Tercentennial weekend is finally here, and alumni, famous and otherwise, are flocking to New Haven from around the world, reconvening at their alma mater to celebrate Yale and hear each other speak.
In the midst of the hubbub, current Yalies have, for the most part, peacefully retreated.
The diligent ones have entered lotteries and gotten tickets; activists have planned a massive rally for Friday; and the rest have set their sights on Ben Harper, who will play Sunday afternoon at Spring Fling.
“In terms of tickets, I think for the most part, it worked out, and people who really wanted them, got them,” Yale College Council President Libby Smiley said. “Certainly there are no big events that are catered to students.”
“This is a very pro-active kind of affair,” she said, “and if you really wanted to see something you could.”
But many students have complained that the many events have not been well publicized, and therefore they did not apply for tickets.
Nevertheless, there is a big lineup of speakers. In addition to a list of big names that includes Garry Trudeau ’70, Tom Wolfe GRD ’57 and former President George H.W. Bush ’48, there will be a tercentennial master’s tea program with its own short-list of famous alumni, including filmmaker Oliver Stone ’68.
Janet Lindner, head of the Tercentennial Office, said she saw a great deal of enthusiasm from the Yale community for the tercentennial weekend, and the office gave away 4,000 seats to students, faculty and staff.
“We gave out as many tickets to as many people you could fit in the biggest rooms we could possibly find,” she said.
Lindner also said this is only one of several tercentennial weekends and that alumni have been organizing events at Yale Clubs throughout the year.
She said this weekend will be particularly exciting, though, because graduates of years ranging from 1929 to 2000 are coming from around the country back to Yale.
But there will also be a rally involving several of Yale’s unions and bringing hundreds from across the country to participate and show support for unionization at Yale.
Rather than attending a master’s tea or class dinner, many in the Yale community will be taking part in a rally on the New Haven Green calling for the University’s neutrality in unionization for both Yale-New Haven hospital workers and graduate students.
Carlos Aramayo GRD ’03, an organizer for GESO, said the protesters are expecting more than 2,000 people at the rally, including those affiliated with the University, workers from locals 34 and 35 and the hospital, local clergy members, and Congressional Representative Rosa DeLauro. He said speakers will include state attorney general Richard Blumenthal.
“We’ve invited all the alumni, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are alumni interested in this issue,” Aramayo said.
Regarding student groups’ participation in the weekend, Lindner said, “this is a campus community, and one of the wonderful parts of being in such a community is that you get to hear different opinions since they all have their place in it.”
Lindner said as far as organizing events for the weekend, students and faculty “thought about what they would do anyway, and they thought ‘How can we do this a little more specially?'”
For activities planned specifically for students, Smiley said she was hoping to do something related to the tercentennial for Spring Fling.
“That didn’t pan out, which is a disappointment,” she said.
Lindner said the October 2001 weekend, including a party that will be broadcast by satellite around the world, will be more student-oriented, and Smiley agreed.
“I think the October weekend is going to be a lot more festive,” she said, “and the college council presidents are talking to the Tercentennial Office and administration about getting a concert or gala event for the students.”
Smiley said the atmosphere of this weekend is more academic, as opposed to next year’s tercentennial event, which will be more of a celebration, the very nature of which will appeal to students.
“I really think the focus of this weekend is about bringing the alumni into the Yale community,” she said.
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