The next up and coming YouTube star isn’t a beauty blogger or mashup artist, but an array of Penn alumni.
Alum Time is a new show produced by a team of Penn students, with each episode featuring a Penn alumnus who shares advice with current students. The show is uploaded to the team’s website and YouTube channel after the editing is complete.
Show host and College and Wharton sophomore Aymen Saleem said that the Alum Time team captures the “crux” of a one-hour interview by consolidating it into a 10-minute episode. Each episode is divided into three segments, one of which brings current Penn students onto the show to ask the alumnus questions.
The star of Alum Time’s first show was Wharton and Engineering 2013 graduate Randy Rayess, who is the co-founder of VenturePact, a firm that connects businesses with software providers. After appearing on Alum Time, Rayess said the show is “a new concept ... and the concept is great.” Rayess occasionally returns to campus to give talks, but he had never appeared on a show like Alum Time.
Saleem said the series of suicides that occurred on campus last year prompted her to encourage alumni to share their advice with her peers. She added that at home in Pakistan, suicides were never covered by the press, but being here she saw how the suicides affected the Penn community. Saleem said that many “complex” factors are involved, but for the students who doubt themselves academically, Alum Time may help.
“I felt that having something like Alum Time would help such students ... just anyone who feels that they’re not good enough, they’re not doing well,” Saleem said.
Alum Time looks for renowned and relevant alumni to interview, but it doesn’t conceal the challenges that the alumni may have faced as Penn students.
“We want them to tell students that, you know what, even they didn’t have everything sorted from the day they entered Penn,” Saleem said.
Alum Time partnered with Penn Alumni Relations to find and contact prospective interviewees, and the show is currently filmed in the Sweeten Alumni House. Executive Director of Alumni Relations Elise Betz supports the project because “it’s very powerful for students to hear from alumni...whether virtual or live.”
Rayess has always enjoyed mentoring students, so he felt his appearance on Alum Time was the right thing for him to do.
“It’s always good to share with people, because that helps people in college think about what matters to them, and where to direct their energy,” Rayess said.
Saleem, who spent a year hosting shows in Pakistan before attending Penn, will be conducting another interview next Wednesday. The guest is a member of the Board of Trustees, but Saleem is keeping the exact identity of the alumnus under wraps for now — she doesn’t want to “ruin the suspense” until the next episode is posted in March.
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