BYU’s Student Alumni Association is hoping to connect students with alumni during their virtual event to increase connections, lower anxiety and build up the community.
Their first virtual event, Evening With Alumni, will not be “another stale zoom meeting,” their posters advertise. Program director Taylor Anderson said the event will be different because there will be no professor lecturing to a class with little student participation. Instead, students will have the opportunity to discuss and interact with alumni and other students in small groups.
Vice president of connections Isabella De Guzman said the Student Alumni Association’s purpose is to have students and alumni be “connected for good” so alumni can provide support and mentoring opportunities to students and help build the BYU community. The goal is to promote continuing connections so when students leave BYU and become alumni themselves, they will seek to help younger students and keep the legacy growing.
“Our hope for the event is for students to be inspired and prepared to move forward,” De Guzman said.
An initial webinar will welcome the students to the event before splitting them up into small groups based on topics they chose when they signed up. De Guzman said each topic focuses on helping students develop different professional skills to help students in their future careers.
Each group will have a notable alumni host who focuses the discussion on specific skills for their topic. The four topics are finding balance, creating connections, presenting your best self, and inclusion and teamwork.
The alumni hosts come from varied backgrounds including a lawyer, a psychologist, an entrepreneur, a CEO, a business professor and more.
Vice president of publicity Alyssa Thomason said Evening With Alumni will help students network and develop professional skills to lessen students’ current anxiety during COVID-19. With quarantines, lost opportunities and isolated virtual meetings, Thomason said she hopes events like this can empower the community to push forward.
“You can feel pretty lonely at times, but we want to explain that we can still have this amazing community and feel the power of the community regardless of what is going on,” Thomason said.
Thomason has been involved with Student Alumni Association for almost all of her time at BYU. She said it the most enjoyable part of her day, and it “keeps her going.” She said she hopes this event can be an outlet for others as well where they can find support, encouragement and new opportunities.
“A lot of people just are scared about the future right now and giving them confidence in these skills can lower anxiety about what is going on” and help them prepare for their careers, Thomason said.
Evening With Alumni will be held on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. Sign-ups are still available.