Spring 2020 Issue

Virtual Reality

Engaging online in the time of COVID-19

By Claire De Lisle

How do we stay connected in this time of quarantine, social distancing, stay-at-home and shelter-in-place?

In March, the Alumni Association launched a new collection of online options for alumni, parents, family and friends to gather virtually and stay connected to each other and William & Mary.

“In this time when we are so isolated, it’s particularly important we are able to call on our William & Mary family — whether that’s to reach out to your Tribe network for career opportunities and advice, to learn from the expertise of fellow alumni or just see friends,” says Marilyn Ward Midyette ’75, executive director of the Alumni Association.

Events ranged from online networking hours to virtual happy hours to webinars with topics like “Coronavirus Impact to US Economy & Capital Markets” and “Conquering Chaos during Social Separation: A Personal(ity) Approach.”

The Alumni Association also worked with faculty and staff across the university to share programming, including webinars on supporting your K-12 students at home from the School of Education, weekly videos from the Muscarelle Museum, business leadership podcasts produced by the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and more.

As many people face employment uncertainty and new graduates enter the workforce, career and networking resources from One Tribe One Network can assist. On April 25, in partnership with Mission Collaborative, the Alumni Association launched the Alumni Career Change Fellowship, a 30-day program designed to help participants find fulfilling careers that fit their needs and strengths. An additional fellowship is planned for Oct. 24-Nov. 22, 2020.

Another resource, the W&M Switchboard, is a private online platform for alumni to connect with each other, learn about job opportunities and internships and share advice on everything from careers to parenting to staying safe during the outbreak.

Other offerings available year-round include an online LinkedIn course, chat-based networking and a library of recorded professional development webinars delivered by members of the W&M community.

Online events and resources will continue to be available after in-person events resume. All virtual engagement offerings can be found at wmalumni.com/events/virtual-opportunities. You can also submit any ideas or recommendations for topics and speakers on the website or by emailing engagement@wm.edu.