Alumni celebrate old and new at Homecoming
By Steve Seepersaud and Katie Rubino '13
Alumni returned to campus on a beautiful early fall weekend to rekindle friendships, see the latest additions to campus and take part in new traditions. The Alumni Association sponsored Homecoming 2011, which took place Sept. 23-25.
Once again, the largest event of the weekend was the Saturday afternoon tailgate party, a celebration introduced at Homecoming three years ago. Alumni joined students, faculty and staff in this large show of Binghamton University spirit outside the Events Center.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which commemorated its 25th anniversary with a reunion during Homecoming weekend, was one of the many groups that set up a grill and tailgated.
"It's a little surreal to be here for the 25th anniversary, because I have two [fraternity] brothers whose sons are now brothers in the fraternity, so it's nice to see the legacy pass on," said Ted Feldman '88.
Howard Tollin '86 is one of the brothers Feldman is referencing. Tollin attended Tailgate '11 with his son, Gary. The local SAE chapter also celebrated its anniversary with a barbecue, as well as gatherings downtown and at the frat house.
"I'm proud to have my son here at Binghamton," the elder Tollin (near left) says. "It's a great school, and SAE is the best fraternity. It's great to be back here for the reunion. I can't believe it has been this long [since I graduated]."
At Tailgate '11, the Athletics Department unveiled a Bearcat statue, which will be a fixture outside the Events Center. Later in the evening, the men's soccer team lost 2-1 to Adelphi University at the Bearcats Sports Complex, giving up the game-winning goal with just 33 seconds left in regulation. The crowd of 2,433 represents the third-largest attendance figure in the five-year history of the facility.
The Asian and Asian American Alumni Council (AAAAC) held two events on Saturday of Homecoming weekend. At an alumni-student mixer, a panel of five graduates (Audie Chang '73, Yang Chen '87, Victor Eng '08, Ten-seng Guh '06 and Irene Lau '08) provided students with advice on career development and social-networking skills.
"I wanted to be an actor, but there aren't a whole lot of jobs for Asian actors," says Chang, a certified public accountant. "So, I decided to get a 'real job.' This may be a decision many [students] must make today with the shortage of jobs out there."
Chang (near right with Guh) encourages students to pursue their dreams, but urges them to be realistic when things aren't panning out. He says the best-selling book What Color is Your Parachute? helped motivate him, and he recommends it to students. The alumni also stressed the importance of interviews and making a positive first impression.
"Asian Americans...don't know how to sell themselves [at interviews]," says Chen, AAAAC chair and executive director of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. "Express yourself because you only have 10 to 15 minutes to show them who you are. Just make sure you don't oversell."
The University's Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) co-sponsored this event, as well as a Friday night social for alumni of color. About 50 alumni attended the social at Terra Cotta in downtown Binghamton, which was a joint production with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and preceded the annual Black Student Union Fashion Show, held at the Anderson Center.
"[Homecoming has] a host of events for colored alumni," says Nicole Sirju-Johnson, MRC director. "I want alumni to know they can still come to Binghamton University and have a great time."
Homecoming also included a Friday night opening mixer at the Anderson Center, Greek God and the Kristen Faust 5K Inspirational Run/Walk. A number of departments and organizations held open houses for alumni on Saturday. Those who attended the Discovery Advisors' reception got to see the new Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center. West Gym served as Memory Hall, with yearbooks on display as well as large banners showing snapshots from the University's history. Plaques were added to the Dickinson Object during a ceremony on Saturday afternoon, at which Ray Russolillo '80, Alumni Association president, surprised his wife Bonnie (Frey) Russolillo '80 with a plaque (above).
See photos from Homecoming weekend at the Alumni Association's photo sharing site.