UI graduate Dong Mao (B.A. accounting and finance ’13) recognized the need for a Shanghai IOWA Club when he attended a Big Ten alumni event earlier this year. He found that many other Big Ten schools had dynamic alumni networks that strengthened alumni connections.
“I thought it would be a great idea if Iowa alumni in Shanghai could form their own community and help each other,” the Zhengzhou, China, native said.
And so, Mao set his sights on making a Shanghai IOWA Club a reality.
“With help from other alumni and UI faculty (special thanks to Tippie College of Business Professor Alice Wang and Dean Ken Brown), we founded the Shanghai IOWA Club in May 2016,” Mao said.
Earlier this summer, the Shanghai IOWA Club hosted its first event - a Hawkeye mixer for several dozen alumni and UI friends.
“Fortunately, it turned out great,” Mao said. “All alumni were glad to see an organization like this and they were passionate about helping out.”
“It is really a great chance to learn from the older alumni, who can share their work/life experiences with the younger fellow alumni,” he said. “Also, we all share the same memories: living in Iowa City, pulling all-nighters in the main library, driving on I-80 with friends, chilling by the Iowa River, and so much more. These unique memories create a special bond for us.”
The Shanghai club marks the 17th IOWA club established outside the U.S. and the second in China. Mao said he loves engaging with older alumni and sharing nostalgic reflections about their time in Iowa City.
Mao continued to reflect on his favorite things about Iowa City.
“I liked the simplicity of living in Iowa City,” he said. “There were fewer distracting things so I had more time to work on what I wanted to do: biking, songwriting, reading, and so on. It’s hard to live a life like that in big cities like New York City or Shanghai.”
“Also I do miss the tacos of La Michoacana Taqueria (now La Regia Taqueria),” he continued. “And Burge Dining Hall. Yes, I’m serious.”
As far as what he hopes to accomplish with the newly-founded Shanghai IOWA Club, Mao hopes it’ll help create a sense of belonging for UI alumni in the Shanghai area.
“It would be a great thing if UI alumni could have a community where they can talk about the NCAA, college football, or other things that relate to Iowa or their college life,” he said. “I hope the Shanghai IOWA Club can also be a networking platform where alumni can make friends with people from similar backgrounds and seek help either professionally or personally from other members.”