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UPDATED: October 20, 2015, at 6:37 p.m.
Harvard students now have access to the alumni directory as part of a new initiative from the Harvard Alumni Association that seeks to better connect students still on campus with those who have graduated.
This change comes with the replacement of Crimson Compass, an online platform created by the HAA to facilitate mentoring between students and alumni. About 18,000 alumni volunteered to serve as mentors on the site, which Anne Cushing, HAA's director of engagement marketing, called “dated” in an emailed statement.
Replacing the old site, HAA has revamped the alumni directory to deliver “a more intuitive and dynamic data management and search experience for alumni and students,” Cushing wrote.
For instance, students and alumni can now connect more easily with alumni in their field of interest over social media platforms like LinkedIn.
“Alumni and students can build their professional brand and networks by reaching out to alumni in industries, specialties, and companies of interest,” Cushing wrote. Cushing added that the updated site allows users more flexibility when describing their professions, making the process “more natural and current with industry trends.”
Staff members of the Office of Career Services applauded the new changes, emphasizing the site’s usefulness for students looking for mentors or job opportunities, especially in careers for which OCS does not have an pre-existing contact network.
“What...we’re so lucky to have is leveraging the Harvard network,” said Robin E. Mount, OCS director of career, research, and international opportunities. “Harvard has probably the best built out alumni networks, so we’re able to help students.”
Deborah Carroll, OCS associate director of employer relations and operations, also emphasized how useful a resource the Harvard alumni network can be for job-seeking students.
On the updated site, students can access the profiles of all alumni in the directory, not only those who were previously part of Crimson Compass. Alumni who are willing to act as mentors would highlight that information in their profiles.
Though the updated directory is up and running, marketing for alumni and information for students about the system will be communicated by HAA and Harvard’s schools, respectively, later this fall, according to HAA staff.
—Staff writer Kamara A. Swaby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SwabyK.
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