CLAS hosts first Virtual Majors Fair


In previous years, fair attendees wandered from booth to booth; this year, they signed up in advance for a series of meetings in their areas of interest. (Courtesy/ CLAS Academic Advising Center)

Autumn Pitchure, Staff Reporter

Though college alumni often move considerable distances away from their alma mater, it’s not unusual for them to want to keep a connection to where they learned their craft or discipline. Online events have made it easier to connect with their fellow alumni than ever before, no matter how far the distance their vocation has taken them. This year, 50 alumni assisted undergraduates by sharing their experiences at Grand Valley State University’s Virtual Majors Fair. More alumni than usual were able to help with directing students on the right path to a successful future in a major they love and enjoy.

“Students were able to meet with faculty and alumni who have experience and knowledge with the particular major they are interested in,” said Jason Prowant, Advisor at the CLAS Academic Advising Center. “It’s the perfect opportunity for students to explore major choices and options.”

The Virtual Majors Fair was held online Thursday Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. About 105 students attended the fair to see an average of three and a half prospected majors they were interested in.

“It was nice to meet a new advisor in the CLAS Advising Center and have her there while we shared information about our major to visiting students,” said Valerie Peterson, Professor of Communication Studies.

Students registered online, where they had the flexibility of choosing who they wanted to meet with and at what time. On the day of the fair, students that registered received a link that led them to a Zoom call. They were still able to get that individual face to face interaction, even though they were online.

“It gives students a place, even though it’s virtual, to explore as many majors as they can fit into three hours,” Prowant said. “It really gives them an opportunity to look at a bunch of different options at one time period.”

During the Zoom meetings, faculty and alumni were able to expand on a major’s information and background.

“My favorite part of the event was getting to talk live with prospective students,” said Peterson.

Oftentimes students don’t know what interests them for a long-term career, or they try a major thinking it’s for them, but then find their passions shift in a different direction. Faculty and alumni at GVSU are ready to help give students encouragement and a clear direction for finding a major that best suits their interests and abilities.

“Major decision making is important in terms of what students want to pursue,” Prowant said. “Students can get any questions they have answered in order to make informed decisions.”

With the fair being online, students weren’t able to walk around and shake hands like they normally would have been able to. While it was a major change, the faculty said it wasn’t a hindrance.

“Being online seemed to work just fine, we didn’t run into any big issues,” said Peterson.

The fair was successful in allowing students to network, build communication skills and guiding many to select a major or new major for their future brilliant career.

“We just want to give students the opportunity to explore different majors and talk with faculty,” Prowant said. “These interactions are vital to success.”