The University has reduced the number of guests that graduating seniors are allowed to bring to the 2014 Reunions in an attempt to slow down the growing Reunions attendance numbers.
Graduating seniors were allowed to purchase tickets for up to five guests for Reunions in previous years. However, the University informed graduating seniors via email on April 2 that, for the first time, they would only be allowed to purchase two additional tickets. This guest allotment will decrease again next year, allowing the members of the Class of 2015 to purchase only one additional guest ticket for Reunions.
Annual Reunions attendance has increased by approximately 5,000 attendees over the past five years. Associate Director for Reunions for the Office of the Alumni Association Mibs Southerland Mara noted that over 25,000 people attended Reunions last year compared with 19,600 attendees in 2008.
Therefore, the University has had to face the challenge of keeping Reunions as an event where alumni and their families are welcome without allowing Reunions to get out of control, Chair of the Committee on Reunions Jil Robbins Pollock ’85 explained.
She added that this new policy was not intended to reduce the number of alumni who return for Reunions.
“The seniors are a big part of Reunions, and we definitely want to include seniors in the Reunions events, but we don’t want to include everybody in the Tri-State [area] who heard that there is a good party in New Jersey,” Pollock said.
Mara also noted that Reunions is unique in that it includes seniors and is hosted a week before commencement, unlike many of the University’s peer institutions’ college reunions events.
Members of the Class of 2014 have expressed disappointment in the change in the wristband policy.
Class of 2014 president Luchi Mmegwa ’14 said he is disappointed but added that he understands that changes must be made to accommodate the growing University community.
“Reunions is an event that is much larger than the senior class, and I recognize the various responsibilities that the planners of Reunions have to keep in mind when they’re making this decision. And with that in mind, I can understand the decision,” Mmegwa said.
History major Mireille Pardon ’14 noted that the graduating seniors’ extra wristbands granted her the opportunity to attend Reunions as an underclassman.
“When I was a freshman, sophomore and junior, I went to Reunions, and it was really helpful that the seniors had lots of guests wristbands that they could give to people, and I think that enabled me to go,” Pardon said. “I think it’s kind of sad that they are not giving us as many guest wristbands this year because it might mean that some other underclassmen aren’t able to go to Reunions.”
Reunions 2014 will be held May 29 through June 1.