Skip to content

VassarNet Allows Alumnae/i, Students to Connect While Maintaining Social Distance

Entering the world of work for the first time, seeking a new job, or changing careers can be stressful in the best of times. But these days, Vassar students also worry about the cancellation of summer internships while alumnae/i face layoffs triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the community navigates these new job-related stresses, the college is seeking to raise awareness about Vassar’s new online networking platform, VassarNet.

According to the Career Development Office (CDO) and the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development (OAAD), there are some significant ways VassarNet can help in the current crisis—from facilitating the search for remote work opportunities and internships to connecting those who need advice about career development while maintaining social distance.

“VassarNet is uniquely situated to help us navigate COVID-19 as it allows students and alumnae/i to easily connect with one another from their respective locations,” says Jannette Swanson, the CDO’s Associate Director of Alumnae/i Outreach and Partnerships. “I am a big believer that our alumnae/i can play an instrumental role in connecting both students and fellow alumnae/i to internships and jobs that they may know about within their respective organizations.”

VassarNet launched at the start of the current school year, and already it has helped hundreds of students and alumnae/i of all ages make connections.

Current students, alumnae/i, parents, faculty, and staff can register and set up a profile to become part of this new online networking community. From there, it’s easy to search for and post jobs and internships, contact others with like career interests, or join ongoing discussions.

VassarNet facilitates ongoing discussion groups on a variety of topics.

This includes a newly formed discussion group on the challenges of working remotely, which can be accessed from the “Groups” tab.

“Many of us are new to working remotely, but there are Vassar alums who are no strangers to a home office,” says Cheryl McKeever, OAAD’s Associate Director of Alumnae/i Engagement and VassarNet Sitewide Admin. “VassarNet is a place for people to come together, talk about challenges they’re facing right now, and get expert advice from others who have been doing it for years.”

The platform can also continue to be used for the type of regular career networking that has always been important—and will continue to be after this crisis has passed, McKeever says. VassarNet already has close to 3,000 users, about 1,800 of whom are alumnae/i. “Students can contact alums for informational interviews and get career advice that will help them when it’s time to go back out into the world,” she says.

VassarNet extends mentoring and networking opportunities beyond the college’s successful in-person programming, allowing alumnae/i to lend support virtually—from anywhere in the world.Photo: Karl Rabe

This is something Emma Tanner ’22 already knows, having used VassarNet to network remotely with alums before the pandemic broke out.

“It seemed like a really cool opportunity to connect with alums in a safe and comfortable way, so I just signed right up!” Tanner says. “My expectations have been very much exceeded.”

Tanner, who anticipates attending law school after Vassar, has been contacting legal professionals through VassarNet for advice on preparing for the LSAT, strengthening her résumé, and essentially charting her path towards her ideal career. “I’ve reached out to upwards of 20 alums,” she says. “Everyone has been very open and willing to help, which I’m so appreciative of. It’s really nice to see people still caring about Vassar long after graduation.”

If there was ever a time to demonstrate that type of caring, says Willa Vincitore ’92, OAAD’s Senior Director of Alumnae/i Engagement, now is the time to do so. “It has never been more important to share opportunities—as well as general advice—with students and fellow alumnae/i,” she says. “An active, engaged network is exactly what we need right now. VassarNet provides a platform that facilitates these connections. It is my hope that people will pose and answer questions, share opportunities and advice, and just check in with one another.”

“If anyone is willing to go out of their way to create creative, remote opportunities to ensure our students get valuable summer experiences, my money is on our Vassar alumnae/i,” adds Swanson. “I’ve already heard some great success stories and we look forward to seeing more internships and jobs getting posted on VassarNet!”

Alumnae/i are encouraged to visit VassarNet to join in.