Informal Networking

Dinner with students and alumni

Our Dinner with Alumni (DWA) and Coffee with Alumni (CWA) programs offer an opportunity for GW  students to build connections with members of the alumni community and learn from their experiences. Alumni play an integral role in these programs by providing guidance to current GW students.

Taking the time to connect with students creates a lasting impact. We encourage conversations about campus and community activities, field(s) of study, current professional role, and career selection and progression Alumni hosts represent a range of industries and interests, and are in various stages of their careers. 

Apply to be a Host 

The Office of Alumni Relations will market the event to students through a variety of channels on campus. Students apply for each event and are selected by our team. Information about the
students will be shared with hosts in advance of the event.

Additional information about each program is available below. If you have any questions, please contact the program coordinator.

For Students

  • Business casual is appropriate attire for this dinner - tidy, professional and appropriate for an office environment.Take the time to look up your dinner location beforehand; paying careful attention to how you will get there and how long it will take.  If necessary, contact your host.
  • You are not permitted to order alcohol, regardless of your age.  According to University policy, any event serving alcohol must be registered through the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education. These events are not registered, and you may not consume alcohol. 

Informational interviews are one way to receive more detailed information about an occupation or career.  Think about the following questions to enhance your dinner experience:

  • What do you want to accomplish during the dinner?
    The primary objectives of an informational interview are to investigate a specific career field, obtain advice on where you might fit into a particular organization, learn the jargon and issues of a particular field, create a strategy for entering that field, broaden your network, and/or build relationships with GW alumni.
  • How do you conduct an Informational Interview?
    Before your meeting, you should research your host’s employer and prepare questions to ask. During the event, share what information you would like to learn, initiate conversation, and gather information about the host’s experiences in a particular career path. Remember, this is not a job interview. Relax and have fun! After, be sure to send a thank you note to your host, and take the time to reflect on the experience.  What did you learn from the host and other students?  
  • What kind of questions should I ask the host?
    Use open-ended questions to engage your host. Here are some examples: 
    • What general skills does a person need to be successful in this field?
    • What kind of background should an individual have in this industry?
    • What kind of training or education do you recommend?
    • What is the outlook for entry-level professionals?
    • What is the field’s future looking like?
    • Can you describe what a day looks like in your job?  

Feel free to ask questions about the host’s experiences as a student at GW, if and where he/she/they volunteer, and other activities he/she/they are involved in.  While dinner is certainly a setting for discussing career interests, make sure to get to know your host as an individual and former GW student.
 

  • We will not tolerate no-shows or last-minute cancellations.
  • If you do not cancel your place at your dinner 48 hours prior to its start, you may be excluded from future opportunities. Hosts are expecting your attendance and will inform us if you do not attend.
  • Extenuating circumstances do arise, and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with decisions left to the discretion of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving staff.  

  • Your host is paying for this coffee/lunch/dinner, and it is expected that you will write a thank-you note.
  • After attending your event, sending a thank you email to your host  is appropriate but please copy [email protected].  Be thoughtful as you write your note, and know that follow-up correspondence is a great way to keep your contacts updated for future opportunities.
  • Additionally you can  drop off your note at with the receptionist at 1922 F Street NW, 3th Floor, within 3-5 business days following your event and it will be sent on your behalf.  

For Alumni

  • Alumni play an integral role in these programs by providing guidance to current GW students. Taking the time to meet with students creates a lasting impact. We encourage conversations about your campus and community activities, field(s) of study, current professional role, and your career selection and progression.

  • This is meant to be an informal networking experience.  This program offers an opportunity for GW students to build connections with members of our alumni community and learn from your experiences. Hosts represent a range of industries and interests, and are in various stages of their careers.

  • Students are asked to research your employer and prepare questions to ask. During the event,  students are expected to share what information they would like to learn, initiate conversation, and gather information about the host’s experiences in a particular career path.  Students are reminded that this is not a job interview.

  • Please note your payment of dinner or coffee will be considered a gift-in-kind to the university once the itemized receipt has been submitted.

  • Events are typically held on weekdays and during the months of October, November, March, and April, within the D.C. metro area.

  • In some cases, events have been held on weekends and during lunchtime.

  • The host is expected to select a location (and make reservations, if necessary). The best locations are metro-accessible and/or near campus (making it easier for students to attend).

  • During official university breaks, events can be held in other cities where there is a high concentration of students.

  • If you need recommendations for local restaurants and coffee shops, please contact the student-alumni program coordinator at [email protected].

  • Students must register through GW HandShake, a career and event focused platform managed by the Center for Career Services.

  • Students are asked to answer three questions as part of the application process.

  • Staff within the Office of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving will review all applications and make selections based on your industry, school, on-campus organizations and/or any specific requests.

  • Information about students will be shared with you prior to your event via email. 

  • Your payment of dinner or coffee will be considered a gift-in-kind to the university.

  • Alcohol is not permitted at events whether or not the students are 21 years of age. Alcohol includes wine, beer, liquor, and mixed drinks.

  • According to University policy, any event serving alcohol must be registered through the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education; these events are not registered.