A couple of years ago, my husband, a University of Michigan medical school graduate came home and said he had received a call asking if we would be willing to host a U of M student for a night or two while she interviewed for a residency program nearby. We jumped at the chance to ‘give back’, but I was a little more curious about this program. Several years earlier my husband had signed up for U of M medical school’s Host Program, and he explained that it was an opportunity to help graduating students as they interviewed around the country. Between airfare, food, hotels, and other travel costs, this process can be quite expensive. The Host Program provides alumni a way in which to alleviate some of these costs. Additionally, from our experience with this program, the students are interested in information about the area and grateful for the option of staying with alumni!
It was around this time that a small group of Student Alumni Counsel alumni were working to establish SACAS, and I was one of them. It sounded to me like this would be an ideal program for SACAS to establish in an effort to support our graduating SAC members, so I began to learn everything I could about university Host Programs. From my research, it is very common for colleges and universities to establish and run host programs that foster and support international education, typically finding longer term housing for foreign students wishing to study in the US for a semester or longer, but I wasn’t finding anything regarding “Host Programs” for university seniors. Undaunted, I decided to call the University of Michigan! I was finally put in touch with Theresa Apostaleris, the Director of the U of M School of Medicine HOST Program. She was a wealth of information and explained that this is program designed for fourth year medical students to help defray travel costs, and that many medical schools around the country have established such programs. She was not aware of any such undergraduate programs.
Armed with this information, I learned that HOST stands for Helping Our Students Travel and that indeed, many medical schools across the country have set up these programs, enlisting school alumni eager to stay involved take in students for a day or two while they interview. I was unable to find any schools that had set up such a program on the undergraduate level, so we have the opportunity to expand this concept to a population that can benefit in a variety of ways. Our SACAS President, Chelsea Ricker, and the Board members were interested in learning more about establishing a Host program, and it turns out that The Ohio State University School of Medicine has a Host Program, and a representative was willing to help us with what we needed to get started.
At this point, the SACAS Board of Governors is laying the foundation for this program creating alumni and student questionnaires, surveying student interest, etc. In the coming months, we will be sending all our alumni an interest survey asking for participants in this endeavor. It is our goal to set up a SACAS Host Program that not only would provide a room for an undergraduate for a night or two while they interview for a job or graduate school program, but also provide undergraduates with the chance to talk with alumni in an area where they are considering relocating, meeting for a cup of coffee to discuss careers or simply connecting with new graduates to welcome them to an area. SACAS welcomes your participation and feedback as we move forward with this exciting endeavor!
If you would like to share your thoughts on this initiative, please email SACSociety@osu.edu.
From: Kelly Yousem