Alumni bring their memories and spirit to Homecoming
By Steve Seepersaud
Word association: When you hear “fraternity,” the next word that often comes to mind is “brotherhood.” The 30th anniversary of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Homecoming showcased the strength of a long-standing brotherhood. Alumni and founding brothers from the late 1980s reconnected and shared and compared their experiences with current brothers. This demonstration of brotherhood captured what Homecoming is all about: bringing alumni together, connecting alumni with students and showing #BingPride.
The campus was buzzing with pride as a record-high number of 1,131 alumni visited the University during the weekend of Sept. 23-25. Hot, humid conditions — uncharacteristic for late September in Binghamton — gave way to cool temperatures and abundant sunshine just in time for alumni to enjoy the multitude of activities taking place all over campus.
From the Alumni Center in Old O’ Connor Hall, to the Tailgate at the Events Center parking lot, to the restaurants in downtown Binghamton, you were certain to encounter people of almost all ages wearing green, and making new memories while reliving what was so special about their time at Binghamton, regardless of what the institution was called when they were here.
While Homecoming was a celebration for all alumni and the entire campus community, it was accentuated by reunions for the 50th anniversary of WHRW, the 30th anniversary of SAE, the Class of 2011’s fifth anniversary, Alumni of Color and LGBTQ alumni.
"This is the biggest collection of brothers we've had for a chapter event," said Paul Tavolacci ’86, who helped organize the SAE reunion that drew more than 130 alumni. "Some of the guys hadn't been back to campus in 20 years. We had a nice little party at the fraternity house and it reminded us of how much fun we all had here."
The sense of pride was very audible at WHRW’s gala dinner in the Mandela Room. More than 200 people joined in the celebration of 50 years of free-format radio on campus. Alumni from all eras of the station’s history — from its humble roots in Old Rafuse Hall to the present-day digs in the University Union West — came from all over for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
“It’s great to see so many familiar faces and lots of new ones,” said Anthony Sileo ’16, who led the reunion planning and whose opening remarks draw loud applause from the audience. “It’s amazing to see so many diverse people gathered in one place all celebrating the same thing — 50 years of free-format radio.”
The LGBTQ Alumni Network launched during the summer with an event in Manhattan, and the Homecoming reunion presented opportunities to expand the outreach to a larger number of people, and to celebrate the addition of the LGBTQ Center on campus.
"Homecoming brought back many good memories and made us proud to be alumni," said Shameeka Mattis-Pinard '03, who attended the reunion with her wife Rebecca Mattis-Pinard '05. "The LGBTQ events were nourishing and necessary and, for us, it was the missing piece after all these years."
A new event called Bing Brews and Bands was featured on Saturday evening in downtown Binghamton. Alumni, guests, students and community members were able to enjoy live entertainment and locally brewed beers at six different venues within walking distance to one another.
See photos from Homecoming weekend at binghamtonalumni.shutterfly.com.
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