Hosting is one of Switchboard's greatest but most undersung uses. Reed College alumna Zan Clark '07 offered to host Reedies in her New York City apartment soon after Reed Switchboard was founded. Her offer immediately proved popular, and she hosted several Reed students and alumni.
After finding success with her generous offer, Zan turned to Reed Switchboard seeking job advice. Other Reedies saw that she'd already given back to the community, and they were happy to help her in turn.
When did you start using Switchboard?
I think I started using Reed Switchboard as soon as it started. I just thought it sounded like a fun thing to get involved in. Especially with hosting, I was already hosting people through Couchsurfing.com and AirBnB so it seemed only natural to open my couch up to Reedies.
You've used Switchboard to host Reedies and ask for advice. Could you tell your story?
I hosted a few Reedies when I lived in New York City—now that we've relocated to a rural part of California I don't feel nearly as popular! Universally my experiences as a host were great. I as explaining to my husband that there's an implicit sense of trust with other Reedies. I feel very confident that they will be not only respectful houseguests, but also interesting and exciting people to get to know. I haven't been wrong yet.
As far as asking for advice, I was so impressed with the quality of the responses I got to my recent ask. I wanted some guidance on pursuing a career in a particular area of healthcare administration and through Switchboard I was connected to Reedies from a wide range of class years and professional experiences. I had great conversations with each one of them, and the connections have continued to snowball. Asking for help on Switchboard was a thousand times more helpful than trying to chase down connections on LinkedIn.
I'm also happy to have been able to help a few people who have asked for advice. I even connected one ask-er who was looking for advice on funding a biotech start up to my Dad (Reed '74).
Would you recommend Switchboard to friends?
Definitely! Professionally, I've found Switchboard to be a really valuable resource, and personally it has been great to be able to give back to the Reed community.