Virtual reunions connect NU alumni globally

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Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

A Northwestern Alumni tent. NU alumni celebrating their reunions this year will participate in virtual events this weekend.

Ellen O’Brien, Reporter

With alumni barred from traveling to Evanston for their reunions, the campus may remain a distant memory. This year, Northwestern Alumni Association has moved all reunions online.

On Oct. 15 and 16, members of 13 classes celebrating their reunion will have coffee chats with professors, hear from University President Morton Schapiro and reminisce on NU’s 1995 Rose Bowl win—all via Zoom.

Jennifer Trammell (Medill ’10) said while she would love to be able to celebrate her reunion on-campus in Evanston, she is still excited to connect with her classmates. Trammell, who serves on her class’s reunion committee, said she especially enjoyed looking through the virtual yearbook that the Alumni Association created for her class.

“One of the women I connected with is a professor at a college in the area where I grew up,” Trammell said. “It’s kind of funny to see my hometown connection meet my Northwestern connection. Maybe we’ll even get together for coffee the next time I’m in town.”

Senior Director of Reunion Programs Carlos Terrazas (Weinberg ’98) said in an email to the Daily he is excited about the accessibility and expanded reach that a virtual format offers. Traveling back to Evanston can hinder alumni from participating in their reunions, he said.

With a virtual format, alumni are able to attend from anywhere in the world and not have to worry about whether or not they will know other alumni who are attending, he said.

“Perhaps by participating in our virtual reunion, they’ll be more likely to attend a future Reunion or alumni event,” Terrazas said. “That would be a success.”

Terrazas wrote that his office is providing “party kits,” including personalized class playlists, drink recipes and custom Zoom backgrounds, so alumni can host their own virtual reunion party. With these kits, he hopes to facilitate hosting a virtual party.

Homecoming, a fall tradition for students and alumni, is currently postponed. In a statement, Laura Wayland, executive director of the Northwestern Alumni Association, said when this year’s Homecoming is celebrated, it will be done safely.

“Homecoming is a beloved tradition at Northwestern, and the Northwestern Alumni Association is planning a combination of virtual events and socially distant ways of celebrating this year’s Homecoming so students can participate safely,” Wayland said.

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Twitter: @ellenobrien0

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