Alumni reconnect virtually

Chatwan Mongkol, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University put together nine events last weekend to bring alumni back to campus, virtually.

Under normal circumstances, the university would host alumni weekend in person with several events and activities including a university tour, bounce house, tailgate party and a hockey game. But this year amid the pandemic, the event turned fully virtual on Oct. 9-10.

The weekend consisted of nine Zoom sessions including panels from the administration and student leadership, a discussion with the Quinnipiac Poll director, conversations about the pandemic, a tour of On the Rocks, a pub on the York Hill campus, and the 20th anniversary celebration of the School of Communications.

John Arcangelo, senior director of alumni and parent relations, said since this was the first year hosting the event online, he did not know what to expect.

“Not having the in-person component certainly had a negative impact on live attendance,” Arcangelo said. “Overall, we hoped participation would have been stronger with over 250 alumni registered across all of our events.”

Arcangelo said organizing the events online posed a similar level of complexity in comparison to in-person events and all the logistics — including scheduling speakers, producing marketing materials and conceptualizing programming — but all those were replaced by digital logistics.

Even though Arcangelo hopes to have an in-person weekend next year, he has a back-up plan if that is not possible.

“I anticipate taking a different approach,” Arcangelo said. “Possibly an alumni week, where we hold a series of virtual events during the week versus a full slate on a Friday evening and all day Saturday.”

As one of the event’s organizers, Dean of the School of Communications Chris Roush said he was happy with the turnout of the celebration.

“We had 125 students, alumni and faculty who attended the Hall of Fame induction ceremony,” Roush said. “I’m very pleased with that given that it was online, and it was the first time we have done something like this.”

Connor Lawless

Because the celebration was originally planned to be in person, Roush’s expectations were different.

“While it’s always good to see people in person and interact, the engagement between the inductees and those who attended was more than what I expected,” Roush said. “The inductees came across as authentic and genuine, and I am so glad that we honored them.”

The first School of Communications’ Hall of Fame’s inductees were Molly Qerim Rose, David Rabinowitz and Jeffery Chernov. All of them graduated from the School of Communications.

While some chose to spend the weekend virtually with the university, Lisa Zarcone, a class of 2013 alumna and a current part-time math faculty member, said she normally attended the events in previous years as a way to reconnect with her old friends, but she decided not to this year.

One reason was because of her schedule, and another reason was because of its online approach.

“I think that Quinnipiac did the best they could with the venue that they had since it had to be all virtual, but I did not have much interest in participating in the Zoom talks because to me, as a teacher myself, I’m behind a computer screen all day and on Zoom meetings all the time,” Zarcone said.

Zarcone also said most of the events were just to provide information, in which she already has access to as a Quinnipiac professor.

“I’m not really sure how they could’ve done any better because doing it virtual has a lot of limitations,” Zarcone said. “I’m glad they still had offerings to those who wanted to participate.”

Asia Moundraty, a class of 2020 graduate, also did not attend the event because she said she did not feel as if it was a good way to reconnect with friends and the university, despite still missing them.

“I imagined it would be like a Zoom session where you can only see your friends in a corner or on the chat list,” Moundraty said. “Anyone can FaceTime to see old friends, but that’s not the same like being on the campus and reliving the memories in person.”