It’s one thing to engage Alumni in university events once they’re no longer on campus, but it’s something else to get current students thinking about their future connections to the university while they’re still in class. That’s where Ben Seewald comes in. He’s an Alumni officer with a dedicated focus: current students. “My job is to educate and excite the student population about the impact of their alumni connection to the university,” he explains.
It’s a job that sees him engaging with undergraduates on a regular basis. From working with an annual team of around 25 students from the Queen’s Student Alumni Association, to putting on programming designed to help undergrads connect with their future as Alumni, Seewald is always focused on getting students to think about the future.
“A lot of students hear the world alumni and think it’s something they can wait to do when they graduate,” he explains. Instead, he wants students to cherish the benefits the Queen’s network can provide, before they leave campus. Whether he’s bringing in distinguished Alumni as guest speakers (recent guests have included NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, the Globe and Mail’s editor, John Stackhouse, and social activist Amma Bonsu) or arranging workshops for undergrads in everything from resume writing, networking and wine tasting, Seewald is passionate about fueling the next generation of Queen’s Alumni.
Though he’s not a Queen’s graduate himself, Seewald’s passionate about Alumni relations. “My brother went to Queen’s -- he was an engineer,” he explains. While a student at Wilfrid Laurier University, Seewald was engaged in their student alumni association, an experience that drove home the value of staying connected to one’s Alma mater. When he graduated with a degree in communications and English, Seewald found a job planning special events with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada (Seewald is a brain tumour survivor himself).
But when he saw a job posting at Queen’s, he knew where he wanted to be. He landed his current position in the summer of 2007, and has been keeping busy on campus ever since.
“I think that Queen’s is a remarkable place because of the sense of spirit and community,” he says. “There are so many interesting conversations, lectures.. and brilliant minds. Having access to all that incredible thinking, research and innovation is extraordinary!”
From working with colleagues he describes as “extreme professionals” to the “exceptional student leaders” he has the pleasure of working with on a regular basis, Seewald says he’s found a “phenomenal” job that suits he outgoing personality. “I get really charged up when I’m dealing with people and helping to solve big-picture issues,” he enthusiastically. “Queen’s is a terrific place for me to do that work.”