Blogging opportunity reconnects alumni with Cabrini

By Michelle Costa
October 15, 2009

The proposal for the alumni blog was introduced at the Loquitur 50th anniversary celebration, Saturday, Sept. 26, by Dr. Jerry Zurek, Loquitur adviser and chair of the communication department.

“There are so many great communication majors that are awesome writers. I think their thoughts would be interesting to not only share with friends but students and the college community,” Zurek said.

His main goal in creating this blog is to allow personal experience to shine through, touching on broad topics in hopes of getting inspirational and complex angles of opinions.

“I would love to blog.Cabrini’s alumni look at the world a different way than most college grads because of the rich traditions that Cabrini holds,” Jennifer Naddeo, Cabrini alumna, said.

Naddeo offered insight of the typical college mindset and how it is important for current students to know what is happening in the real world by their peers.

Zurek does not want this blog to be fluff. His goal is to create an outlet to express feelings in a free way where personal issues and point of views are respected and recognized.

“I would hope that students would find them informative and humorous, perhaps with a perspective that might not be thought about before,” Melissa Firman, Cabrini alumna, said.

“Many of our alumni write technical material. This will allow one to unleash creativity more than what Facebook statuses have to offer,” Zurek said.

“I embrace any writing outlet I can utilize,” Matt Coughlin, Cabrini alumnus, said.

Zurek explained how he dreamed of this idea after posting alumni pictures on Facebook and reading a past student’s personal blog.

He was amazed and inspired by how she expressed life through a beautifully written reflection over her past 15 years; Zurek felt he had to take on this mission of creating a blog.

“I recently started my own blog to get back into writing everyday basically for practice. When I heard about this I thought it was the right fit for me since I want to start writing more again,” Melissa Steven, Cabrini alumna said.

“I want current students to read inspirational writing and grasp the depth of insight that these individuals only a couple years beyond them think so deeply about,” Zurek said.

Already about 40 alumni have signed up to participate. Zurek hopes to have one topic each month that will focus on issues that everyone can relate to.

“I hope to practice my writing and reporting skills a little more and get the opportunity to write about things I normally would not write about at my job. I miss writing about what I care about, and what other people care about too,” Stevens said.

Some topics that Zurek hopes to incorporate into the blog include personal stories that relate to health care and the fight for reform, along with the battle of hiding one’s sexuality throughout college and the struggles of being confused and lost during that time. He also hopes alumni will write on fun topics like the best concert they ever attended.

“It’s important to me to see how other alums survive the outside world and their opinions on state affairs,” Naddeo said.

Stevens expressed her hope on this becoming a forum where people can express opinions and ideas, opening a new discussion one topic at a time.

When asked about the significance of blogging, Cabrini alumna Elizabeth Brachelli was quick to note that blogs are among the top-rated social networking tools that will influence the capability to keep up with colleagues.

“So many of us have reconnected through Dr. Zurek’s Facebook page and that’s been fun to experience on so many levels. It could be interesting to see where the blogging venture takes us. Several of us have blogs already, and it’s been fun catching up with friends that way,” Firman said.

The blog will be launched and viewed on which will be open to all Cabrini alumni. If the process kicks off well, then the college hopefully can one day pick it up.

This blog will also largely contribute to prospective students when looking into different schools.

“The blog will allow prospective students to live vicariously through alumni for a slight moment. Hopefully this will spark a greater interest in Cabrini College and what they can become after four years,” Saleem Brown, Cabrini alumnus and assistant director of admissions, said.

Stevens shared the importance of getting current students involved because it helps further their knowledge as to what really happens after college.

The idea of reconnecting with old classmates seems essential and uplifting. Firman spoke about the natural coincidence that this is all happening through social networking because so much of personal and professional communication is in that realm or certainly heading in that direction.

Coughlin signed up because he was simply intrigued by the idea of creating dialogue between alumni and current students. Blogging provides anyone the opportunity to express themselves in the form of reporting, opinion or simply reposting what interests them specifically.

“This opportunity will help to build on the pride in our alma mater. We all learn from each other and I think it’s a great initiative. We also have the chance to focus on Cabrini’s mission, education of the heart,” Brachelli said.

As a student Brachelli often felt like she was on the top of the world and nothing could touch her, but after graduation real life started and she thanked God that she had the opportunities from Cabrini because she was able to learn life lessons that have stuck.

“The possibilities are simply endless. It’s the power of social networking,” Brachelli said.

Michelle Costa

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