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My Symposium Journey as 2020 Project Manager

Updated: Jul 1

Written by Lexi Tammi- 2019 Programming Subcommittee Member, 2020 Project Manager, and 2021 Advisor

When I attended my first Symposium in 2018, the Universe said, “hey, this is going to be a big part of your undergraduate career.” For me, Symposium has been a way to find community, plan events, and secure both an internship and a full-time job with P&G, one of our long-time Platinum sponsors. Serving on the 2019 Symposium Core Committee under the Programming Subcommittee helped me meet some fascinating faculty and staff members as we orchestrated Friday morning’s networking and educational sessions. The 2020 virtual Symposium brought lots of changes, but I was grateful to serve as the Project Manager and improve my skills at adapting to challenges.

I never thought that my time as the Project Manager would be spent in Zoom meetings rather than in the classroom, nor that the event I managed would be fully virtual rather than in the Kenan-Flagler buildings and Dean E Smith Center. However, with the strength of our team and the support of our advisors, we pulled off a great event. After planning and attending both the in-person and virtual opportunities, here’s why I think the virtual event is just as effective.

1. The virtual event offers flexibility

Students, company representatives, and facilitators can attend a virtual Symposium from anywhere that has an Internet connection - whether in their homes, offices, or on a beach somewhere. Plus, it’s easy to transition between parts of the event, take a quick water or bathroom break, and have small-group conversations.

2. Breakout rooms make one-on-one conversations simpler

One inherent downside of being in-person with a large group is background noise and space constraints, which can make private conversations difficult. However, using the breakout room function within our virtual platform, our moderators can easily move company representatives and students around for personal chats. This means exchanging contact information, asking questions, and more are quick and painless. With “Connect” as one of our keywords, we hope that you get the chance to make many personal connections, and breakout rooms help us maintain that promise.

3. The Symposium Core Committee (SCC) works just as hard to plan the virtual event

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the SCC works hard to plan for every contingency that may arise in a virtual setting. You would be amazed to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into coordinating an event of this magnitude, and that didn’t change when we transitioned the event to virtual. The students and staff advisors put in countless hours to ensure that Symposium delights all that attend.

Although we wish that we could gather all 600 attendees for the 2021 Symposium, rest assured that the event will be the best that it can be. Using student and employer feedback from last year as well as our own reflection, we hope to continue the trend of each Symposium being better than the last. As for me, this will be my first Symposium as a recruiter rather than a student. Take it from me — you won’t want to miss it!

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