FutureU Teaches Life Lessons 101

The new program engages students in learning critical skills for post-graduation success.

February 05, 2014

By Brittney Dunkins

After turning the tassel on their graduation caps, many recent graduates are left scrambling as they transition to life after college. The George Washington University will launch FutureU this month, a new program to prepare students for post-graduation life through events focused on teaching essential skills for personal, financial and professional success.

Sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Center for Career Services, FutureU is a collaborative effort targeted toward juniors and seniors and will offer strategies for building a career, managing personal finances and developing personal growth.

“I have always felt that our role in the Division of Student Affairs is to ensure the success of students as they enter into, through and out of GW,” Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller said.

“Colonial Inauguration already does an incredible job guiding our students through the first steps of their college journey, and my hope is that FutureU can do even more to prepare students for all aspects of life after college,” he added.

Programming will kick off with a Healthy Eating Cooking Class led by Living Social on Thursday. Other highlights include the Etiquette Dinner, a three-course lesson in table manners with “etiquette advocate” Nancy Mitchell; Campus to Career  Networking Dinners, where students can connect with alumni; and “Making Cents of It,” a lesson in financial management.

Students will also be able to earn prizes based on their attendance. 

“These events start with the basics and help build the skills that may not have been taught in coursework or internships,” Director of Third & Fourth Year Experience Vernon Williams said. “From the rules of networking to setting a budget, these are critical life skills, and even if you have a basic level of knowledge, this is a great way to brush up.”

The program was developed last summer by a committee co-chaired by Mr. Williams, Associate Director of Student-Alumni Programs Molly Kastendieck and Career Services Senior Industry Consultant Kristen Rompf Hall, following the success of Big Adult Topics, an informal series hosted by Mr. Miller.

Big Adult Topics was created at the request of graduate student-workers in the Center for Student Engagement and tackled an array of practical issues, including managing a 401k and navigating auto repairs.

“The students gave us positive feedback and expressed a desire to have learned this information as undergraduates,” Mr. Williams said. “It set the tone for developing FutureU.”

The 2012 Post-Baccalaureate Survey reported that 94 percent of 2012 graduates were employed, pursuing a graduate degree or engaging in a gap year, military service or other activity. 

Mr. Williams said that FutureU’s three- pronged approach is focused on complementing the professional success that GW graduates find after commencementand maintaining a relationship with young alumni.

“Many of our graduated students will be focused on their careers and futures, but we also want them to stay connected to the university,” he said. “FutureU is a way to begin building that relationship.”

Mr. Williams added that the goal is to continue the programming throughout each academic year and stream line some of the resources offered by different department and schools to create a campus-wide collaboration.

“Some of the programs, such as the etiquette dinner and the career networking dinners, were already in place but we’ve gathered those resources under the FutureU umbrella,” he said.  “As we look forward, the hope is to bring in more university partners that will provide new ways to engage students.”