anticipated “real world” of life post-graduation. For Caroline, that means graduate school on a familiar campus; for Marisa, full-time work at Microsoft in Seattle. Hello to the tribulations and triumphs of adulthood—monthly apartment bills to pay and grocery shopping to do…but candles and pets that do not have to be hidden and dinner parties where not a Solo cup is to be found. Hello to the strange and sad realization that friends are not just a few steps away down a dormitory hall, but hello also to the comfort of a network of incredible alumni—most especially, the Cap and Gown alumni!—greeting us with open arms. Goodbye to our roles as Actives Co-Presidents, posts we held with pride and humble honor. Goodbye to the Cap and Gown structure of days past, which opened its doors to only a select few women. Goodbye to the way we have been doing Tapping Tea and the exclusivity it embodied. Goodbye to the moments of disappointment when some women were tapped while their friends were not. Hello to a new era of Cap and Gown, and the tremendous power we unleash in expanding our circles to all those who support the Cap and Gown mission. Hello to creating community through a clear mission and building a stronger organization through a more engaged student membership. As we leave the Actives leadership in the capable hands of Negin Behzadian and Anna Zappone, along with the terrific team of leaders on the Actives Board, we...

What does Hillary losing mean for women leaders?

Back in 2008 a relatively unknown woman took the national political stage as the chosen vice presidential candidate. The world waited with baited breath to find out who she was. She appeared on that stage calm and collected—an everyday woman in a well-tailored skirt suit—unabashedly feminine. She was immediately labeled a soccer mom, but she was in the position of a leader. In that moment, I remember thinking how much more appealing she was than Hillary Clinton. I admired how she embraced her femininity and didn’t apologize for it. She sounded intelligent and relatable, that was until she opened her mouth without a teleprompter… By the end of that election cycle, I did not find her to be a compelling politician, but that one speech gave me a glimmer of what leadership could look like in a skirt. Fast forward eight years and America was given the choice to elect a female leader—not just as vice president, but as president. While it is difficult to flesh out a political resume for Sarah Palin, the opposite is the case for Hillary Clinton. She has been called the most qualified person to ever win a major political party’s nomination in the US. Hillary was prepared. She had binders full of policies and plans to execute, and she lost. Fast forward eight years and my appreciation for Hillary as a leader has grown. This election has brought her supporters out of the woodwork to applaud her relational leadership style and call attention to her approval ratings when she is doing a job as opposed to asking for a raise. I’ve now had...