By Alyssa Sanford
In lieu of a general body meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 25, Student Government hosted an Alumni Panel event in Roscoe West Hall.
The panel addressed how their individual experiences in Student Government have shaped their career goals and also offered advice to SG members regarding networking, teamwork and applying skills from involvement in student governance.
“It’s an honor to be reinstating a Student Government Alumni Panel event,” Vice President of Advancement Sarah Drozd said. “We’re hoping that this promotes learning for our students and communication with our alumni.”
Drozd informed the panel — comprised of Sarah Ross, Class of 2009, and Kevin Drennan, Class of 2002 — of the Student Government scholarship fund to which almost all members have donated. The goal is to raise $25,000 to reach endowment level. Members have donated a total of $21,129 to date.
“I’m looking forward to the day when I can announce that we’ve reached our scholarship goal, which hopefully won’t be too far away,” Drozd said.
Heather Fehn, Class of 1994 and current chief of staff to President Barbara R. Gitenstein, as well as secretary to the Board of Trustees, served as the moderator for the panel.
Fehn was president of Student Government from 1993 to 1994.
“It was a wonderful experience for me,” she said.
Fehn also said that she never could have imagined working at the College after graduation, but she is honored to have worked here 25 years after entering as a freshman.
“I’m thrilled, and I smile every time I cross the gates on campus each morning,” Fehn said before opening the floor to the panelists.
Ross currently works at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in Trenton in the Criminal Justice division. She served as her class council president and a student representative for the Political Science Department. During the meeting, Ross talked about how her involvement in Student Government has shaped her leadership style.
“I think one of the things I learned the most, especially with the class council and the amount of programming that we had to do, was learning how to work together,” Ross said.
Drennan, an alumnus of the College who left after his sophomore year to pursue a career in politics, is currently the Executive Director of the New Jersey Senate Majority Office. He agreed that Student Government taught him that “as a leader, you can’t do anything alone.”
Fehn posed a series of questions to the panel, asking Ross and Drennan to share advice for finalizing career plans.
Ross told general body members to “put yourself out of your comfort zone” when looking for job opportunities and to try everything, “even if you love it or hate it.”
“Go ahead and (go to grad school). Why not?” Ross said.
But Drennan had conflicting advice and advised students,“Don’t go directly to grad school.”
Whereas Ross talked about her rewarding experiences at Rutgers-Camden School of Law immediately after graduating from the College, Drennan explained that many students fresh out of their undergraduate schools haven’t figured out how to navigate the corporate world.
“Bottom line is, there’s not one right answer,” Fehn said in conclusion. “You have to do what’s right for you.”