In a last-minute scramble, University Secretary Linda Lorimer asked members of Silliman College to participate in the Yale Bowl presentation Friday dressed in military uniforms from the various eras of Yale’s 300-year history.
Silliman students were promised VIP seating and $1,000 extra for their student activities committee fund for recruiting approximately 45 participants.
Silliman Master Judith Krauss said Lorimer contacted her at 10 p.m. on Monday and asked her to recruit a large number of students who became necessary because of 11th-hour changes. Silliman is the largest college, and Krauss said it had the most participants in last year’s tercentennial procession.
“There’s no question that this is a big bail-out for the University,” Krauss said in an e-mail.
Though University officials are reluctant to disclose details of the program’s script, Krauss said she has been assured this will be a very moving part of the show.
“The procession, in the context of the larger show, which I understand is to be a retrospective on Yale’s role in the nation and the world, seems very relevant to current times,” Krauss said. “I believe, from what’s been described to me, that this segment will be very appropriate, tastefully done and quite moving.”
Krauss sent several mass e-mails pleading for Silliman students to volunteer, promising them VIP seats and extra student activities committee money.
“I can assure you that the money alone could not account for people’s willingness to participate,” Krauss said.
Krauss provided many possible motivations other than Silliman pride.
“Several have told me that they are doing it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a role in Yale’s Tercentennial,” Krauss said. “Those who have already been fitted for costumes say it’s fun and interesting to be able to wear the uniforms of various eras. Some will do it because I asked for their help. Others will do it because their friends and roommates are doing it.”
Paul Christensen ’04 said he does not have a good reason for participating, but he hopes the march will be fun.
“It could be good to get involved with it. It’s still going to be pretty good for our college, and supposedly we’re going to meet some celebrity but [we] don’t know who yet,” Christensen said. “It’s being kept quiet within the college.”
So far, though, it hasn’t been completely fun for everyone.
“Neither the secretary nor I anticipated all the details this would involve, so there’s been some confusion and miscommunication,” Krauss said. “It’s involved several hours of people’s time, and we’ve had to sort out how students could help out with the show but still be able to participate in the festival.”
Approximately 30 students from a Yale band are also dressing up, Krauss said. Both male and female students are participating, but the women must tuck their hair up under their hats.
“This will actually be part of a very serious, moving element of the show,” Krauss said. “They are looking for the dramatic effect of a large number of ‘soldiers’ marching ‘in step’ down through the audience while the band plays and while they are showing actual dramatic footage on the large screen.”