Kalamazoo College Guilds—Professional Networks
"It never ceases to amaze me how effective anyone can be by tapping their networks, and the Guilds are probably the best entry-point professional network a student can use."
—Douglas Steel '80, Chief Scientific Officer at PhotoKinetics Inc.
"I am finding LinkedIn to be a useful way to find/make connections!"
—Christa Clapp '97, Associate Director at Point Carbon Thomson Reuters
Unique to Kalamazoo College and housed in the Center for Career and Professional Development, the Guilds convene students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the College around common professional interests on the professional networking platform called LinkedIn. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn allows members a free online profile with a unique URL to showcase their professional biography and connect with others.
In a contemporary take on a medieval tradition, the Guilds foster mentoring relationships in which professional "masters" share their experience, knowledge, and connections with student "apprentices." Alumni and others offer online and in-person mentoring, job-search or grad school application tips, externship and internship opportunities in their organizations, and connections to professional networks and entry-level positions. LinkedIn, boasting a membership of over 175 million, offers a platform to search for people with specific interests or experience, ask questions, start discussions, advertise upcoming events and workshops, and collaborate on projects with those both on campus and across the world.
As of January 2013, seven Kalamazoo College Guilds were set up as subgroups within a main Guilds group on LinkedIn: Arts & Media, Business, Health, Education, Law, Nonprofit & Public Service, and Science & Technology. In October 2015, LinkedIn eliminated subgroups and changed group access, with implications that are still being considered by the CCPD. For now, we recommend joining the main Guilds group only, by following the instructions below.
The Guilds galvanize participation around interdisciplinary fields and issues that encourage participants to identify and follow their "passions to professions.” Guilds foster inter-generational connections through face-to-face interaction as well as virtual communication.
For students, Guilds connect elements of their K-Plan (a highly individualized undergraduate curriculum of rigorous liberal arts scholarship and opportunities for experiential education in both domestic and international settings) into a more integrated educational experience and develop professional relationships useful after graduation. These inter-generational networks benefit alumni professionals as well, and involvement in the Guilds offers a meaningful lifelong connection to the College and a way to contribute time and talent at a level of their choosing, from answering a question posted on the Guilds' discussion forum to hosting an intern for the summer in their organization.
Faculty and staff find opportunities in the Guilds to integrate classroom and community experiences within a curriculum that values learning through study, action, and reflection. As alumni and community members bring their real-world professional wisdom to campus—to classes, meetings, extracurricular presentations, and online webinars—the Guilds are a bridge between campus and "Life after K."
To join the Guilds on LinkedIn, first create a LinkedIn profile, then send your email address and your LinkedIn profile URL to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “Guild membership” in the subject line. An invitation will be extended to you through LinkedIn within a week.