The SavorUB program takes the idea of the alumni mentor to a new place: a midtown area restaurant. The concept is to pair a current student—who has applied through the UB website – with an alum from their prospective field. The pair then meets to discuss professional goals over a meal in an area restaurant. Past venues have included Sammy’s Trattoria, Owl Bar, City Café, Brewer’s Art and Two Boots. Following the meal, the student and alum often continue to meet up or exchange ideas.
SavorUB has been running since Sept. 2011, when it was established after a similar model at Dartmouth College. Sabrina Viscomi, the Assistant Director of Student and Young Alumni Programs, contends that a SavorUB meeting will give students both the immediate skills and a lasting connection for the future.
From that first meeting, the student will be learning. The simple act of sitting down to a lunch or dinner meeting, Viscomi argues, is incredibly important.
“SavorUB allows students to practice the skills we often learn about it textbooks, but cannot practice in the classroom,” Viscomi said. “For example: how should students behave if their interview takes place over lunch?”
In this way, the student has a chance to practice the careful balancing act of a professional encounter in the casual atmosphere of a meal meeting. And of course, much can be gained from the conversation during that single meal, in which alumni can share their experience transitioning from UB student to professional.
“I think the program also helps the students get answers from the best possible sources of information,” Viscomi said. “Who better to learn from than those who know exactly what it’s like to be in your shoes?” Ideally, of course, the meal results in a longer mentorship between the alum and the student. There are many success stories from SavorUB’s three-year history. While some students shadowed their mentors in the workplace, others fostered connections that helped them land a job or internship. Alumni have also helped graduate students get into doctoral programs.
In the end, the SavorUB program is about making connections. The experience is valuable whether the student gains a job, a professional contact or simply new insights for their future.
Interested in signing up? Check out SavorUB’s page at: www.ubalt.edu/alumni/volunteer-opportunities/savorub.cfm