New Tigers Connect platform serves as a professional development bridge between students, alumni
‘Flash mentoring’ tool officially launched Sept. 27
While LinkedIn has become a way to develop connections within industry, a new platform designed specifically for the RIT community is creating a professional development bridge between students and alumni.
Tigers Connect, a ‘flash mentoring’ platform that officially launched Sept. 27, serves as a one-stop shop where users can create profiles, set preferences, and customize any information that they want shared. For example, alumni users can self-identify by employer, industry, graduation year, and affinity with campus clubs, organizations, and athletic teams, among many other identifiers. Student users can input their majors and areas of interest, post questions to alumni experts through email, direct messaging and chat functions, search for volunteer opportunities, and request help from alumni with resume writing, interview tips, and mentoring. Both user groups can identify themselves as deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing.
The closed platform can also set up students and alumni to connect with one another using discussion boards, video conferences or phone calls, and link to calendars for easy scheduling.
According to Ron Goldberg, senior director of Volunteer and Digital Programs in RIT’s University Advancement division, Tigers Connect is all-encompassing and a tremendous resource for students and alumni looking for opportunities to explore.
“We have been working to put together Tigers Connect for quite a while, and the timing was just right,” said Goldberg. “This is another way for the RIT family to find others who have things in common or can help provide a service. If a student needs someone in a particular industry to review their resume, they automatically know who can do that for them.”
And while University Advancement helped implement the system, students’ interest in building professional development opportunities was a strong catalyst toward making the system a reality for the RIT community.
“Last year, Student Government had the idea to build an online alumni network platform where current RIT students and alumni could connect,” said RIT Student Government President Lucas Randrianarivelo. “Seeking a co-op or full-time position is an overwhelming and tedious task for many students. The resources available to current students at RIT are dense in valuable information, but difficult to navigate. Therefore, we plan to work with the Division of University Advancement to develop and promote Tigers Connect which will alleviate the current challenges our students face when seeking these opportunities. This internal network will transform the way students find employment and serve as a way in to many of the companies where our alumni work.”
In addition to mentoring, students are also provided with pathways for success through the system that include built-in, customizable correspondence templates for introductory emails and thank-you notes, and tips on how to handle stress and anxiety during job searches and interviews.
“Tigers Connect is yet another mechanism to help our students advance their critical thinking,” added Goldberg.
Down the road, according to Goldberg, faculty and staff will be incorporated into the system to create additional mentorship opportunities and connect with alumni in the field.
For now, the goal is to have 1,000 alumni and 500 student users by the middle of next year.
To join Tigers Connect and begin building a user profile, go to the Tigers Connect website.