Since its launch in summer 2018, the Marlboro College online community called Branch Out has gained more than 500 members, including many who are willing to be mentors for students and alumni. Now Branch Out has received a substantial upgrade, giving users more fun and functionality. As a result of the acquisition of the platform’s developer, Vine Up, by industry leader Graduway, Branch Out benefits from the best that both companies have to offer. “We are looking forward to having more community members connect with and support each other socially, academically, and through career development on the new version of the platform,” says Maia Segura, director of alumni engagement. “It’s a lot more fun and user-friendly.”
Branch Out serves as a virtual commons for the full Marlboro College community, a space to share stories, support each other, create interest groups, offer resources and advice, and give or get a helpful nudge to careers. The platform provides real-time opportunities for students and alumni to both benefit from and give back to the community through engagement activities, mentoring, job postings, events, and fundraising efforts.
“Branch Out provides a platform for students to explore career possibilities by connecting directly to alumni in their field of interest,” says Kate Trzaskos, assistant dean of career education. “Students can seek referrals, informational interviews, and mentoring opportunities. In addition, there is a curated job board that reflects current student interests—a tremendous resource.”
Users who were previously on the platform will need to re-sign up, which goes quickly through LinkedIn. A new password will be necessary, thanks to data privacy laws, as well as a few short questions and acceptance of the terms and conditions on the new platform. But the payback is huge, and former users are urged to continue participating and to welcome new members from the class of 2018.
“The new Branch Out maintains the features that Marlboro community members demanded and have come to enjoy in the past year, like the ability for users to create interest groups and post job and event content,” says Kate. “It also promises a more interactive experience in line with expectations of social media today.”
Former members are encouraged to update their profile, and new members are urged to join, at branchout.marlboro.edu.