UR alumni stay connected by hosting virtual meetups

May 5, 2020

Spider Pride

While classes and meetings are happening over Zoom, many alums also are joining in to stay connected and learn from each other during the pandemic. The alumni office is collaborating with Spider constituents who are business owners or are experts in their field to provide fun and educational  experiences for their peers in a virtual world.

­From cooking lessons to fitness classes, alumni are able to register for the free live events, which are then accessible on YouTube for broader audiences. Weekly Thursday concerts from Spider musicians are performed via Facebook Live.

Rob Zorch, ’07, who launched a pizza truck in 2018, hosted the first demo with help from his wife and business partner, Kim Huson, ’08. He took participants through the ins and outs of how to make a perfect Zorch Pizza at home. 

“I’ve gotten messages on Instagram asking where to find the recipe notes, and people have been making it ever since,” Zorch said. “It was special a lot of Spiders tuned in because almost all of the Zorch Pizza employees are Spiders — Corey Nolen, ’10, Jordan Cox, ’07, and Bryan Defino, ’07.”

Will Willis, ’96, led a cocktail-making event from Bully Boy Distillers, Boston’s first craft distillery, which he co-founded. For Spiders looking to stay fit during quarantine, Erin Dunstan, ’17, hosted the first HIIT fitness class. Certified yoga instructor Caroline Jones, ’18, led a class as well. And scientist Tara Nylese, ’95, hosted a session discussing the science-based benefits of meditation.

After the 2020 NFL draft, former NFL linebacker, Shawn Barber, ’98, hosted a recap, which was co-sponsored by the Spider Club.

Looking ahead, Robins School of Business Dean Mickey Quiñones will host a Vineyard Vines panel discussion on May 11 with founder Shep Murray, the parent of a 2023 student.

“The response to virtual opportunities has been incredibly positive, and it’s heartwarming to see Spiders come together under such unique circumstances,” said Mary Alice Wallmeyer, the associate director of alumni events. “The talent and generosity of alumni continue to blow our team away.”

Future events include additional alumni concerts, movie club discussions, a barre class, more HIIT classes, career-focused webinars, cooking demonstrations, and well-being opportunities. Visit the Stay Connected site to learn more about hosting or participating in this series. 

See more current information on COVID-19 and the University’s response.

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