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Return to the U … Experience U

| Emily Wermund

If you're a UW-Claire graduate who's passionate about the experiences you had during your time on campus, please consider sharing what you've learned with the next generation of Blugolds through Experience U.

Experience U is a campus program designed to create meaningful connections between students and alumni. Alumni have an opportunity to give back to the university by sharing time and expertise with students;students have an opportunity to network and receive advice from those who once filled their shoes.

The event has been a great platform for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, Career Services and Alumni Association to take advantage of the expertise and wisdom that UW-Eau Claire alumni have to help fulfill the university’s commitment to excellence, said Tori Follett, director of annual giving for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and a 2011 UW-Eau Claire graduate.

“Students are able to make valuable connections with alumni and polish their networking skills while alumni have a unique opportunity to give back by sharing their time, knowledge and connections with the students,” Follett said.

Experience U includes panel discussions covering such topics as life after college, maximizing your UW-Eau Claire experience, work-life balance and networking. In these sessions, alumni share their experiences and provide advice to students about preparing for the future and succeeding after graduation.

Past alumni participants say they have found the program to be as worthwhile for them as it has been for the students.

“My conversations with about 25 UWEC students during the speed networking session gave me great insight into the job outlook of today’s graduating seniors,“ said Daniel Simms, a 1974 UW-Eau Claire marketing graduate, after the spring 2015 event. “Being able to offer ideas and suggestions to those students with uncertainty on their job paths was very rewarding to me. I hope that the students I visited with gained as much from me as I did from them. I was impressed by a very high level of poise, intelligence and interest by the students — characteristic of the UWEC student body that I have always loved being associated with.”

Students report that the connections they’ve made through the networking event will benefit them as they prepare for the future.

“I received some good advice and inspiration about how to start my career,” said Alicia Cichon, who participated as a student and graduated in May with a degree in sociology. “I was also able to meet and network with several people who are recommending me for positions and companies already. This event made me really excited to find a full-time job and boosted my confidence.”

The spring 2015 Experience U event drew about 50 alumni and 80 students. Follett said she hopes to increase student participation to 100 for a total of 150 student and alumni participants.

The next Experience U event is planned for April 14, 2016. For more information about the program,
contact Follett at 715-836-5628 or Also visit for additional details.

Photo caption (image to the right): Stacey Stratton, a 1998 Blugold marketing graduate and president of True Talent Group, was keynote speaker at the spring 2015 Experience U event.