Chicago-bound students connect via Skype

Internship and Career Services recently held a Skype series with current Butler students and Butler alumni in the Chicago area, hoping to connect students interested in the Chicago market to alumni there.

This is the first time the office has used Skype for connecting students and alumni, Jeremy Walthall, ICS office coordinator, said.

Walthall said the main point of the Skype series was to inform students interested in moving to the Chicago area about things like where to live, the cost of living and general information about the area.

“We hope to do more of this type of thing,” Walthall said. “It’s all about networking.”

Liz Freedman, the ICS coordinator of on-campus employment, said students often don’t think about all the little things when planning on moving after college.

“Students have an idea of moving, but the logistics are difficult,” Freedman said. “The alumni were engaging, funny, realistic and gave the cold-hearted truth of what it takes.”

Gary Beaulieu, the ICS director of career and planning development, said he came up with the idea based on his own experience.

“I thought I wanted to move to Chicago, but I didn’t have a clue about the expense and the time,” Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu said the Chicago area has a large alumni population, and this gives them a way to personally connect with the university.

A small group of students attended the event, and three alumni participated in the Skype series, Walthall said.

“We are hoping for more student involvement as the word gets out,” Walthall said.

Student feedback was very positive, Beaulieu said.

Senior psychology and Spanish major J.J. Kells said she is interested in moving to the Chicago area after graduation and said the event was very helpful.

“It gave me the opportunity to speak face-to-face with alumni,” Kells said. “This made me feel more engaged and also gave me three extra contacts in the area.”

The ICS partnered with the alumni office to put on this event, Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu said this was a “trial run” and said the office will consider expanding to different markets.

“We want to see how this will work,” Beaulieu said. “There’s opportunity for expansion, it isn’t taxing on the office, and it’s a great way to engage alumni.”

The ICS has another Skype series scheduled April 4 with Butler alumni in New York City, Walthall said.

Freedman said the use of Skype was very helpful in the event.

“It is virtually the same as alumni being here on campus,” Freedman said. “A phone conversation just wouldn’t have done this event justice.”

Freedman said this new way of communicating will help students become acclimated with Skype, which is important because employers are using it more for job interviews.

“This gives students more interaction with alumni,” Beaulieu said. “Some students involved are actually following up with the alumni they spoke with.”

Walthall said the office also plans to use this to connect students with employers in other markets in the future.