By Genevieve O’Connor
Online and Layout Editor
Crowds of people are chanting the “BAH bah bahhs” of “Sweet Caroline.” An ice cream bus is parked outside a bustling white tent, and dozens of students are already donning their new baseball t-shirts. The air smells of Chik-fil-a and opportunity. All signs point to a party… or the tenth annual CareerFEST.
On August 28th, 2019, over 480 students and faculty visited the Career Development Center’s (CDC) baseball-themed kickoff event for the chance to meet local employers and the 2019 CDC staff. Although the event has many practical advantages, the free food, free t-shirts, games, raffle prizes and live music made it seem more like a massive celebration than a networking opportunity. Jennifer Abraham, a third-year Career Ambassador who was a key contributor to the event, explained, “We were able to show our DSU community how the CDC is both professional yet fun.”
Kristin Eicholtz, the executive director of Career Development, also commented on the joyous atmosphere of CareerFEST. “My favorite moment was when I saw the line build of students getting ready to come into the tent,” Eicholtz said. “Just seeing that line of excited students–happy students–wanting to participate is what made my day.”
Seventeen different companies and employers had tables at CareerFEST 2019. “We didn’t even have to promote the event to employers,” remarked Eicholtz, “Melanie [Assistant Director of Employer and Alumni Relations] had put it out on Bulldogs4HIRE and employers started contacting us. Over the ten years, word has gotten out on the uniqueness of this event.”
Among the most popular employers this year were Chik-fil-a (college students cannot resist a free chicken sandwich), ArtsQuest, Copperhead Grille and—making their CareerFEST debut–the Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Abraham noted that “Speaking to some of the employers who were also DSU alum, it was wonderful to hear how events like CareerFEST have allowed these alumni to network with professionals and connect with their current companies.” Because CareerFEST has now been celebrated for ten years, DeSales alumni can offer opportunities to current students at the very event that got them started on their own career journey.
Beyond meeting off-campus employers, students were also able to make connections with members of the CDC. “Students gain familiarity with the office and our staff members,” said Eicholtz. “They get to know who we are and see our faces around campus, not just in the office. They know they can approach us.”
As students walked from table to table accumulating business cards and merchandise, the constant chorus of greetings between the Career Development staff and the students revealed the true spirit of CareerFEST.
“The overall purpose is to really welcome students to campus,” noted Eicholtz, “so they know that we have a presence on campus as the Career Center and that we are much more than just ‘The Resume Place.’”
Abraham, sporting her own staff baseball tee, summed up the event nicely. “Our team at the CDC really knocked CareerFEST out of the park!”