‘Backpacks to Briefcases’ program fosters job connections


backpacks to briefcase student evolving into professional

Nov. 8, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Ask any corporate headhunter for job-search pointers and networking skills will be at or near the top of the list. In fact, according to John Rindy, Slippery Rock University director of career education and development, nearly 80 percent of jobs are filled as a result of some sort of prior networking.

SRU's Nov. 9 "Backpacks to Briefcases" networking event will connect 50 seniors with 30 successful alumni to explore career options and learn how to refine their networking skills. Participating alumni represent a variety of entities, including: PNC Bank; Rue21; BNY Mellon/The Investment Companies for the World; Sisterson & Co., LLP; Howard Hanna; MedExpress; and many more.

SRU's Green & White Society, Alumni Engagement and Office of Career Education and Development sponsor the program, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Russell Wright Alumni House.

john rindy


"Nearly every undergraduate on campus has heard me say it, 'You are either networking or you are not working,'" said John Rindy, director of career education and development. "You absolutely have to know people with hiring influence before you graduate from college.

"A degree from a great school like SRU, plus a strong network, is winning combination, but students need to have both of these and 'Backpacks to Briefcases' is a great place to build and begin to solidify a network."

Rindy said the event will help students to:

  • Gain confidence in interactions with professionals;
  • Communicate their strengths and interests;
  • Recognize conversational appropriateness;
  • Improve use of eye contact and other visual cues;
  • Apply proper etiquette for appearance, tact and use of social media; and
  • Learn follow-up networking strategies

"Backpacks to Briefcases" will begin with a presentation by John Snyder, associate director of career education and development. From there, students will be transported by bus to Grazie Restaurant and Event Center in Wexford for an evening with SRU alumni mentors.

"Networking is a critical part of any professional occupation," Snyder said. "This event provides students with the opportunity to develop networking skills by meeting with University alumni who are in a variety of career fields. Even though technology allows us to easily communicate with others through texting and social media platforms, these methods do not replace meeting people face-to-face. We hope this event will reinforce the importance of in-person communication."

For additional information, contact: Kelly Bailey, director of alumni engagement, 724.738,4223 or Kelly.bailey@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu