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Alumni Spotlight: Sumona Basu '06

Imagine this: In cities and towns all along the East Coast, hundreds of Lehigh alumni will stand and pause. Then—at precisely the same moment—they will all perform the same exact motion.

They will bowl.

Okay, so this event may not have cosmic implications; it’s still cool to think about. Bowling Down the Coast will be the first in the Young Alumni Council’s “Down the Coast” series, the idea of the YAC Clubs Committee’s new co-chair, Sumona Basu.

A member of the great Class of 2006, Sumona was a founding member and president of the Association of Student Alumni (the ASAs), among many activities. After graduation, she felt it was important to remain connected, engaged, and involved—and to help other young alumni do the same. That’s what led her to join the YAC.

"At this stage in our lives, many of our friends live in various cities and areas of the nation," says Sumona. “It can be really challenging to stay in touch."

At Lehigh, Sumona was a Gryphon, a program coordinator for Leadership Lehigh and a psychology major. One of ASA"s 11 founding members, she served as community outreach chair, vice president and president. After graduation, she went on to pursue a doctorate in industrial organizational psychology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she is currently in her second year.

As co-chair of the Clubs Committee, Sumona works hard, along with the Lehigh regional clubs across the country, to unify Lehigh young alumni in their local cities and across the nation. The Down the Coast series is part of that effort.

In each Down the Coast event, regional clubs all along the East Coast will host the same event simultaneously. Lehigh alumni will participate in the same activities at the same time, helping them feel connected with each other even though they are miles apart.

“We all recognize how hard it is to be in touch with our closest friends who live in different cities,” Sumona says. “So we thought, why not plan an event where friends who live across the nation are participating in the same activity?”

Bowling Down the Coast will take place in April 2008; details are forthcoming via e-mail, Facebook and so on. “Stay tuned!” she says.

Sumona is working hard with the YAC Clubs Committee to plan events that are fun, interesting, and—most of all—meaningful for Lehigh’s young alumni across the country. She is especially enthusiastic about her “Building Down the Coast” project: alumni will have the opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for families in need, at sites all along the East Coast.

“We can make a huge impact,” she says, “and we can show the nation what it means to ‘be Lehigh.’”

Sumona is very proud of her Lehigh affiliation—and she loves to see other young alumni showing their Lehigh pride.

“I genuinely get excited when I see a Lehigh sticker on someone’s car,” she says. “And I own two pairs of brown-and-white Pumas.”

Now that’s a true Lehigh alumna!

Story by Gen Feldman ’06

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008

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