Harding’s alumni and parent relations office created a networking platform, Harding Network, in spring 2020 to help connect people within the Harding community from all over the world.
Undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni and parents can use this platform to connect with Harding members, whether they are looking for a job in a specific area, seeking a mentor or mentee, or needing a place to live during an internship or new job.
“It is kind of like LinkedIn but just for Harding,” director of alumni and parent relations Heather Kemper said.
Kemper said that prior to social media, many colleges would print books for alumni to have as directories to stay in contact. She said they have had an alumni Facebook page for a while that currently has around 8,000 members. However, Harding Network takes it to another level, Kemper said, by offering a directory feature in which people can search by using different filters such as major, social club, graduation year, area of residence and more to network with people from the Harding community.
“Essentially, it gives a lot more information, and … on social media you’d have to individually follow all those people to get that information,” Kemper said. “This just has it right at your fingertips [and] allows you to connect [and] network.”
Kemper also said the platform works well for allowing current students or recent graduates who wish to relocate to another city to find other Harding members to get connected with or help get connected to a job or internship.
Harding Network is also available through an app that can be downloaded on mobile devices.
“We used a product that is marketed through a program called Graduway that developed the Harding Network website and app,” events and project director Shelbi Bridges said. “You first download the app called Graduway and log in with your Harding account, then the icon turns into a Harding logo and you can access Harding Network, post pictures and see events.”
Harding Network already has helped alumni make connections, find opportunities and further their professional careers. Alumna Rachel Coursey said she first heard about the platform through an Instagram post and has since been able to make many connections.
“The website has a mentoring section for anyone who needs help reviewing a resume or just [wants to] go out for coffee,” Coursey said. “The site makes it possible to connect with Harding alumni from anywhere. It really has been so helpful for me.”
Kemper said that although they launched the platform in 2020 toward the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is looking forward to promoting Harding Network when alumni are able to visit for on-campus events again. Kemper also said she encourages current students to sign up to begin networking.
“We’re excited about the possibility of connecting the Harding family this way and letting the Harding family work together to … really help each other and lean on each other and utilize the network that we have already created,” Kemper said.
Any member of the Harding community can register for Harding Network by either downloading the app Graduway or visiting alumni.harding.edu.