Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Egypt, Young People, and Higher Education

Like most Americans, I watched the news of the Egyptian revolution with interest. I greeted it with almost a sense of disbelief. The last time I remember feeling so moved was when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. I was a student at Westminster at the time, and remember talking about the meaning and gravity of the act with my professors and classmates.

As an adult, I viewed the Egyptian revolution with the same awe and interest, but I didn't have the outlet of my classes and professors available for discussion. Instead, I turned to passively watching the news, reading blogs and trying to absorb as much information as I could. However, I continue to feel as though I'm missing something. There is simply no substitute for intellectually stimulating conversation in an academic setting.

I learned through reading blogs that the revolution was led by young people, organized and promoted on social media, and had a lot to do with unemployment levels among the highly educated. As a person who regularly works with recent graduates, many of whom are entering the work force during a recession, these events make me worry even more about their future. How can we, as Westminster alumni, create a stronger alumni network - one that doesn't leave our recent graduates worrying about the future and feeling ostracized and neglected by those who have come before them?

If there were ever a time to be involved in alumni organizations, I believe that it is now. Opening up your own networks, providing job counseling and expertise, mentoring a student or even taking them to lunch one time is an immensely important way to ensure the vitality of our future. It is more important than ever to connect with one another. In the alumni program, we are looking for your ideas, your willingness to commit to building relationships with each other, your desire to create that alumni network. It is through the interconnectedness that we will maintain our strength! Are you willing to help?

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