When I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 and moved back to Pittsburgh without a job, I thought I was leaving everything behind. My friends and classmates I’d met at UD were mostly from the east coast, as well as my professors and potential job contacts. I’d had work experience affiliated with the university and I’d become familiar with the area and the companies. I’d consulted with a staff member at Career Services and I perused the job boards on their website many times, and it seemed that they had the most connections in east coast cities.
When I moved back home, I felt lost. I was working as a waitress, attempting to reconnect with a few high school friends, and struggling to search for a job on my own. I thought I had lost my network.
But by a miraculous stroke of luck or fate, I came across the UD Pittsburgh Alumni Blue Hen City. Just a few months after meeting a few fellow alumni, I felt like I’d found my home again.
A year and a half after I went to that first happy hour, our group now boasts a full six-member board and we have been designated an official Alumni Club. We have hosted ten events and have three more in the works before the end of this year.
The University of Delaware Pittsburgh Alumni Club saw its largest gathering so far on August 30th.
The Blue Hens were playing the Pitt Panthers for the first time ever at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh so we made it our goal to host a tailgate that was THE place to be on game day.
The event was held at the Carnegie Science Center on their Riverside lawn area, right next to the stadium and overlooking a gorgeous view of the city. They provided a fantastic spread of bagels, muffins, sandwiches, salads, and cookies, as well as a chef-attended omelet bar whipping up made-to-order eggs for each guest. The event became a true tailgate, with the bar serving Bloody Mary’s, assorted draft and bottled beer and wine.
UD alumni came from near and far to spend the day with us and show off their UD spirit. As each guest arrived, they entered a drawing for various UD merchandise and they could take home any of the giveaways we had decorating the picnic tables – pom poms, mugs, and football stress balls. They were able to meet one another, spend time with family and make new friends.
The event itself was fantastic, with all the planning coming together perfectly – but the best part of any event, to me, is always the people.
All of the people who attended our event shared one thing in common – we are graduates of the University of Delaware. In that, we have everything. We are a family, a team, a network. We can come together to bond over a funny incident that happened at the Five and Dime, reminisce about the bars and shops on Main Street or marvel at what’s become of North Campus. We will always have that connection.
We were joined at our event by UD President, Patrick Harker, UD athletic director, Eric Ziady, the university mascot, YoUDee, and the cheerleading squad, who all came from Delaware to celebrate with us and to prove that time and distance are no matter when you are a UD alum. We’ll always be able to come together to support our team and to support each other.
Both Harker and Ziady spoke briefly to the group, thanking them for coming to support the football team, encouraging them to continue to support the university in any way they can, and letting them know about our upcoming events in the area.
If I’d had time to speak myself, I would have told our guests that none of this would be possible without them – the alumni. Our goal as an alumni club is to bring people together and foster these connections, but our events wouldn’t happen without them, our connection to UD, and our desire to keep our network strong. I would have thanked them profusely for coming to the tailgate and not only supporting our club but also supporting our football team. I would have said that I have truly enjoyed getting to know everyone personally and I hope to get to know more alumni at each event we host. And finally, I would have encouraged everyone to spread the word to any alumni they know and urge them to try out any upcoming alumni event – they might be surprised at the fun they have and the friends they make.
When I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2012, there was no reason for me to feel lost. I simply had to reach out and my network was right here waiting. I’ve made new friends and fostered relationships and grown more connected to my alma mater than ever, all because of the UD Pittsburgh Alumni Club.
I can only hope that a fellow Blue Hen will read this and it will encourage them to just reach out. UD alumni are all over the world and we will always be proud of our university and the network that we continue to grow. Because we’re Blue Hens forever.