Lucas Peterka/Staff Photographer

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development put a new spin on the traditional job and internship fair this year as it hosted its first Multicultural Career Fair Flip.

Typically, at job and internship fairs, visiting recruiters from companies nationwide sit behind tables and wait for students to approach with their elevator pitch. But at Tuesday’s event, student groups were the ones at the tables and the employers came to them. Erin Wise, assistant director of mentorship and diversity initiatives at the Center, said the event demonstrates a different method of networking.

“We’re turning the tables on a typical career fair,” Wise said. “Student organizations will be the ones setting up booths while employers circulate the room to learn more about each organization, including meeting organization members and e-boards, learning about past and upcoming programs and initiatives and ways to best inform organization members about professional opportunities.”

The Multicultural Career Fair Flip was sponsored by the Student Association (SA) and the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). It hosted 20 different student organizations and more than 25 employers. According to Wise, the event was created as part of the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development’s efforts to create more diversity-oriented career development programming.

“Before the 2019 Fall Job and Internship Fair, we hosted our first diversity roundtable event, which brought together students with employers from various organizations who are committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” Wise said. “It was well received with positive feedback from both students and employers, so we wanted to offer another opportunity around the spring job and internship fairs to promote conversations around diversity in the workplace.”

According to Wise, the event also aimed to give students time to discuss their on-campus engagements and achievements, which they may not have the opportunity to do at a typical job fair.

“The goal of this new format is to showcase some of our student leaders on campus and provide a unique and interactive venue to connect with employers,” Wise said. “Student leadership is an extremely valuable skill that employers are looking for in new employees, so this seemed like a great stage for many of our student leaders to highlight their involvement on campus.”

Omar Hernandez, senior adviser of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and a senior majoring in systems science and industrial engineering, said he and other members of SHPE believe the fair can grant them more opportunities than BU’s traditional career fair would.

“What we’re trying to get out of today is gaining connections and more information about the companies in and around Binghamton,” Hernandez said. “Our members are also looking into opportunities in those companies as well and this will give them a chance to get an insider point of view and a second chance that they may not have gotten at the career fair today.”

Maggie Cech, treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a senior majoring in electrical engineering, also highlighted the importance of gaining connections.

“We would like to gain exposure to more local companies, build connections with representatives from these companies and build rapport with employees and those who can offer future opportunities in these companies,” Cech said.

Others, including Abigail Walters, president of the Charles Drew Minority Pre-Health Society and a senior majoring in psychology, agreed.

“We would like to gain connections with companies and get collaborations with certain organizations to come present about what their company does,” Walters said. “We were hoping to gain more connections in the pre-med[ical] field so that they could come speak about their organization.”