The 2021 Spring Banquet was a virtual affair with nearly 200 attendees including department friends, alumni (1962-2020), current students, and Wisconsin School of Business faculty and staff. It was an incredible sight to see on the computer screen that I’ve been staring at for the last year! The event began with unmuted microphones and lively greetings from familiar faces and some we have not seen for years.
Participants joined two break-out rooms over the course of the night where the ice was broken, and experiences were shared. I was able to meet with employees and executives who were alumni and supporters from companies like American Family, PwC, and Willis Towers Watson. I was also able to connect with fellow undergraduate and graduate students in the R&I Department and bond over our shared experiences. My break-out rooms explored our commonalities like our love and appreciation for the Wisconsin School of Business, our Badger Pride, and the 3rd quarter tradition of Jump Around, while also divulging our diverse experiences. I enjoyed the engaging conversations I had with others in my break-out rooms and my discussion facilitation co-host faculty member, Jim Swanke.
Between break-out room sessions, we put our technology skills to the test by using Vevox to survey participants about various topics from, “Where are you right now?” to “What skills did you learn while at UW?” to “What do you do now?” These questions revealed the depth and diversity of the crowd because participants were not only from across the nation, but from across the world, tuning in before work and the sun. Some tuned in from Malaysia and Hong Kong and other places far from Madison. Answers from professionals about their current jobs helped students see the plethora of opportunities available to them with the knowledge of risk and insurance by their side. The night was capped off by a final note of appreciation.
Despite a tumultuous year, we persisted and finished the year strong. I am so thankful to everybody who organized and hosted this wonderful event. Without technology like Zoom I don’t think the R&I Department would have been able bring together such a large and diverse group of people. Thank you also to all of those who attended the banquet and to all of the supporters of the Risk and Insurance Program. This was a great night and I look forward to seeing everybody at next year’s banquet!