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Virtual Connections

A picture of a river rambling down rocks in Cooper's Rock State Forest

Last week, we hosted our Alumni Leaders Institute (ALI) annual conference, an event where we bring Chapter and Interest Group leaders, board members, and University officials together to discuss all things WVU and Alumni. Each year, 100 or so alumni return to campus to spend a couple of days connecting and learning about how the Alumni Association can be of highest value to our Mountaineers everywhere.

This year, of course, we had to hold the conference virtually and as we’ve discovered over the course of the last 9 weeks and 3 days (is anyone else counting?) the virtual environment was very effective. Certainly, a zoom call does not replace an in-person interaction, but our utilization of virtual tools throughout COVID-19 has expanded our approach to supporting alumni; it’s clear that the virtual environment is here to stay.

For example, WVU Connect, our virtual networking platform, has seen a spike in growth over the last six weeks. We added a business directory to the platform to capture all alumni owned and led businesses in an effort to push business their way. Our jobs board is filled with jobs, and the number of professional and interest groups continue to grow. Click here to check out WVU Connect.

This week, we are announcing a 4-day professional development TED-talk styled seminar called the Grad Career Festival for our 2020 graduates and any alumni who would like to join in. This June 23-26 virtual event is centered around career management, the job search process, adjusting to post-graduation life and building on soft skills such as teamwork and time management. Click here to learn more and register for the Grad Career Festival.

Our chapters have been hosting virtual happy hours across the country. I’ve joined in many of these and really enjoy spending time with Mountaineers everywhere. We’ve had special guests such as President Gee, the Mountaineer, and several coaches. It’s been a great way to meet a few Mountaineers I hadn’t had a chance to connect with yet and share a real sense of camaraderie during these trying times. I encourage you to check out your chapter’s Facebook page to see if there is a virtual happy hour scheduled soon.

Finally, we’re exploring the launch of a Mountaineer Alliance Webinar Series. In each webinar, we’d focus on a topic related to research and development, industry trends, scholarly research, and career advancement. We’re looking for your feedback and whether you’d like to participate as a leader. The idea is to have WVU faculty members present their research, technology leaders in industry present the trends they’re seeing, experts in various areas of career advancement discuss a topic of interest all while providing an organized professional networking venue. If you’re interested, please click here to complete the form.

I hope you are safe and healthy and wish you the very best during these challenging times. Please spend some time on taking care of yourself. The picture above is one I took on my walk a few weeks ago in the mountains at Coopers Rock. I call it, “Soothing for the soul.”

Let’s Go!
Sean, '89