An official update from The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career | Fall 2020
The fall semester of 2020 has been a semester unlike any other at Hope College. It has been a season for us to adapt and find new ways to connect with students, alumni, and employers. With a lot of creativity, the Boerigter team found new ways to serve our students and live out our mission.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS FALL
100% VIRTUAL OPERATIONS: In preparation for the fall semester, the college sought every opportunity to limit the number of people on campus so student learning could take the highest priority. Having seen success with video-conference 1:1 appointments and events in April, we were optimistic that we could still serve students and run events with all staff working remotely. It worked. Our appointment numbers were actually 6% higher in September and October of 2020 as compared to the same months in 2019.
USE OUR SPACE: With all staff working remotely, we made the bold decision to open up our desks and conference rooms for students. It was an instant hit. Students looking for a quiet space to study found a welcoming office, decorated with pictures of staff and instructional posters for how to get in touch with us and use our various software platforms.
CAREER CAMP: The pandemic’s impact on the economy kept us closely watching the job market. Knowing that jobs and internships might be harder to find, we launched a new initiative in September to engage students early and nudge them to be proactive in career preparation. “Career Camp” attracted 276 students (mostly juniors and seniors) to multiple virtual workshops and an intensive résumé review process. Many of our faculty members made these events required for students in their classes.
RECRUITING: We launched our first-ever virtual recruiting fair this fall and attracted 40 employers to host online meetings with our students. While we missed the energy of our typical large in-person event, we found that the virtual format attracted more out-of-state employers and allowed for more focused conversations.
STUDENT/ALUMNI EVENTS: Our Hope College Connection Live! events became virtual events as well this fall, but we found our alumni and students to be no less engaged. We held workshops on targeted topics, such as job negotiations and onboarding, and we held events featuring alumni who have followed career tracks in international relations and the arts.
INSTAGRAM: We added to our social media outreach this semester by launching an Instagram account – one of the more popular apps for our students. We started in August and just surpassed 100 posts and 283 followers. Follow us @hopecareer!
TARGETED SOFTWARE TRAINING: What started as an idea 12 months ago has now become a thriving student program. On November 30, we launched our second cohort of a certification training program in Tableau, a popular data analytics and visualization tool. Deliberately timed to coincide with the semester break, we have 50+ students who are eager to complete the required hours of online training to enhance their résumé with a Tableau Analyst badge.
COMING NEXT SEMESTER
CFL INTEGRATION: We are extremely excited to welcome Hope College’s Center for Leadership (CFL) to become a part of the Boerigter Center starting in January. Since 2006, CFL has a strong track record of preparing students for the future through the leadership minor, student consulting operations, and leadership development workshops. Becoming a part of the Boerigter Center will connect CFL’s unique experiential learning programs to Hope’s core career preparation initiatives. In addition, we hope to elevate the topic of leadership to be a more prominent educational track for all students.
30 DAY CHALLENGE: Following the model of our successful Career Camp program, we will be offering a new program in January and February to assist additional students in career preparation activities. New workshops and more résumé reviews will prepare our students for our next recruiting fair in late February.
EMPLOYER ADVISORY COUNCIL: Later this coming spring, we are planning to convene a group of leaders from our key recruiting partners. Our hope is to create a forum to keep Hope College in sync with industry needs and educational expectations as the job market evolves and changes.
INTERACTIVE “WHERE WILL YOU GO?” DISPLAY: A team of computer science students has been working with us this fall to design an interactive app showing alumni whereabouts, featured stories, and job openings. We plan to feature this app on a large touch-screen monitor in the lobby of the Boerigter Center by the end of the spring semester.
NEW IDEA TAKING SHAPE
OFFICE SPACE EXPANSION: Earlier this year, Hope decided to designate the lower level of the DeWitt Center (the former Kletz) as an expansion space for the Boerigter Center and the new home of the Center for Leadership and the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement. Given the overlapping work of our offices, we envision many ways in which this new space can become a hub for leading, launching, and lifelong learning. We are in the early stages of design work and fundraising, and we are very excited to make this a place for students, alumni, and employers to connect.
Want to learn more about the Boerigter Center? Contact our Executive Director Shonn Colbrunn (firstname.lastname@example.org)