By Cecilia Cress
Washington College’s Black Student Union hosted an alumni panel and networking event on Saturday, April 30 where students had the opportunity to speak and exchange information with former students.
The event took place in Hynson Lounge in Hodson Hall, and was a great opportunity to “connect with alumni, learn about their professional experiences, career paths, first jobs and internships, as well as how [students] can leverage [their] liberal arts skills to build resumes,” according to the April 26 email sent by Executive Director of Career and Development Nanette Cooley.
“The alumni are still a part of the WC community, an imperative part that keeps our community together. Students building connections with them keeps our community together and growing in potential,” Student Government Association Vice President junior and outgoing President of Black Student Union Jonah Nicholson said.
The email states that alumni are some of students’ greatest resources, and that it is important to take the opportunity to “tap into them and learn about how their experiences may open doors” for students.
“It’s important we provide opportunities for our students to be successful during and after WC, and our alumni are excited to help with that,” Nicholson said.
During the event, students were able to speak with alumni Paris Mercier ’20, Darius Johnson ’15, Mark Stevens ’07, and Sheena McCleary ’02, and learn from their experiences both while they were at the College as well as after they graduated.
“Going to a small college creates a unique opportunity for close relationships to grow and bonds to be formed. Through connecting with alumni yesterday, I realized how most of us chose WC for the same reasons — [such as] campus location, scholarships, academic offerings,” Student Government Association Secretary of Service and Community Relations freshman Stephen Hook said.
“When we connect with alumni, we can better understand how our college will move us ahead in the future and what opportunities will be made available to us,” Hook said.
According to Nicholson, BSU decided to host the event in order to help build strong relationships between BSU members and WC alumni, both for underclassmen just beginning their experience at WC and upperclassmen looking towards the future after graduation.
“I think the event was a wild success,” Nicholson said. “Students exchanged information with the alumni and got valuable advice. Personally, as I head into my senior year, I got advice I needed to hear about planning and being present in the moment.”
In addition to receiving advice about academics and career opportunities, students were also able to listen to several alumni share and compare their experiences as a Black student at the College over the last 15 years.
“The event was extremely helpful in understanding how Black students have been treated at WC, how some things have gotten better, and others have gotten worse, and where we need to be moving forward,” Hook said. “As a white student, it was eye-opening to hear the details of the Black student experience and how it differs from my own. It is so important that we work with alumni moving forward to explore ways to improve the WC experience for every student.”
Photo by Olivia Dorsey
Featured Photo Caption: On April 30, Washington College’s Black Student Union hosted an in-person alumni panel and networking event in Hynson Lounge from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.