Life as we knew it has certainly taken us down a path where our everyday “normal” activities sure don’t seem normal. The “new normal,” as we hear so often today on the news, has become a separation from others by social distancing, face masks, and sanitizer while some businesses are going fully online to stay “open.”
With all of the COVID-19 unknowns, no one can be sure just what is in store for the future. And, when schools were forced to shut down and York College had to close the campus to ensure the safety of students and employees, classes went online and employees headed home to work remotely. That’s also true for our Office of Alumni Relations, though they wasted no time pivoting to online connections.
“As we adjust to a new normal and practice social distancing, feeling connected to one another is more difficult, yet more important than ever. Know that your Spartan family is never far away. That’s why we are working diligently to provide even more virtual engagement opportunities. Whether you are looking for a way to connect with students or are seeking professional development opportunities, there is something for everyone,” said Kristin Schab ’04, former Director, Office of Alumni Relations.
Through the use of Zoom, social media sources, blogs, podcasts, and MailChimp, Alumni Relations has successfully found a way to stay connected virtually while complying with the state’s mandate to social distance. Programs and activities such as contests with sharing photos of workspaces, pet photo contests, coloring pages of the mascot Screamer, sharing memories of campus in posts on social media, and providing opportunities for learning new things and professional development through webinars have all been a big part of engagement this spring.
Such programs as the Coffee and Conversation and For the Curious Mind Webinars have been a huge hit among alumni and students with over 150 participants. The programs feature learning and skill-building opportunities to help them add to their professional development. With so many “ifs” and uncertainty around employment, Spartans need resources available to them through the College now more than ever. Which is exactly why Alumni Relations has stepped up their game to promote the various benefits.
“The response to our new virtual engagement initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive, both in sheer number of alumni participating and through anecdotal feedback,” says Brigette Allen, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations. “Especially through the program Coffee and Conversation— the most personal touch point we’ve had during this time—because of the specific focus related to certain areas of study and the ability to connect with fellow YCP alumni, students, and faculty within their chosen career field.”