September 27, 2023
As the fall season brings students back to college, they are excited to learn new subjects and grow through on- and off-campus opportunities.
While it may seem like a distant memory, our school years had a profound impact on our lives and career paths. I attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with the hopes of one day living and working in our nation’s capital. I remember during my freshman year, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to attend a conference event. While I was there, a Drake alum who worked in the White House reached out to me and asked if I wanted to stop by for a private West Wing tour.
At just 19 years old, I found myself having a meaningful conversation about my goals and aspirations all while standing in front of the Oval Office. The hour he spent with me meant so much and showed me the possibilities for a political career. Over 10 years later, that same Drake alum has continued to serve as my mentor and help me navigate professional growth opportunities.
Each of us can play a critical role in paying it forward for our university’s student body. There are numerous ways for employees to give back time and resources, and support those who are looking for workforce experiences and career guidance.
- Mentoring Programs – Many college campuses facilitate mentoring opportunities that connect alumni with students who are hoping to enter similar industries or careers. Sharing your experiences, offering resume guidance, and providing professional insights can be invaluable to young adults. Mentoring not only helps students navigate their career choices but also builds a strong sense of community and support.
- Networking Events – Alumni associations, especially in major cities like DC, often organize happy hours, philanthropy events, office tours, or other meetups for students in the area to connect with local alumni. These events create a natural platform for meaningful connections, mentorship, and knowledge-sharing. I had the opportunity to host a group of Drake students this past year at LSG’s office and share insights about our company and the clients we serve.
- Internship Opportunities – If your employer offers internships or entry-level positions, share the job postings with your alumni association. These opportunities allow students to gain real-world experience and learn from seasoned professionals. It’s a win-win situation, as your company benefits from fresh perspectives and potential future talent.
Back-to-school season is the perfect time to kickstart your engagement and find ways to give back. You and your employer can play a vital role in supporting alumni relations and shaping the next workforce generation. Through mentoring, internships, networking, and other events, you can help ensure that current students have the resources and guidance they need to succeed.