VinV, Meet the Nova Nation!

photo 1The first day of classes have started, so naturally the Nova Nation has been a hectic whirlwind of getting prepared to switch into school  mode. It’s weird how hard it is to get into a new routine of classes and activities; I am constantly checking my schedule to make sure I am going to the right class in the right room with the right textbooks at the right time. It’s been a blast, let me tell you.

So if we rewind a little bit to this past Thursday night, we were still in the San Francisco/Bay Area in California on our Villanova in the Valley trip. On that night, we just happened to be at the Ritz Carlton with Father Peter, the deans of all the colleges, and about 150 Villanova alumni. This event was the San Francisco launch of the Ignite Change campaign to raise $605 for the “Villanova Campus Makeover,” as I like to call it. We enjoyed savory sliders, vegetarian spring rolls, tuna tar tar, and an excellent dinner fare of salmon, steak, and roasted vegetables. And that’s all we did. Here’s a picture to prove it. Blog post complete.

If you know anything about Villanova in the Valley, then you know that the last statement was a complete farce. We wouldn’t be able to have an unproductive night even if we wanted to! So here’s what really happened.

We arrived at the Ritz Carlton at around 5:40pm, allowing enough time to get situated in a luxurious seating area connected to the lobby. Soon afterwards, we introduced ourselves and chatted with the deans of the business, nursing, engineering, and liberal arts & sciences colleges. They were very interested in our trip and many of them asked what we would change about Villanova, given our experiences with the culture and companies of Silicon Valley. It was encouraging to see how interested our deans were in improving Villanova’s entrepreneurial spirit. They weren’t simply intrigued by the fact that we visited Google, Apple, and Amazon, but they were curious as to how our experiences could benefit the greater Villanova community. I for one was very happy with this since I would love to see Villanova become a hub of creativity and entrepreneurship. Imagine if people started saying that the Villanova area is the Silicon Valley of the east coast!

At 7:00pm, the actual networking portion of the event began. We all went down to the ground floor of the building and entered a room with chic white coaches, chairs, and tables, accompanied by blue and white lights and various Villanova decorations. It was very classy. In fact, it felt like an exclusive VIP soiree.

For the first hour or so, we networked with Villanova alumni who live in the surrounding area. We had really interesting conversations with recent and long-time-ago grads, and quite a few of us received some business cards. We had heard repeatedly from our speakers over the past week that networking is essential to making it in the Valley. Because jobs in the Valley and surrounding area are so competitive and highly sought-after that most people get jobs through personal recommendations. Hence the need for a strong network. For those of us who would like to work in this area of California, this was an opportunity that we could not pass up. The great thing is that the Villanova alumni are the such a supportive group. They truly want to see Villanovans succeed, and having this opportunity to make meaningful connections with them was priceless. The Nova Nation really does extend to the other side of the country.

For the next hour, we heard from the college deans and other selected faculty about the exciting things currently happening at Villanova. We also listened to Father Peter give an inspiring speech about Villanova’s Ignite Change campaign. He really knows how to deliver an emotionally-charged speech. I was ready to sign over my entire saving’s account! He must have been an awesome theater professor back in the day.

There was a little more time for networking after these speeches, and our troop took full advantage of it! More business cards were exchanged, and a couple of our seniors gained some good connections for future job opportunities. It was also just plain cool to see where these grads ended up and how they used their Villanova experiences to get where they are today. Some are in finance, others are working in marketing, and a few are entrepreneurs themselves! If our futures are anything like those of the alumni that we met, then I for one am excited!

I know that this group of Villanova in the Valleyers will be making headlines in the future—–stay tuned!