Weathering the Storm

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WAA helps seniors face tough job market.

Tearful good-byes, a final hike up Bascom Hill, and a whisper in Honest Abe’s ear for postgraduation wishes are typical elements of a soon-to-be-graduate’s final month on campus. But as the 2009 senior class approached the most challenging job market in a generation, WAA knew those students would need more than just congratulations.

In April, WAA and the University of Wisconsin Foundation (UWF) organized the first-ever Senior Week — a series of free events designed to help graduating seniors both celebrate their time on campus and acquire a host of career and financial skills.

The week kicked off with a Career and Internship Connection event, sponsored by the College of Letters and Science Career Services and the Business Career Center. Other programs included Career Boot Camp, sessions providing tips on financial planning and making the transition from college to corporate life, and a presentation by Neil Willenson ’92. The 2009 WAA Forward Under 40 award winner spoke about his journey from young social activist to founder of One Heartland, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth affected by HIV/AIDS.

Through a new arrangement between WAA and UWF, students could participate in a special $50 offer that combined a membership in WAA and a senior class gift.

“This celebration offered the outgoing class some tools that I know are being put to good use,” says Paula Bonner MS’78, WAA president and CEO. “We were extremely proud to honor our seniors and welcome this class into the Badger alumni family.”

In the spirit of celebration, students were also invited on a Badger Tradition Tour to revisit (or finally visit) popular campus landmarks. And in traditional Badger fashion, Senior Week wrapped up with a Senior Class Party in the Memorial Union, where students kicked back and relaxed with an afternoon of free food, prizes, and entertainment.

“Attending Senior Week was the most fulfilling way to spend my last days as a student at Wisconsin,” says Jaime Moran ’09. “I was with great friends participating in traditions only Badgers celebrate. This special send-off proves that UW is not only an awesome institution I am proud to forever be a part of, but also a comforting support system that cares for its members every step of the way.”

Published in the Fall 2009 issue

Tags: Alumni, Students

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