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Students and Alumni Connecting One-on-One

Since 2010, the Dinner with Alumni program has become part of the AU experience. Alumni have hosted over 200 dinners throughout DC, engaging more than 1,000 Eagles in meaningful conversations over a shared meal.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, students and alumni continued the conversations, community-building, and mentorship virtually.

We look forward to connecting students and alumni in the fall semester to continue this AU tradition.

Events will be scheduled soon!

Just as the university is entering a hybrid modality for students, faculty, and staff, we at the Alumni Association are doing so, too! We are planning how we can continue to offer this program virtually and in-person to connect students and alumni around career interests, indentities, and goals.

Registration for students and alumni will open in the fall semester. 

We look forward to seeing you for #AUDinnerWithAlumni!

For Students

  • Students will be matched with one alum during the spring semester. If you would like to be matched with another alum, you must re-register in order to go back into the queue and will be matched for a second time after all other student registrants have been matched. 
  • Students and alumni are requested to schedule their own meeting. 
  • Meetings can occur over the phone or video conference (e.g. Zoom), depending on each participant's preference. 
  • Students and alumni are requested to let the Alumni Association know they met and provide feedback via the survey form sent at the time of matching. 

Business casual is proper attire for this dinner. That goes for virtual conversations, too! Not sure what this means? Business casual clothing is crisp, neat, and should look appropriate. Just remember you want to represent yourself positively in front of the host and the other dinner guests. 

Avoid tight or baggy clothing, sneakers, or jeans.
Smart choices include:

  • Khaki or nicer material pants, skirts, or dresses, neatly pressed
  • Pressed long-sleeved, buttoned solid shirt
  • Tailored shirts or blouses, knit sweaters, and sweater sets

The host is paying for your meal, not AU. Sending a thank you card is both an expected courtesy and an important part of successful networking. Know that follow-up letters keep your name current should opportunities arise in an organization and/or field.

Please send the card to your host to specially acknowledge and thank them for dinner.

Don't forget to exchange contact information with the host before leaving!

You must let us know if you can no longer attend; no-shows will not be allowed to participate in future dinners.

Cancellations need to be submitted to Amber McClay at least 24 hours before your dinner. Please include your name, contact information, date of dinner, and name of the dinner host.

One way to receive more detailed information about an occupation or career is to conduct an informational interview. The dinner you are attending is like an informational interview. Informational interviewing is the process of talking to professionals who are employed in a career field/industry that is of interest to you.

The following guidelines will help you have a successful dinner experience.

1. Know What You Want to Accomplish

The primary objectives are to:

  • Investigate a specific career field.
  • Narrow career options.
  • Obtain advice on where you might fit in an organization.
  • Learn the language and important issues in the field.
  • Broaden your network for future reference.
  • Create a strategy for entering your field.

2. Conducting the Informational Interview

Before the Dinner:

  • Research the host's employer or organization.
  • Write down questions you wish to ask.
  • Learn something about the person you will be interviewing.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring copies of your resume to distribute only upon request.

During the Dinner:

  • Share what information you expect to learn.
  • Initiate the conversation, since you are the interviewer.
  • Request referrals to other individuals in the field or in related organizations.

*Remember that this is an information-gathering event, not an employment interview.

After the Dinner:

  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Evaluate your style of interviewing.
  • What could you have done better?
  • Evaluate the information you received.
  • How does it relate to your plans?
  • Map out your next step.

3. What to Ask Your Host

Make a list of questions you would like answered by the host about a career field or organization. To gain the most information, use open-ended questions to engage your host. Listed below are sample questions to help you prepare for your dinner.

Questions about the Field:

  • What types of positions are available in this career field?
  • What general skills do people need to perform their responsibilities (e.g., organizing, supervising, writing)?
  • What background is required?
  • What kind of training or education do you recommend?
  • What characterizes a typical entry level position in the field?
  • What is the outlook for entry-level professionals?
  • What are some alternative methods of entry into the field?
  • What is the future of this field in terms of new and expanding opportunities?

In addition, ask about other information that may be helpful (e.g., critique of resume, job-seeking tactics, names of other professionals in the field).

Questions about the Organization

  • What are some short and long-term goals of the organization in the areas of growth, new products or services and expansion of facilities?
  • What is the philosophy of the organization and what types of training programs are available?
  • Can you describe an entry-level and a mid-level job?
  • Can you describe your job?
  • What is a typical career path from entry-level to top management?

For Alumni

  • Alumni will be matched one-on-one with students. During registration, alumni may choose how many students they would like to be matched with during the spring semester.
  • Alumni and students are requested to schedule their own meeting(s).
  • Meetings can occur over the phone or video conference (e.g. Zoom), depending on each participant's preference. 
  • Alumni and students are requested to let the Alumni Association know they met and provide feedback via the survey form sent at the time of matching. 
  • If alumni would like to send their student(s) a $5+ gift card for coffee, lunch, etc. they may coordinate that gift with the student.

There are three types of conversation styles for hosted dinners:


  • Casual conversation that develops organically.
  • No agenda needed.
  • Feel free to review the questions in the Informational Interviews section under FOR STUDENTS. Many students use those questions to start the conversations.  


  • Loosely planned conversation.
  • Option to send agenda to Amber McClay for forwarding to students.


  • Create your own agenda, identifying clear goals and objectives.
  • Send agenda to Amber McClay at least 48 hours prior to dinner.
  • Agenda sent to students by Amber in preparation for dinner.

Any American University Alum can host a dinner! Below are some of the groups past hosts have been a member of, but you do not have to be a member of an alumni group to participate! Please reach out with questions. We would love to work with you! 

American University Alumni Board Members
Board of Trustees Members
Friends of AU 
Multicultural and Affinity Group Alumni Volunteers
Parents of current and past students 
Regional Alumni Volunteers
Young Alumni Chapter Members

Alcohol Policy

Alcohol is not permitted at events whether or not the students are 21 years of age. Alcohol includes wine, beer, liquor, and mixed drinks. This event is not registered with the University, and anyone who consumes alcohol could be subjected to disciplinary action. 

A limited number of alumni hosts and students can participate each semester.
You must register to host or attend, and you will be contacted if you are placed on the waitlist. 

For more information contact Amber McClay, Assistant Director, Student and Young Alumni Engagement.