Senior Night Starts New Colgate Tradition

On Friday September 21, 198 members of this year’s senior class were reunited at the Palace Theater for a cocktail mix-and-mingle. Senior Night was initiated by Alumni Rela-tions, but underwritten by a number of groups, including Konosioni, Ca-reer Services and the Annual Fund. The event brought the class full circle, giving several graduated 2009 Links – their peer mentors during freshman year – the opportunity to help them think about their first steps after col-lege. Through the introduction of the new Torch Medals, students were also encouraged to begin thinking about those who had most influenced their time at Colgate.

“It was great to see my Link [Lau-ra McDonald] again,” senior Lulu Brase said. “She was also able to give me some very helpful advice for next year: who to talk to, and how to ap-proach life after Colgate.”

Once peer mentors bringing the class of 2013 into Colgate, the re-turning Links got the chance to reach a hand back once again, helping their mentees figure out life after college.

Alex Doering ’12 was one of four Links for the 2013 class who was able to make the trip back for Senior Night, along with Laura McDonald ’10, Sam Zulkie ’10 and Chris Moy ’11. Unlike the other three, Doering has only been an alumnus himself for a few months.

“I had no idea where I would be at this point, but I definitely wanted to come,” Doering said. “It turned out that even though I did have a job, I was still able to come back … It was a great way to start being an alumnus.”

The returning Links were also asked to be part of a small panel the following day that was open to all students. The panel, titled “Links to Real World,” was attended by about 15 students. During this session, these young alumni were able, once again, to answer questions and respond to concerns about the growing pains that accompany leaving Colgate for the “real world.”

Director of Alumni Relations Tim Mansfield initially came up with the idea for Senior Night last year. Besides the alumni-staff-student interaction at the event itself, Mansfield emphasized the importance of having the symbolic new Torch Medal tradition introduced to the class of 2013 for the first time at Friday’s event.

“Konosioni is collaborating with Alumni Relations on the Torch Medal Initiative and we were asked to come and fill in the seniors about what the Torch Medal is, what it means, and how to get one,” Konosioni president and senior Griffin O’Shea said. “This is a new tradition that we are really excited about, and we were glad to get the chance to be cheerleaders for it on Friday. Every senior will get a medal and give it to one person, fac-ulty, staff, coach, custodian, etc. who has greatly influenced them over their four years. The recipients will be hon-ored at the Senior Class Brunch in the spring.”

Each senior in attendance re-ceived their Torch Medal; the rest can pick them up the Alumni Relations office in Merrill House.

Mansfield saw Senior Night as an important new tradition, the symbolic beginning of a series of senior-specific events that will lead the class of 2013 to graduation and out into the world. He was very satisfied with how this initial attempt panned out.

“We had a handful of goals,” Man-sfield said. “[To get] 150 students to at-tend the event, 100 gifts for the Senior Class Gift, and support from SGA, Se-nior Class Council and Konosioni. We achieved all of our goals. [We had] 198 attendees, 113 gifts collected and the full support from the Class of 2013.”

Students seemed to share Mansfield’s excitement.

“One thing I really appreciated was just having that many people from our class in one room,” O’Shea said. “I feel like we are all so busy doing so many things and get caught up in such rigid routines that it’s great to just get us all together. It’s nice to know that Alumni Affairs and Career Services are looking out for us and that so many people are in the same boat.”

Though nerves may be running high for those members of the class of 2013 looking towards the future, the atmosphere on Friday remained relaxed. So many people were enjoy-ing their conversations that it was even difficult to hear the speakers.

“The event was very informal, almost like a pep rally,” O’Shea said. “The speeches were short and energetic and people seemed to re-ally enjoy mixing it up. But I think the spinach dip was the MVP of the night.”

Contact Rebekah Ward at [email protected]..