200 miles, 400 stations, and 30 hours: Branford students and alums are attempting a trip to all the stations in the New York subway as part of a project called Branford Underground.
Led by Branford Resident Fellow Stephen Blum ‘74, Branford students pledged 1, 2, or 5 cents for each subway stop passed by the members of the trip. Proceeds from the fundraiser are going to New Haven Liberty Community Services, a charity directed by associate master of Branford John Bradley ’81. The charity raises money for the homeless of New Haven that suffer from health issues.
According to Blum, the participants of Branford Underground spent all of Saturday night on the train. They only exited to the street for food, bathroom breaks, and to cross from one train station to another. “Some people are reading books, others are preparing for finals, and others are just talking,” Blum said.
Blum highlighted that the purpose of the trip was more than just a good way to raise money for a charity. Blum told the News that the trip provides an opportunity for Branford students who have never ridden the New York subway to experience it and to allow a bonding experience for the students on the trip. “We’ve been together for 13 ½ hours and people are still chattering away,” Blum said.
Members from all four classes of Branford are on the trip, including several alumni of Branford that joined different legs of the trip. Hadas Dembo ’81 is on the trip for its entire duration, interviewing members of the Branford Underground trip for a New York Times feature she is writing.
“Every year, Branford has a holiday fundraiser,” said Chinmay Jaju ‘15, an officer of the Branford College Council that is on the trip. This year, the fundraiser was able to coincide with the trip that Blum was already planning.
Anna Lu ’17 pledged a cent for Branford Underground after hearing about it from a member of the Branford dining staff. “If they’re going give up that many hours of their time, I’m definitely willing to support them,” Lu said.
The trip began Saturday morning and the members of the trip are expected back on campus for Sunday night dinner. Branford Underground’s journey can be followed on Twitter.