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Alumni meet students at networking reception

Assistant Provost for Career Services Rachel Brown spoke at the student-alumni networking session on Friday. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Photographer
Assistant Provost for Career Services Rachel Brown spoke at the student-alumni networking session on Friday. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Andrew Goudsward

Updated: Sept. 28, 2015 at 10:57 a.m.

More than 150 students and alumni packed two back rooms Alumni House Friday afternoon for a new addition to the alumni weekend calendar: a networking reception.

Alumni Association President Jeremy Gosbee said the reception, a collaboration between the Alumni Association and the Center for Career Services, was added to alumni weekend to further the association’s mission of “Colonials helping Colonials.”

“We wanted to make students aware that alumni were a potentially valuable resource, and also show alumni that students are eager to meet them,” he said.

About 80 alumni volunteered to network with 120 students, who registered through the Center for Career Services. All participants were asked to put on colored stickers to indicate areas of career interest, including industries like health services, engineering and technology and U.S. government.

Gosbee added it was a “great opportunity” to find candidates for jobs at the public relations firm where he works.

“It’s always great getting Colonials involved,” he said.

Alumnus Elliot Bell-Krasner said volunteering at the reception was a way to “give back” to the University.

“When I was at GW, some of my most valuable conversations were with alums, and when I heard about LinkedIn, the first people I send out invitations to were alumni,” he said, “Now whenever I got a request from a GW student, I accept it because I know what that’s like.”

At the reception, Bell-Krasner, a program officer at the nonprofit American Council of Young Political Leaders, chatted with a group of students from China about the work his organization had done in that country.

“GW isn’t a school known for school spirit with its sports teams, but here we are on a Friday afternoon, the weather is miserable, and there’s 150 people packed in here,” he said, “There will be a conversation here today that leads directly to a job.”

At the event, Assistant Provost of the Center for Career Services Rachel Brown and Jeff Fair, an Alumni Association board member, also gave speeches to the students and alumni in Alumni House.

Brown discussed of the importance of “the art of introducing yourself” and feeling comfortable talking to strangers.

Fair, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, talked about the importance of the student-alumni relationship. He shared a memory of several GW students studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea in 2013 – a moment of high tension with North Korea.

“My wife and I had them over, made some home-cooked American food and discussed the situation,” he said. “I’ve stayed in contact with several of those students.”

The reception came as more than 2,000 alumni were arriving on campus for four days of programming associated with Alumni Weekend.

Alumnus Christopher Pitre, who works at Digital Marketing agency in Houston, said the event and the whole weekend was a way to reconnect with the University through its students.

“Even though faces have changed, I’ve seen that the things that define GW are still the same,” he said.

Experts have often said that a successful alumni weekend can be a chance for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater – a tie that could potentially lead to donations.

For Sarah Cummings, a first year graduate student studying public health and marketing, a connection with an alumnus reminded her the importance of creativity in her career and even breaking the rules everyone once in awhile.

“I think it helps us learn from them,” she said. “I can keep in touch and if I have questions in the future and I can call say ‘Hey remember me, we meet at the alumni house that one afternoon.’”

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