Alumni back to connect with friends, unite for a cause

Princeton alumni return for reunions

Lee Davisson, a member of the 50th reunion class of 1958, and his wife, Jan, sported matching pants and skirt in eye-catching tiger material during their walk around campus Friday afternoon.

Photos: Brian Wilson 

Some 20,000 alumni and their families began arriving on campus Thursday, May 29, to reconnect with old friends, sample intellectual fare and march in the P-rade as part of Princeton's Reunions activities.

Alumni at the 25th Reunion

Alumni from the 25th reunion class of 1983 are the inaugural holders of headquarters at Whitman College. This group enjoyed reconnecting with old friends under a tent in a courtyard surrounded by the Collegiate Gothic buildings that opened this past fall.

Highlights of the event, which runs through Sunday, June 1, include: alumni-faculty forums and department open houses during the day on Friday and Saturday; the first "Battle of the Alumni Bands"; and performances by groups including Quipfire!, Theatre Intime, the Princeton University Players and the Triangle Club as well as receptions and student/alumni arch sings on Friday and Saturday evenings.

One group of alumni, students and other volunteers got an early start on the gathering on Wednesday by building an Arial Home at 184 Broadmead. An Arial Home is constructed of highly insulated steel panels that fit together like Legos. The home is intended to be pre-fabricated in a nearby Arial Home factory so that no onsite sawing or cutting is required. A team of 12 volunteers can typically assemble an Arial Home in one day.

Building an Arial house

Volunteers from the class of 1968, men's and women's rugby, the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders and Princeton Theological Seminary joined forces on Wednesday to construct the Arial Home. For the next two years, students will conduct research on the structure to try to improve it.

Tom Pirelli, founder of the Arial Home Initiative and a member of Princeton's class of 1969, said that the goal of the initiative is not simply to build better homes for the poor but to create a viable, new approach toward alleviating the world's housing crisis. Tom Johnson, chair of the class of 1968 board of governors, was volunteering at the building site and intending to make a presentation at Reunions about the initiative, hoping to convince his classmates to adopt it as a community service project. The class would choose a country in which to build a factory and begin recruiting volunteers to seek donations of components and to construct homes.

Supervising the construction

Tom Pirelli (left), founder of the Arial Home Initiative and a member of Princeton's class of 1969, and Tom Johnson, chair of the class of 1968 board of governors, spearheaded the effort on campus. Johnson was hoping to convince his class this weekend to adopt the initiative as a community service project.

The prototype built during Reunions will stay in place for two years so that the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders can conduct research on issues such as improving the cooking system. Open houses were scheduled throughout the weekend.

The annual P-rade throughout campus is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday. The University Orchestra will present its annual lawn concert at 8 p.m. Saturday on Finney and Campbell fields. Fireworks will follow at 9:15 p.m. All three events are open to the entire community.

Alumni and University representatives once again are required to have wristbands to participate in Reunions activities in the major reunion headquarters courtyards (wristbands are not required for attending lectures, watching the P-rade or attending the concert and fireworks).

Faculty and staff who ordered wristbands in advance from the Alumni Council may pick them up from 7 to 11 p.m. each night in the Maclean House parlor (enter through the front door).

For more information on Reunions activities, visit the Reunions website or call (609) 258-1900. 

Two bands face off at the battle of the bands


At left:
Friday's "Battle of the Alumni Bands" on the Frist Campus Center south lawn featured five bands with members ranging from the classes of 1968 to 2008. Webster's Unabridged (above) from the class of 1973 played the first set and the last set. The Friendship (below), a group from the class of 2008, played the second set. Some members from the first band stayed around to jam.