St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

New Digital Engagement Room for students at SBU features virtual networking technology

Mar 23, 2021 |

A new Digital Engagement Room at St. Bonaventure gives students access to cutting-edge virtual networking technology.

Located in the Reilly Center, the Digital Engagement Room is one more offering provided by the Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) to help students land a key internship or vie for a full-time position after college.

SBU student in the digital engagement roomOutfitted with enhanced lighting, a professional video camera and speakers, and a backdrop, the DER gives students a professional setting for online interviews, developing a podcast to enhance their resume, and networking with alumni.

“It is important for us to ensure that our students at SBU are provided the resources they need to give them the best chance of succeeding,” said Pamela Ferman, assistant dean of student development at the university.

The Digital Engagement Room had already been planned prior to COVID-19, but virtual interviews are now the trend for internship and job interviews.

“For interviews, students will feel better prepared if their environment is more professional,” Ferman said. “The way you sound, how you look, and what is going on in your background are all going to play into the impression that you are going to make with that employer or grad school. By having great sound, video and backdrop, you are already on your way to a great first impression.”

The DER’s enhanced technology provides all students with better access to opportunities, Ferman said.

“You can’t assume that students have the proper or effective technology to participate in interviews. If students have poor or no technology, they then may not have access to the same opportunities as a student who can afford that technology,” she said.

Staff in the CPRC emphasize that the room is for all types of engagement and is not solely a spot for interviews. The space can also be used for recording podcasts, creating video cover letters and networking with SBU alumni.

Development of the Digital Engagement Room was made possible thanks to a gift from the Class of 1963.

During their 50th reunion, several members of the Class of 1963 — Joe Pastore, Tom Nientimp, Joel Cote, Brian Maher and Brian McRedmond — initiated the Leader in Residence program, funded by their class gift.

“The purpose of this program was to annually select a graduate of St. Bonaventure who had received national recognition in their field of excellence to visit campus and talk to undergraduates, explaining how they had reached the pinnacle of their profession and how the Bonaventure culture and educational experience prepared them for this journey to excellence,” said Cote. “The hope was the leader would help motivate students to a successful collegiate journey and prepare them for successful careers.” 

Following the successful completion of the leadership program, remaining funds from the gift were utilized by the Career and Professional Readiness Center to develop the Digital Engagement Room and enhance even more student opportunities.

DER sign“The donations from the Class of 1963 continue to create ways for SBU students to connect to, learn from, and even follow in the footsteps of those who have developed exemplary professional and personal lives,” said Katie O’Brien, vice president for Student Affairs at St. Bonaventure.

“Their ongoing support has allowed us to launch the Digital Engagement Room as an integral resource for our students. The DER is designed to prepare students for a changing digital market by providing a professional, virtual space for all students to connect with the outside world. The Student Affairs division is greatly appreciative of the generosity of the Class of 1963 and the services made possible to our students,” she said.

The Digital Engagement Room is available to all undergraduate and graduate students. To reserve the room, students should log into their Handshake account and click on the Career Center tab. Select Schedule an Appointment and then Request a Room.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.