Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reunion 2014

So this past weekend was my 15th College Reunion at Vassar College.  I have a complicated relationship with my college.  I wrote them a letter that I put on this blog, that got some views and they in turn called me to talk about it.  But I remain a proud Vassar alum and I went up to Poughkeepsie with my freshman year roommate who also lives in DC to check it out.

Overall it was a great trip and I'm glad I went.  The college raised a phenomenal amount of money from the returning alumni.  They have a tradition where all the classes march in a parade with the oldest class going first.
This young lady is from the class of 1934. She is over 100 years old. It must be slightly odd to be the only person from your class at a reunion.  I'm not sure if she was the only person still alive, but it still is always cool to see the older classes, especially when they are full of spunk.  

So this parade leads everyone into the field house and then you hear the speaker say, "We need to have a short meeting." I'm thinking this is brilliant.  Now they just need to lock the doors and display some photos of timeshare opportunities. That didn't happen, but we did vote in some new alumni association board members, though it was a voice vote and there didn't seem to be a chance to decline or abstain.  I guess given how hard it is to get volunteers, democracy has its limits.  

Then came the fundraising totals.  Starting with the earliest classes and ending with the oldest.  Our class gave under $20,000 to the Annual Fund, I think.  I do remember that we gave $50 in restricted gifts.  That number looked like a typo.  Especially when a few classes later, celebrating their 50th Reunion, this is the slide we saw.  
Right.  In the middle of this slide, the fire alarm in the building went off, which made me think in an instant that the donation had broken the college mainframe.  Or perhaps we won the largest game of Plinko ever.  So that was cool.  

But the best part of the reunion was seeing old friends, including a dear friend who I also went to high school with and now lives on the West Coast. I think hanging out with your friends at reunion is awesome.  But the much more awesome part is getting a chance to talk to people who I was friendly with but not friends with.  It harkens back to those nights when you would have awesome conversations with people who were acquaintances and then for the rest of your college life you would see them at parties and nod your head as an acknowledgement of that shared experience.  

Most of the people who I got to know more about this past weekend were members of the Girls Rugby Team. who in all honesty were somewhat terrifying in college.  I was an EMT in college and would staff the rugby games because they were a club sport and not eligible for athletic trainers through the college.  At first I was thrilled.  Getting closer to women who played sports seemed like a good thing.  I quickly learned two things: 1) A fair number of these women liked other women.  2) They were all tougher than me on my best day.  I remember starting to conduct an exam on one girl who had blood streaming down her nose, and she just screamed "GAUZE" in my face while I fumbled to open the jump kit.  She grabbed it out of my hands, shoved it in her obviously broken nose and growled at me before retaking the field.  We didn't cover that during breaks and sprains in class.  

I lost my voice screaming "Like A Prayer" at a giant tent at the All-Campus Party which is probably the most Vassar thing ever typed.  It was a good time.  I wish that more people from my class had been there.  I didn't bring my girlfriend because we had a low turnout but next time I won't make that mistake.  

The only downside was that I wished the college took an opportunity to talk about the money it raised and what it was going to do with it.  Our class clearly needs to step up its fundraising game, but it should be because the school needs it and not because we want to look better than another class sharing our reunion.  In many respects, our totals were probably more in line with what the college wants because we gave almost all of it unrestricted (Whoever gave $50, show yourself) A discussion about giving might be a good idea for future reunions, given that the weekend is built around that event.  

So great times and great reminders of why Vassar students are awesome, and reminders of how administrations can also always be a little more transparent.  

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