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New Virtual Networking Events Connect Wildcats Around World

Student at computerThe Alumni Relations Office has launched Davidson Connect, a new series of online alumni networking events. Powered by Brazen, Davidson Connect events facilitate text-based alumni-to-alumni networking and alumni-to-student mentoring.

"The flexibility of the platform allows people in different geographical areas and career fields to connect easily," said Ashley Neff, associate director of alumni relations. "We're able to engage alumni in areas where we aren't able to host events and help them take advantage of the Davidson network."

Participants can join events from anywhere using a computer, smartphone or tablet, and no audio or video is required.

Davidson recently held its second virtual networking event, which was open to all alumni. Sixty-eight alumni participated, joining from as far as Great Britain, Barcelona and Bogota. They completed a total of 115 one-to-one conversations, each lasting up to eight minutes. Participants were grouped in the nonprofit, business and health care sectors and could either choose to chat with the person with whom they were randomly matched, or move to another person.

Survey results showed that 78 percent of attendees were very likely or extremely likely to recommend the event to a friend or colleague, and 83 percent would participate in a similar event in the future.

"We received some great feedback that we'll incorporate into future networking hours," said Neff. "I kept this event simple, but with upcoming events we'll likely incorporate discussion boards and a new ‘multi-chat' feature that allows participants to have more than one conversation at once."

The first virtual networking event, a partnership between Alumni Relations, the Center for Career Development and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, connected students and alumni interested in entrepreneurship and innovative career paths. Students and young alumni asked experienced alumni questions about life working at a start-up, innovation-oriented jobs and social ventures. The next two will take place Dec. 2 and Dec. 3; the first for alumni in areas including New York City, Washington, D.C., and New England, and the second for alumni in Chicago, Atlanta and the Research Triangle. Alumni who are hoping to relocate to one of the aforementioned areas are invited to participate.

"We're hoping that this platform will not only create new alumni connections, but also keep people in touch in larger cities," Neff said.