Share the Light Initiative Wins CASE Platinum Award

July 15, 2021

By Rob Humphreys ’16MBA

In the darkest hours of the pandemic, when graduating seniors faced unprecedented challenges entering a decimated workforce, we asked everyone in the Rollins community—from faculty and staff to parents, friends, and alumni—to share their light.

Hundreds did, and the result exceeded expectations.

Rollins’ Share the Light Class of 2020 Jobs Challenge—a joint effort between the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Center for Career & Life Planning, and the Office of Marketing—has won the 2021 CASE Platinum Award for Best Practices in Alumni Relations, beating out a dozen finalists from around the world.

CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, is a global nonprofit that champions education to transform lives and society. Its Platinum Awards are among the most coveted in higher education. The Share the Light campaign also won gold in the Alumni Relations Pivot category in the CASE 2021 District III Awards.

“This recognition highlights the power of the Rollins network to impact lives in deeply meaningful ways,” says President Grant Cornwell. “Our Share the Light campaign continues to shine as a model for how a college community can come together to prepare students and recent graduates for meaningful lives and productive careers.”

Student meets with her alumni mentor on Rollins campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

A Brilliant Response

In early March 2020, Rollins’ senior class was poised to enter one of the strongest job markets in history. With the advent of COVID-19, everything changed.

The jobs students had interviews lined up for disappeared. Zip Recruiter postings for entry-level jobs typically filled by college graduates fell by 73 percent. Research from past downturns predicted it could take graduates more than a decade to recover economically.

In response, Rollins embarked on a bold new initiative to help graduates secure professional opportunities. The Share the Light Class of 2020 Jobs Challenge launched in June, calling on the Rollins community to share any openings, including full- and part-time jobs or internships, that could provide recent graduates with meaningful employment in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

New Jersey law firm owner Barry Janay ’00 and communication major Hannah White ’20 were the first official match through the Class of 2020 Jobs Challenge. When White’s soon-to-be job with a sports TV network fell through, she became the law firm’s marketing specialist and client relations manager.

“There were no jobs out there,” says White, looking back. “I’m so grateful that the Center for Career & Life Planning connected me with Barry.”

Similar success stories followed. To date, more than 500 members of the Rollins community have generated nearly 700 unique, tangible opportunities that span jobs and internships, mentoring, and sharing personal expertise.

Assessing the entire program, the CASE judges called it “an innovative idea to help their students find jobs amid a terrible jobs market, creating a strong link to the mission of the college.”

“They identified how they could really be of service to their alumni,” the judges continued. “They pulled together a number of different constituencies, creating a very timely and effective response to the crisis. They did a lot of good with nothing in terms of budget and demonstrated significant results.”

Share Your Light

We’ve come a long way together since launching Share the Light just over a year ago. Will you help us build on that momentum? Learn more about how you can support Rollins students through mentorship, expertise, and professional opportunity.

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