On Thursday April 25, Pat Duguay and I embarked on our west coast swing. With a full schedule of events and meetings with alumni, we knew it would be a busy trip – but we were ready! Actually, I should say Pat was ready and I was hoping I didn’t forget anything. I really wanted everything to go well, especially since the President and V.P. Advancement were travelling with us and attending all of the events we had planned.
We first landed in San Francisco and made our way to Palo Alto. Pulling into the Facebook campus was exciting on its own, but getting to go inside the campus – WOW! I realized we really weren’t in Waterloo anymore. It’s really hard to even describe because it’s not like any other workplace I have been to.
The campus is full of services for staff including cafeterias, coffee shops and lounges, a salon, dry cleaner, and even a bank. They even provide bikes for getting around! Something I thought was quite interesting was the vending machine full of electronics. In the event that your keyboard or other device breaks, you can quickly and easily get a new one without interrupting your work.
Now back to our trip.
For the first of our three events, there was a lot of excitement as alumni arrived. More than 100 alumni from all over the Bay area attended the event to hear Mike Jutan (BMath ’07) share his story about his destiny to attend Waterloo, be a computer science grad, and work for Industrial Light and Magic. The rest of our time in the Bay area was spent meeting with the chapter volunteers from the Bay area chapter and taking in a bit of the scenery before hopping on a plane to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is a big city but similar to the Bay area, houses an excited group of alumni. Our event on May 1st in LA was hosted at the official residence of Consul General David Fransen (BA ’76, MA’77), who was happy to have alumni at his beautiful home. President Feridun Hamdullahpur and Consul General David Fransen both welcomed alumni to the event and introduced alumnus Paul Salvini (BMath ’92) who gave an inspiring talk about the activity and innovation happening in Waterloo. Alumni were almost inspired enough to move back, if only Paul could do something about the weather. Unfortunately none of us have that kind of power so we packed up, disappointed to be leaving the sunny 30 degree weather, to prepare for our flight to Calgary in the morning.
We arrived in Calgary on May 2nd just in time to meet our Calgary chapter volunteers for dinner to thank them for their commitment to the university and hear about their plans for events this summer. Our west coast trip ended with an event on May 3rd featuring Professor Maurice Dusseault from the Department of Earth & Environmental Science who spoke about "Upheaval in Canada's energy world: Why shale gas, shale oil, and environmental issues are changing Canada's energy future". We hosted 70 alumni at this event who were extremely engaged by the topic and had lots of questions for Professor Dusseault after his presentation.
While this was one of our larger trips, Alumni Affairs does travel worldwide to visit alumni and provide engagement events such as these. If you have moved recently or haven’t received our communications, be sure to update your address and communication preferences to ensure you get an invite the next time we are in your area. It could be anywhere!
Hope to see you at the next event,