Connecting for the common good
At the first Be the Change: Careers for the Common Good Symposium in October, alumni and students focused on building relationships and advancing careers in nonprofits, education, government, and other enterprises for social good.
“Having dinner and great discussions with students was wonderful,” said Susan Retik-Ger ’90, co-founder of Beyond the 11th, which assists widows in Afghanistan. “I was delighted with how engaged and thoughtful the students were” at the symposium, which was sponsored by the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) and the Common Good Professional Network.
More than 60 students were joined by 14 alumni for the symposium’s Friday-night kickoff, which opened with student poster presentations on efforts such as SAT prep for local high school students, the area’s ambulance service, and Upstate Institute Summer Fellows research. Then, Jonah Shacknai ’78 spoke, emphasizing the random paths our lives can take and the importance of continuing to give back.
A panel of alumni — including Steve Bosak ’90, Janet Daisley ’80, P’17, Bob Dorf ’80, Molly Emmett ’12, Susan Hughes-Smith ’93, Amy James ’83, Betsy Levine Brown ’01, Thomas Levine ’71, P’01, Amelia Massoud-Tastor ’13, Jordan Press ’00, Elizabeth Stein ’12, Retik-Ger, and Shacknai — shared their experiences and answered students’ questions about positive and challenging aspects of their careers.
“They highlighted the fact that all organizations, whether private or public sector, need similar skill sets,” said co-organizer Jillian Arnault ’10, assistant director of professional networks. “No matter what your focus becomes, those skills can be applied to the common good.”
Saturday morning, in breakout groups, students asked alumni about how their studies and activities at Colgate could be used to pursue a career, and about how they could prepare for their careers.
For Jared Goldsmith ’16, those discussions were the most beneficial part of the weekend. “I got to speak one on one with a couple of recent alumni who work at schools and education nonprofits in Boston, which really interests me,” he said. “It was awesome to talk to people who are passionate and have been successful in the education field even though they only graduated a year or two before I came to Colgate.”
— Jessica Rice ’16