The Division of Student Affairs Involvement to Industry Conference was designed by alumni for alumni and students to network across industries. At a time when many places of business are cutting professional development funds, the Division of Student Affairs seeks to be a source of leadership development for its alumni network.

Director of advancement and assessment Erin Thomas shares how essential it is to bring alumni and students together for learning and development. “Our Redbird alumni play a significant role in the career management of our undergraduates. They represent a diverse array of industries and this conference is an opportunity for students and alumni to network in meaningful ways.

Read the conference outcomes and goals on the division’s website, but in the meantime, here is some advice for having an incredible conference experience.

  1. Bring friends. Take the initiative to plan a mini-reunion for your class, student organization, or club team at this conference! Social activities and lifelong education sessions are already planned. You just have to add your circle of friends. Plus, it’s always fun to be back in Bloomington-Normal, eating Avanti’s bread and Pub II cheese balls.
  2. Have coffee—with a purpose. One of the primary outcomes of the conference is to make new Redbird connections, especially with alumni in a similar line of work or those with parallel collegiate involvement experiences. Bring your business cards and get ready to network! The Career Center has secured several employer partners to facilitate conversations during the networking lunch hour.
  3. Sponsor a student. Pay $10 to allow a student the opportunity to attend the conference, hear dynamic speakers, and make connections with alumni. Our undergraduates need myriad mentors and you could be one that helps a freshman student step up to lead in their student organization or a senior successfully transition to the workplace.
  4. “Read” a book. One aspect of the conference is titled Birds’ Bookshelf, a chance for alumni and students to be on loan to conference attendees who act as “readers.” Share your narrative with others and forge new connections.
  5. Check out a new or renovated building. You are going to love seeing the current campus revitalization projects, including the Bone Student Center and Culinary Support Center in Watterson Dining Commons.
  6. Dress the part. This conference is the perfect time to get out your favorite red and white business casual attire. Bonus points if you can dress up one of the many iterations of Homecoming, Welcome Week, or Fear the Bird T-shirts. And if you need more Reggie attire … take a quick trip to the new Barnes & Noble in the Bone Student Center to pick up something new!
  7. Learn about ways to stay engaged. Do not let the conference be the end of the resource sharing you do with other Redbirds! Learn about the Student Affairs Alumni Network social, mentoring, educational, and volunteer activities.

The conference is Saturday, September 28, with an alumni welcome reception Friday, September 27, at the Hyatt Place Bloomington/Normal. Mark your calendar, reserve your hotel, call your friends, and register today!