Whether you’re a CSUDH alum who wants to share your knowledge and advice with an up-and-coming protégé, or a Toro student looking for a mentor in your field, the new Toro Connect platform promises to make establishing those relationships easier than ever.
“As mentors, Toro alumni can continue to make an impact in the life of a student by providing guidance and helpful tips as students embark on their professional journey,” adds Felicia Hernandez, director of CSUDH Alumni Relations. “Toro Connect provides a unique opportunity for students to connect with alumni one on one to gain insight on points of interests, majors, and industries.”
Created in conjunction with the CSUDH Career Center and Educational Partnerships, the Toro Connect platform is a free networking tool that enables current CSUDH students to make connections with Toro alumni throughout the country and worldwide. The platform can be accessed by computer or smartphone, and once connected, students and alums can exchange messages on the platform at any time.
“Toro Connect has been a long time coming,” said Gilbert Hernandez, senior coordinator in the Office of Alumni Relations. “For years, we’ve realized the value of connecting students to successful alumni through our face-to-face programs. The idea for a mentoring platform was always in our back pocket, and the disruption of the pandemic gave us the green light to make Toro Connect a reality.”
Alumni who are interested in volunteering their time and talents for either short-term or long-term mentoring are strongly encouraged to sign up. A wide range of mentoring resources are also available on the platform, so you don’t have to be an expert in mentoring upon sign up, says Gilbert. While alumni-to-student mentoring is the primary focus, peer-to-peer or alumni-to-alumni mentoring is also achievable on this platform. The program has been well-received upon its launch, with over 200 alumni signing up. Almost 80 alumni-student connections have been made in the first four months of the project.
For students who sign up and use the platform to connect with an alumni mentor, Gilbert advises them to be thorough and thoughtful when creating their profiles. Based on the information they enter, students can be matched to alumni through matching degrees, industries, hobbies, or extracurricular interests. “The more details about themselves that they apply to their profile, the better the connections they will make over time,” he says. “I really encourage students to try out the 60-second intro video feature!”
Mentorships and similar alumni-student relationships have been shown time and again to improve students’ success, retention, and career prospects. “Alumni are seen as trailblazers who pave the path for students to be successful,” says Felicia. “Alumni who join the platform have the ability to empower students’ career exploration and increase access to opportunities that may have not been presented or even thought of before.”
For more information, or to sign up for Toro Connect, visit https://www.csudh.edu/alumni/toro-connect/.