For the U-M class of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic did not just interrupt students’ time on campus. It abruptly ended their college experience, even causing the cancellation of Spring Commencement.
Michigan Alumnus asked alumni via the Association’s Facebook page and Wolverine Forum, its online community, “What advice would you give to U-M seniors, most of whom are no longer on campus, about the best way to stay connected and benefit from the University’s alumni network in the months to come?”
The following is just a sampling of the dozens of comments received that should help all students, not just seniors.
Allison Jane MacDuffee: I stay in touch with friends from U-M with Facebook and Twitter. I joined a U-M alumni Facebook group here in Toronto. Treasure your friends, they are the best part of the U-M experience.
The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan Facebook page has nearly 200,000 followers and will keep you engaged with campus updates, athletic news, photos, videos, and content from Michigan Alumnus. The Alumni Association Twitter account has more than 150,000 followers, Instagram has another 45,000, and YouTube has nearly 1 million video views.
Find Your Affinity
Aaquil Rowe: Join a U-M affinity group like the University of Michigan LGBTQ Alumni. This group is important for connecting alumni across the world who support not only the community, but positivity in general, and inclusion for all. Go Blue!
The Alumni Association has partnered with a number of alumni affinity groups, recognizing that alumni like to interact with one another based on connections they may have had as students. Beyond the University of Michigan LGBTQ Alumni group, the University of Michigan Black Alumni, the University of Michigan Latino Alumni, and UM-Dearborn Alumni also welcome graduates.
Club It Up
Dana Gresko: I’d say start introducing yourself to your local U-M club leaders. I have found it so valuable to get involved with my local clubs in the places I have lived. Start there and make those connections even if you can’t meet face-to-face at this point. And if you’re back home but know you want to find a job and relocate to a particular city, introduce yourself to the club leaders in that city. Alumni who take on leadership roles in their local clubs want to help fellow Wolverines and newly graduating students, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Whether you end up on the other side of the state or the other side of the world, chances are fellow Wolverines are nearby. With the Club Finder, you can search the nearly 100 regional clubs in the United States as well as international clubs in more than 50 locations around the globe.
Look for Events
Julie Vesper Sapp: Find alumni gatherings in your area when they happen again, such as football-watch parties sponsored by local Alumni Association chapters.
When we have flattened the curve and our states declare it safe to go out again, check out Alumni Events for a listing of U-M networking gatherings, happy hours, game-watching parties, speaker series, and volunteering opportunities. In the meantime, many clubs are also hosting virtual events.
Seth Goldman: I would recommend connecting with fellow Wolverines. A U-M sports management current student reached out to me, and I am happy that I was able to give him advice through a phone call. (My major was sports management.) Join the Wolverine Forum. It is a great way to stay in touch and share information!
Once you have graduated, join the Alumni Association’s online communities, the largest being the Wolverine Forum. These online communities are a place where you can network with other alumni, leave messages, discuss topics that interest you, and learn about upcoming events.
Sarit Chalamish: Ross MBA ’05 here. Happy to chat with any seniors seeking advice, specifically in e-commerce/retail/business development/sales. Go Blue!
Once you have graduated, check out the Alumni Career Program, where you can network with fellow Wolverines, peruse the job board, and take part in career webinars.
Join the Alumni Association
Gary Bazydlo: Start small and slow. Participating with alumni is fun and makes for good contacts. It brings a sense of connection to U-M, but it should not become about living in the past. Focus on your new career, graduate school, and new friends you make at work or school. The Alumni Association will support you as you move forward.
Consider joining the Alumni Association, where you get exclusive access to programs and events, Michigan Alumnus magazine, and member-only discounts. The Association can help you prepare for what comes next.
Stay Safe and Go Blue!
Pat Wilson: Contribute to the community by staying home! Wash your hands and keep your distance from others!
Kelly Laliberte: When we are allowed to out in public again, wear your Michigan gear! You’ll make friends everywhere you go … except possibly Ohio.
David H. Turansky: It is not the ceremony or celebration of graduation, but the years of experience and learning you will reflect on and remember as making you special. Good luck!