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Dinner with Alumni Goes Virtual

An AU tradition, Dinner with Alumni met the challenge of our virtual landscape last fall. Hear from students and alumni who participated and learn how to get involved!

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One of the most personalized and highly enjoyed opportunities for student and alumni engagement is consistently our Dinner with Alumni (DWA) program. Since 2010, DWA has been a beloved tradition with alumni hosting small groups of students and treating them to meals across the DMV. Groups are formed based on commonalities, career interest, and identities. Alumni share their experiences and connections, and students gain personalized insight while networking with alumni and peers. Did we mention there’s dinner?! Our tastiest program also allows students to experience new restaurants and explore DC. 

Due to the global pandemic, in-person dinners are not feasible, but the core of the program – the personalized networking – continues, and, as always, our alumni have risen to the occasion. During fall 2020, we engaged exactly 100 alumni to host virtual conversations with students. Alumni met on a one-to-one basis with 243 students. 

This shift proved to be accessible for participants across the country and the globe. Breaking down the geographic requirement of living in the DMV to connect with our students is a welcome update to the program. More than half of alumni hosts were from outside a 50-mile radius of DC, calling in from 21 states and Mexico. We saw students call in from 20 states as well as Brazil, Nicaragua, and India. 

Here’s what some alumni and students had to say about the experience:

  • Sherry Soanes, WCL/JD ’97 (DC)
    “Oh, what wonderful matches you gave me. This is such a great experience. There is the downside of not having a meal, but the advantage is having these one-on-one conversations that are more tailored to the person. Loving it.”
  • Krysten Heberly, SOC/MA ’22 (North Carolina)
    “The virtual shift was actually the best possible option for me since I’m an online student in Greensboro, NC, and Amy was in St. Louis. She gave me a ton of insight into what to do after my MA and how to make the most of my career. Amy was amazing, and I highly recommend this program to anyone!”
  • Connor Reed, SPA/BA ’24 (New Jersey)
    “I wanted to let you know that I am so thankful to have been able to connect with Ms. Seiberlich. This was a great opportunity that the Alumni Association provided, and I believe this is a program that should be continued.”

The spring 2021 Virtual Conversations with Alumni program is up and running. Register to meet with up to six students this spring. Please share your experiences and make a lasting impact on our community. Thank you to our hosts and the fantastic work all alumni do to support our AU students!

For questions or to learn about additional ways to support students, please contact Amber McClay, assistant director for student and young alumni engagement, at