Russ Clousing II ’87 was clear from the start: If he was going to be on the Calvin alumni association board, he wanted to make a tangible difference.
“When I was asked to be on the board, I wanted to be sure that I brought something solid to the table,” said Clousing. “Chicago, business, Calvin alumni, students—all of those pieces fit together for me.”
Even before Clousing officially began his board term last year, he began laying the groundwork for the first Calvin career fair in Chicago. With the assistance of the professionals in the college’s career development office and alumni office staff, the event was a resounding success, with 14 businesses and 115 students interacting at the stately University Club on Michigan Avenue.
Two busloads of Calvin students left Grand Rapids early on Oct. 24 and arrived mid-morning in front of the University Club. A two-hour career interview and interaction time followed, with the room buzzing with conversation and activity.
“I found the entire event energizing and uplifting, a result of the quality of the students,” said Bastian Knoppers ’71, another alumni interviewer. “They were well prepared, enthusiastic, remarkably professional and yet personal.”
The students from campus were joined by a number of students already in the city participating in the Semester in Chicago program and by a few young alumni living nearby.
After the main networking time, all were invited to the ninth floor of the club, where lunch awaited in the beautiful Cathedral Room overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.
Students had the afternoon free to explore the city—and it turned out to be a glorious 80-degree late October day. Dinner was a pizza social with local alumni for more dialogue about life after college, and the buses were loaded for the trip back to Calvin.
“The career fair went remarkably smoothly for the first time around,” said Jori Brink ’04, an interviewer representing Ingalls Hospital. “The students’ enthusiasm and excitement was obvious from the minute they hopped off the buses. I was encouraged to see the next generation positively connect with the Chicago marketplace, knowing that they, too, might soon claim ‘this square inch.’”
Clousing summed up the day by saying, “I think we had a win, and we have a foundation to build upon. It was so good to see the next generation of Christian business leadership in Chicago.”