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Jennifer Neubauer, assistant vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association, visits with those attending the Black Owned Business Owner Networking Reception.

Photographer: Karissa Conrad


The Black Owned Business Owner Networking Reception was held for the first time at this year's Black Alumni Reunion.

Photographer: Karissa Conrad

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Black Alumni Reunion hosts new networking event

First-time event sells out

For many college students, the thought of networking can be daunting, but a new event at Ohio University's Black Alumni Reunion made the process easy.

For the first time in the event's more than 30-year history, the Black Alumni Reunion, held this past weekend, included a Black Owned Business Owner Networking Reception. Sponsored by the College of Business, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship, the event brought together students, alumni and staff for a reception dedicated to business owners and entrepreneurship.

"I am absolutely thrilled with the turnout out we've received," Jennifer Neubauer, assistant vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association, said of the inaugural event, which sold out.

Turnout at the event proves just how important networking is in establishing a career.

Adrienne Gossett, an OHIO sophomore majoring in marketing, came to the event as part of the Junior Executive Business Student Organization. Gosset said she knows how crucial networking is in starting any career and is grateful that OHIO provides an event that makes the process that much easier.

"It's not what you know, it's who you know," said Gossett. "This event is great, especially since we're all Bobcats and they all know exactly what we're going through because they've been here."

The reception did not cater to just current OHIO students but alumni as well.

Darryl Griffin, who actually helped create the Black Alumni Reunion as part of a communications course he took in 1981, attended the event as an alumnus wanting to start his own business.

"I've been an employee for a long time, and I'm now looking to be a business entrepreneur," said Griffin. "I'm passionate about helping young adults and (this event gives) me the additional opportunity and platform to do just that."

Karris Barclay arrived at the networking reception as an OHIO sophomore who is already operating her own business and planning for the future.

Barclay started a business last year on the Athens Campus selling cupcakes. Since then, her business, KraveIt Cupcakes, has taken off. Barclay said she sees the networking reception as the perfect opportunity to continue the success of her company and allow it to grow even further.  

"I've met a lot of people already who are interested in my vision and helping further it, so it's been really encouraging," she said. "People on campus are really supportive, and the alumni here are even more supportive."