“Our clubs program is huge with lots of boys very engaged, especially in things they’re passionate about,” says Thomas Babits, director of community service, clubs and CAS. "Social connections are so important to their sense of community. Because of the physical distancing necessitated by COVID-19, it became even important to provide that opportunity.”
Babits and his clubs advisory committee, a student group, met March 23 to begin putting a plan in place to facilitate a club revival online. To date, 53 clubs have met virtually. One of these is the marketing club, a five-year-old group led this year by Year 11 students Krishna Bambawale and Tyler Bradlow, along with staff advisers. The club held its first online meeting April 14 using Google Meets, the same platform students are using for online classes.
“Our meetings either feature speakers or workshops, so they aren’t too hard to do online,” says Bradlow.
Like many of their speaker sessions, the virtual meeting on April 14 featured an alum whose job involves marketing and entrepreneurship. Dennis Garces ‘87 has had a long career in the field and now runs his own marketing company, Liquid Story.
“Mr. Garces talked about his career path and offered lots of life advice about university and career decisions,” says Bambawale. “He also offered to mentor the guys working on their own entrepreneurial projects – they can call him any time.”
Adds Bradlow, “The meeting got everyone excited to get back into club mode, and we expect our turnout to grow.”
Savoula Stylianou, manager of digital communications and one of the club’s advisers, says, “The spirit of entrepreneurship is really what unites the club, and our alumni always like coming back to UCC. We’ve received positive feedback from them; it’s nice to be an esteemed guest speaker in an intimate setting where they can discuss their experiences.”
The marketing club has previously hosted alumni Martin Russocki ‘91, a board game inventor who ran a games session with the students, among other alumni.
“From day one, the boys in the marketing club saw the value of connecting with alumni and learning first-hand from those experts and leaders in the field,” says Vice-Principal of Advancement and club adviser Brendan Dellandrea. “These talks offer students a chance to glean practical insights and to study the paths walked by fellow UCCers. Now more than ever, with everyone grappling with disruptions to business, it's a testament to the strength of a common bond that our alumni still jump at the chance to generously share their time and experience, to educate and inspire their fellow future alumni.”