July 24, 2020
Dear SPS Alumni,
I hope this finds you well. Has there ever been so much meaning behind that simple phrase? In a time when social distancing has become the watchword, I welcome this chance to reach out to our alumni around the globe, bridging distance with a few words about how the SPS community is coming together and preparing for reconvening in the fall.
Academic Year 2020-2021 will be a year like no other. It will require adaptability, patience, self-discipline, mutual responsibility, and some very different ways of doing things that have been habits for years, even decades. We are carefully and thoughtfully preparing for the fall semester in order to provide the stellar education for which SPS is known, in a safe and supportive environment.
Our plan for the fall is to reconvene in person in New York and at our campuses and sites around the globe. Travel restrictions, mandated self-quarantines, slowdowns in visa processing have created many challenges for a university as global and mobile as ours. We recognize that some students will have difficulty getting to New York City this fall. In response, a very large array of courses will be available to attend remotely. In addition, we are also offering eligible students a unique "Go Local" option to take in-person classes at one of our sixteen global locations.
And yet even across our physical separation, we see more clearly the values that join us. Through scholarship, community service, public health guidance, operational changes, and more, SPS faculty, staff, students, and alumni continue to leverage the School’s global network and resources to provide extensive programming during this crisis. Following our transition to remote working, we have conducted over 200 virtual events that span industry panels, career development, professional networking, student engagement, alumni gatherings and social mixers. Events such as our Virtual CEOs Check-In, hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality, featuring a star-studded lineup of hospitality industry executives was attended by over 3000 attendees. The Schack Institute of Real Estate hosted the inaugural National Dialogue on the Black Experience in the Real Estate Industry that addressed issues of race and inclusion that was attended by over 1,200 colleagues in industry, academia, and policymaking. These are just a few examples of the many events taking place across all divisions at the School that are attended by alumni, students and industry colleagues around the world.
While in-person events and programming are important ways to keep our alumni network strong and active, we feel it prudent to exercise an abundance of caution at this time. In the absence of in-person alumni gatherings as mandated by the University, the SPS Office of Alumni Relations will continue to offer a myriad of options to stay connected digitally this fall. Virtual events such as social mixers, group classes, book clubs and new alumni welcome events have taken place with participants from around the world. Over 100 alumni webinars including new digital series such as the ‘Five Questions With’, ‘Alumni Conversations, ‘Alumni College’ and topical presentations led by SPS alumni have seen attendance in excess of 500 guests. SPS Alumni social media channels across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn continue to share regular updates on news and upcoming events.
However, the most exciting digital venture this year has been the launch of the Violet Network - our new global platform for alumni, faculty, and students to connect, network, and mentor. Over 8000 alumni have already joined the platform that has exciting features that will allow you to search for connections based on industry, expertise, location, organization, degree, graduation year across the university and find support based on industry, affinity, identity or region. You can also sign up for over 100 upcoming virtual events, browse our on-demand library of over 200 webinars and peruse campus news and alumni updates. Since its launch, alumni on the Violet Network have shown extraordinary support to fellow alumni and students by providing mentorship and career advice in these uncertain times. I strongly encourage you to join this platform and connect, network and mentor with alumni, students and faculty across the university.
Our alumni are the embodiment of SPS values and we are grateful to all of you who are doing what you can to support COVID-19 efforts, and our student and alumni community during these unprecedented times. Wishing you good health and high spirits.
Susan Greenbaum, Ed.D.