Volunteer: “It’s a way of giving back to the university that gave me so much.”

Elliot Bell-Krasner, CCAS BA ’08

In the last five years, Elliot Bell-Krasner, CCAS BA ’08, has been all over the country.

Life after graduation has taken Bell-Krasner from Southern New Mexico, where he worked on the first Obama presidential campaign, to a second stint in Washington, DC to get a master’s degree in public policy from American University, to Palm Beach County, FL, where he was a field organizer for President Obama’s re-election effort.

Today, you can find Bell-Krasner back in DC, where he works as a program officer with the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL).

ACYPL is a non-partisan, non-profit located in Foggy Bottom, right around the corner from GW’s City Hall dorm, where Bell-Krasner lived during the spring of his junior year.

At ACYPL, Bell-Krasner helps to design comprehensive 7-14 day exchange programs for small delegations, which touch on the government, political, social and cultural aspects of different countries.

The job keeps the ’08 grad busy; Bell-Krasner often travels with inbound international delegations around Washington, DC and to different US states. As part of the exchange programs, he organizes meetings with high profile individuals and organizations, as well as cultural activities such as trips to museums and sports events.

Since joining ACYPL, Bell-Krasner has been to Georgia, Iowa, Southern California, Washington State, and all over Embassy Row in Dupont Circle. But a packed schedule didn’t stop him from volunteering with his 5-Year Reunion Committee at GW.

“I always knew there were opportunities [to volunteer with GW],” he says, “but as my five year reunion approached, I decided to be even more proactive.”

So Bell-Krasner touched base with GW’s Office of Alumni Relations to find out how he could help.

Soon, he was the chair of the 5-year reunion event planning sub-committee for the Class of 2008, where he worked with a team of seven other sub-committee members. Together, they helped choose the venue for the reunion, the menu and the reunion gift.

Elliot Bell-Krasner (top row, second from right) poses with fellow committee members and Big George at the Class of 2008’s 5-Year Reunion Celebration.

After months of work, Bell-Krasner experienced a big payoff on reunion night.

“Seeing everyone at the celebration, having such a good time, taking photos, and reminiscing with their classmates validated the effort that we had been putting in,” he says.

Bell-Krasner also heard firsthand how much the evening meant.

“I must have been approached by a dozen people who thanked me for the work of the committee,” he says.  “But even if they hadn’t, seeing the smiles on their faces would have been thanks enough.”

Volunteering with his reunion committee gave Bell-Krasner the chance to create a unique experience for his fellow classmates, as well as to connect with new people and friends.  But he says it also gave him a unique opportunity to give back.

“Without my degree from GW, and the experiences I had both academically and as part of several different student organizations, I do not think I would be the person that I am today,” he explains. “Being an alumni volunteer is a way of giving back to the university that gave me so much.”

With his 5-year reunion behind him, Bell-Krasner says he plans to stay connected with GW through other volunteer opportunities.

“I believe that it really does make a difference,” he says, “in the lives of current students, prospective students and young alumni.”

–Melissa Nyman

Thanks to Elliot Bell-Krasner for sharing his volunteer experience with us! If you’re interested in becoming a reunion volunteer, please contact Stephanie Medwid: smedwid@gwu.edu. To see more photos from the Class of 2008’s 5-Year Reunion Celebration, visit us on Flickr:

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