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What happened to the Kalamazoo College Guilds?

When Kalamazoo College launched the Guilds in 2008, they were an innovative way to build networks of students and alumni professionals. Bringing people together around shared career interests through a communities-of-practice model, the Guilds used the functionality of Moodle and then LinkedIn to facilitate virtual and face-to-face discussions and connections. In a contemporary take on a medieval tradition, the Guilds were a way to develop mentoring relationships in which professional “masters” shared their experience, knowledge, and connections with student “apprentices.”

The Guilds fostered hundreds, maybe thousands, of career connections. The Guilds LinkedIn group offered an exclusive platform for members of the extended K community 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.

The Guilds served their purpose well during a time when internet search technology was just developing.

By 2016, eight years after the launch of the Guilds, advances in search technology and updates to LinkedIn’s features allowed students to simply use Google or the LinkedIn alumni tool to instantly identify alumni professionals of interest, using keywords and filters to narrow search results. In effect, what used to be an exclusive benefit of joining the Guilds group became available to all. Additionally, the College’s enhanced online alumni directory now serves as another tool for connecting members of the extended K community.

The main Guilds LinkedIn group has been renamed the Kalamazoo College Professional Networking Group (KPNG) and is still a good way to find K alumni who have specifically indicated their interest in connecting with K students by joining.  The seven individual Guilds (Arts & Media, Business, Health, Education, Law, Nonprofit & Public Service, and Science & Technology) have been discontinued.

KPNG membership is open to students, alumni, faculty and staff, and others with a direct connection to Kalamazoo College. To join this private group on LinkedIn, first create a LinkedIn profile, then send your email address and your LinkedIn profile URL to career@kzoo.edu with the words “KPNG membership” in the subject line. An invitation will be extended to you through LinkedIn within a week.