One of the newest initiatives in a series of events, SWEATworking is a fresh approach to traditional networking in a stuffy formal setting. Instead, this new event series brings alumnae/i and students together through fun and physical activities like Zumba, hiking, or, in the case of SWEATworking, yoga. The second half of the program then involves casual mingling with healthy refreshments.
“[SWEATworking is a] simple format, but reaches a new group of alumnae/i that we haven’t engaged in this way before,” said Coordinator for Alumnae/i Relations Hillary Shusterman ’14, who organized the event. “Like all new events and programming, all you want is for your attendees to have fun and enjoy themselves.
With so many conversations about “editing your story,” “putting your best foot forward,” and carefully constructing your appearance, this idea of building career connections while sweaty and flushed can seem incompatible or just plain wrong.
On this, Shusterman explained, “This brings up an interesting point, as it speaks to the fact that students at Wheaton are so accustomed to the standard ‘suit-and-tie’ networking events, that anything outside of that norm feels illegitimate.”
However, the casual nature of SWEATworking is the whole point of having such an event. Wheaton and the Alumni Relations office are trying to help students realize that interactions between students and alums need not always be so forced and unnatural.
“[Interactions] made in an informal shared-interest setting are as valuable as ones made in a professional setting,” said Shusterman. “It is ultimately all about making connections and building relationships, and this event is a springboard for just that.”
Shusterman had 14 alumnae/i registering from the class of 2014 to the class of 1974, and said that she had never received so much positive feedback from both students and alums who were more than pleased with such a unique opportunity to engage with the college community.
SWEATworking is Shusterman’s third event this year, having also spearheaded Happening Hour earlier this semester, and Dinner with Twelve Strangers. These series are not only new, but will continue to grow and transition into the Fall of 2015.
“I can’t stress enough how much [the alumni office] wants student and alumnae/i input in planning these events,” continued Shusterman. “Collaboration only leads to more successful events that really speak to what both parties are looking for. If you are interested in partnering with the Alumnae/i Relations Office on a project, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.”