Dan Surber is a problem solver.
But the Virginia Tech alumnus, who graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering, saw a problem he alone couldn’t fix: he thought more young alumni should be engaged with the university.
So when Eileen Van Aken, interim department head of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, approached Surber and other young alumni with an idea to start a young alumni communication network for the department, Surber enthusiastically agreed to help.
Video cut by my media production intern. Interview conducted by me.
It didn’t take long for the department’s most recent graduates, starting from the class of 2010 to 2017, to organize into the VT ISE Class Coordination Initiative. Surber helped coordinate efforts with class representatives to launch a system of Google Groups, which allow users to communicate en masse via forums and email groups.
As people eagerly signed up for the class coordination effort, Surber said they realized that, with their numbers, they had something powerful.
“Then it started molding into, ‘OK, what else can we do?’” Surber said. “We now have this giant pool of alumni that are really passionate about giving back to our ISE department, so what else can we do?”