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Networking directory accessible to seniors

Mike Gilloon | Monday, November 6, 2006

Undergraduate seniors and graduate students now have the option to receive full access to Irish Online, a networking directory of more than 100,000 alumni, after a change that went into effect Nov. 1.

A result of a joint effort by Student Government, the Career Center, the Alumni Association and the Development Office, the change increases student networking opportunities tenfold – undergraduate students were previously given access to a directory of 10,000 alumni who volunteered their information, according to a student government press release. Full access to the directory was not granted to seniors until well after graduation.

“We realized students didn’t have access to the full alumni network until at least six weeks after graduation and sometimes even [longer],” said student body vice president Bill Andrichik.

It didn’t make sense that the full directory was not available during the “most relevant time for students to be contacting alumni for their career search,” he said.

Seniors and graduate students will be able to view the entire alumni directory after attending a “Networking with ND Alumni” session. These sessions focus on “the proper way to use the network and how to make a professional contact,” Andrichik said. They help to alleviate any worries of network misuse, which Andrichik said was a “big hurdle” in making the change.

In test runs with select groups of students gaining access to the full directory, there have been “zero complaints from alumni,” Andrichik said.

While freshmen, sophomores and juniors will still have access to the volunteer alumni network, seniors will find that the job search may become easier with 100,000 records of alumni, regions, professions and contact information at their fingertips.

Students are “not actually contacting companies but Notre Dame alumni,” Andrichik said. “[The directory] works as a complement to companies that the Career Center brings in.”

The development, Andrichik said, is a positive change for seniors wanting to take full advantage of the vast alumni networking systems Notre Dame has to offer.

“You go to Notre Dame for a lifetime,” he said. “I would find it hard to believe that other comparable institutions have as good of alumni networks, as far as employment and networking opportunities go.”