Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston College alumni have banded together to help BC students and other alumni search for jobs, acquire important career skills, and make connections with the greater BC alumni network. Back to BC is a program in which alumni hosted workshops and panels as well as provided mentorship to students.
Alumni also hosted “Conversations with Alumni,” a virtual event series featuring successful alumni in media and communications careers, and paired BC alumni with job opportunities via a Google Sheet.
Hannah Say and Andrew Kearney, both BC ’18, created Back to BC with the goal of supporting students personally and professionally, specifically with recent BC graduates in mind. More than 800 students and alumni have signed up so far, Say said.
“The Back to BC initiative was really a grass roots type, young alumni movement effort to really help current BC students whose personal and professional development were impacted by COVID-19,” she said.
The program offered students small group mentorship, professional virtual events, and a skill-building project.
Small mentorship groups held weekly Zoom meetings, and though each group would receive an agenda every week, mentors and mentees were free to discuss topics other than those that were planned, Say said. The professional virtual events featured people from many different industries and held events, which Back to BC promoted on its Instagram page.
Say’s program also offered a skill-building project tailored for students who were not able to secure an internship for the summer. It gave them an opportunity to work on a project alongside a mentee—something they could include on their resumes.
Chris Russo, BC ’19, started the “Conversations with Alumni” series shortly after he graduated from BC. A marketing and communications major, he noticed a lack of support for BC students in the media industry.
“I saw all my friends in CSOM had very structured recruiting, they got their jobs [and] there were alumni resources, but for media [and] communications, not so much,” he said.
Russo founded the BC Media Alumni Network in July 2019. The independent alumni affinity group now has over 700 members spanning from New York to Los Angeles and who are involved in various fields including public relations, TV production, journalism, and marketing.
The BC Media Alumni Network’s “Conversations with Alumni” video series featured individuals such as Marvin Chow, Google’s Vice President of Global Marketing, and Joe Sabia, the creator and voice of Vogue’s “73 Questions” series.
Russo said that throughout the pandemic, the BC alumni network has gone beyond merely providing jobs for students and other alumni.
“Not everything was a job conversation,” he said. “I’m sure people really formed friendships outside of it and had happy hours or virtual coffee dates and these are things that are going to last outside of this for years to come.”
The Google Sheet for job opportunities was put together by David Frankel, BC ’93, to connect BC alumni who were hiring with other graduates looking to be hired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Friday, around 300 BC alumni have added their names to the Google Sheet and 22 indicated that they have been hired as a result. Frankel said he has received positive feedback from alumni, thanking him for putting it together and saying they were impressed with the list of impressive candidates, many of which have been hired.
Frankel also spoke on the tight knit relationships he’s observed between BC alumni and students.
“Once you graduate from BC, and it doesn’t matter if it’s undergrad or grad … it’s once an Eagle always an Eagle,” he said. “Everybody kind of comes together and helps each other out.”
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor