#GCUnited going strong, offering support for Georgia College and local community

#GCUnited going strong, offering support for Georgia College and local community

T he idea of #GCUnited launched March 20—just a few days following the closure of schools and businesses due to COVID-19. The initiative, founded by the Alumni Association and the Foundation, allows alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the university the opportunity to virtually connect with Georgia College (GC) and Milledgeville during the pandemic. 

Mausmi Patel, '16
Mausmi Patel, '16

“We want to ensure alumni, faculty, staff and community members have a safe virtual place to gather and engage with their peers to take their mind off of what’s going on,” said Mausmi Patel, '16, assistant director of Alumni Engagement at Georgia College. “#GCUnited allows us to meet these individuals where they are by bringing the discussion and fun to the audience.” 

More than 50 livestreams—including story time for kids, financial planning, lunch-time violin performances, museum tours and yoga sessions—have been featured. Dozens of Georgia College and Milledgeville community members joined the events and helped the Alumni Association. The Instagram page gained 200 followers since May, as a result of their continued presence. They also recently teamed with the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce.

“Since #GCUnited had already been effectively producing online content, it made sense for us to partner with the Chamber to offer additional resources for the local community,” said Patel. “We can offer more resources to our members by tapping into our accomplished alumni, faculty and staff. We’ve qualified some of them to share their knowledge about business best-practices during this pandemic.” 

“Attentive listening is everything. When I serve on panels, listening to not only the facilitator, but to fellow panelists who are key to gaining a better understanding and sharing more thoughtful, well-rounded answers.”
– Lindsay Scholz

The Chamber focuses on offering educational tools to Milledgeville and Baldwin County residents who may have lost their jobs or business revenue due to the pandemic. Using #GCUnited branding, Georgia College and the Chamber provide panels and presentations on the changing legal and human resources rules and regulations, business marketing, social media marketing and other topics to benefit small business owners. The ultimate goal is to make sure local business owners and community members have the necessary tools to safely maintain their revenue and minimize layoffs.

Since #GCUnited’s inception, the local community implemented the means to cope with the pandemic, so the initiative shifted its focus to offering current, event-related content. Patel finds alumni who specialize in various topics, then conducts livestream panels on topics surrounding COVID-19 including the Paycheck Protection Program, housing market, financial planning and marketing your business.

Lindsay Shoemake Scholz, ’13, founder of Lindsay Scholz Studio—a creative studio focusing on branding and web design for women-owned businesses—was a guest panelist for the “Marketing Your Business During COVID-19” livestream. During the panel, she answered and discussed several questions on how to pivot marketing ventures in a different direction and continue to thrive as a business owner in the midst of a pandemic. 

Lindsay Scholz, '13
Lindsay Scholz, '13

As a panelist, Scholz applied the listening skills she learned from her time as a student at Georgia College and an editor-in-chief at the Colonnade.

“Attentive listening is everything,” she said. “When I serve on panels, listening to not only the facilitator, but to fellow panelists who are key to gaining a better understanding and sharing more thoughtful, well-rounded answers.”

Scholz feels serving as a panelist for Georgia College was an enlightening experience.

“I enjoyed encouraging fellow Bobcats by sharing marketing strategies that can be implemented by most business owners in our current climate,” she said. “Although GC graduates are dispersed across the world, we share a common bond. I’m grateful that these helpful resources are available to all, especially this year.” 

Ross Sheppard, '13
Ross Sheppard, '13

Ross Sheppard, ’13, a real estate broker with Ansley Atlanta Real Estate and historic preservationist, was delighted to share his expertise as a guest panelist on “The Housing Market and COVID-19.”

“I am always happy to volunteer for anything at Georgia College if I have the time,” he said. “One thing I loved about being a student, and now as an alumnus, is the strong commitment so many in the GC community have when it comes to pitching in when asked.”

One of the issues he touched on was interest rates for homebuyers.

“Interest rates are at a historic low at 2.99 percent for those with good credit,” said Sheppard. “If Congress doesn’t spend any more, we have every indication from the Feds that the interest rates will remain low.”

Patel often gets suggestions from alumni for new livestream ideas.

“People have really enjoyed the livestreams,” she said. “The recent panels have been extremely popular with community members engaging with the discussion in the comments section.” 

Some upcoming livestream sessions include: “Digital Marketing Strategies,” as well as “Accounting Tax Considerations amid COVID-19” led by faculty of the College of Business.

“Whether you’re a Bobcat, Colonial or Jessie,” Patel said, “Georgia College has always been about more than what you’ve learned in the classroom. Community is at the heart of the Georgia College experience. We hope to continue spreading that message through #GCUnited.”

#GCUnited is hosted through the Georgia College Alumni Facebook, Instagram and YouTube platforms. #GCUnited panels can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxsi1PSuQ84EjMHqCEdgsDg.