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Northwestern Network Supports Young Alumni

With career assistance and social offerings, the NAA reaches out to the University's most recent graduates.


Young alumni in Philadelphia supported Dance Marathon in February.

Photo by Wayne Heusel

Graduating seniors and recent graduates enter a new Northwestern world after they turn their tassels at Commencement. It's a world where young alumni, with a telephone call or a click of a mouse, have access to a virtual lifeline of alumni contacts and career networking and social resources through the Northwestern Alumni Association.

The NAA makes it easy for young alumni to go online and learn about the many ways to stay involved with each other and the University. By clicking on the NAA web site, www.alumni.northwestern.edu, young alumni can link to the free online directory of alumni contact information, the Northwestern CareerNet searchable database of alumni volunteer career contacts, the club calendar of alumni events around the country and the Senior Survival Guide, which offers moving and financial tips. They can also learn about ways to participate as NAA volunteer leaders.

Last fall, for example, NU Club of Chicago young alumni board member Kelly Corcoran (C01) put the word out through e-mail and the NAA web site about the club's annual young alumni ski trip. The February event brought about 60 alumni and friends from around the country to the snowy slopes of Breckenridge, Colo. When they weren't navigating the mountainous runs, they were gathering indoors to get acquainted, exchange business cards and enjoy the lodge's accommodations.

The Chicago club is one of many around the country that offers events and career networking opportunities for newer graduates. "We also try to diversify our events so young alums can try activities such as community service projects they haven't done before. We introduce them to programs that for financial or other reasons may not be readily available to them as individuals," says Chicago young alumni board member Therese Maceda (C97).

In Denver, New York and Philadelphia, young alumni held mini-Dance Marathon bar nights in February and March to support the University's Dance Marathon fundraising effort. This year's charity is HAVE Dreams: Helping Autistic Voices Emerge, a Park Ridge, Ill.-based nonprofit organization that helps the parents and educators of autistic children.

In addition to the social and professional contacts young alumni can make, some, like Maceda and Chris Hull (McC98), have found that getting involved as NAA volunteer leaders can help them develop new business skills they can apply to their current jobs.

Hull, a product line manager for Nike in Portland, Ore., discovered the strength of his alumni identity shortly after graduation. His first job at a dot-com startup company took him to San Francisco, where he joined the NU Club of the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent his free time getting together with other alumni to watch Wildcat football games and work with them on community service projects. "It was a great way to meet new people that I had something in common with," he said.

When he moved to Portland a few years later, he learned that the NU Club of Portland was in its infancy. He became a board member and has been working with Brian Baker (McC98) to build the club by recruiting other young alumni and planning events in the area. As a board member, he attended NAA leadership conferences, increasing his alumni contacts and organizational management experience.

Last year Hull and Alex Schneider (WCAS99) worked with the NAA professional staff in Evanston to organize the young alumni career forum that was part of the NAA's October leadership conference.

"By working through conference calls and e-mails as part of a virtual team, I've been able to apply that success to my work at Nike — coordinating with regional offices in Asia, Europe and South America," Hull said. "It's also shown me how strong and responsive the alumni network is — that you can rely on it in time of need."

Get active! Visit www.alumni.northwestern.edu/youngalums for more information on opportunities for young alumni.

 



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Last updated  Friday, 07-Dec-2007 12:21:55 CST
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