Alumni flock back to campus for Green Key
By Noah Reichblum, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 18, 2012
While Dartmouth Alumni Council’s annual spring meeting and the Hill Winds Society’s Green Key alumni event will attract involved alumni to Hanover, Greek houses’ events, class reunions and other informal gatherings will also draw a significant group of alumni back to the College for Green Key weekend, according to students, alumni and event organizers.
Compared to other big weekends, Green Key brings a younger set of alumni to campus, and overall alumni attendance seems to be lower.
“It’s about seeing your friends and enjoying the spring,” Kate Lyon ’05, who has attended the majority of Green Key weekends since her graduation, said. “Everyone in the real world and Dartmouth community, whether you’re in Hanover or not, is aware of these types of things and gets excited,” she said.
In addition to informal gatherings and reunions, The Hill Winds Society will host the largest formal alumni event, open to all community members.
“The Hill Winds Society is a group of students that connects alumni to students, and we utilize the big weekends to facilitate that,” Anoush Arakelian ’14, an event organizer, said.
Hill Winds has previously hosted a golf tournament over Green Key but will offer a different kind of event this year. The gathering is designed to facilitate student and alumni interaction and increase the club’s presence on campus, according to Arakelian.
The event will feature live music, lawn games, ice cream making with dry ice and barbecue, according to Catherine Roedel ’12, a Hill Winds Society officer.
“It’s great that they’re trying to bridge the gap between the students and alumni,” Lyon said.
The Young Alumni of Dartmouth Association was among the groups invited — a member list that includes thousands of recent graduates, according to Arakelian.
The majority of alumni returning to campus for Green Key tend to be younger, according to alumni and students.
“Green Key is a weekend that has less of a historical meaning as far as traditions are concerned, and so it tends to draw back younger alums who have ties to fraternities, sororities or other groups on campus,” Kevin Griffith ’14, a Hill Winds event organizer, said.
Alpha Chi Alpha and Phi Delta Alpha fraternities are among the Greek houses that will host events open to alumni.
AXA will host an alumni barbecue, in what president Paul Finkelstein ’13 said he hopes is the first of many official annual events.
“We have very supportive alumni — we just don’t formally invite them to the house,” Finkelstein said. “The goal is to get more events happening over big weekends.”
More alumni are expected to visit AXA over the fraternity’s Homecoming weekend event next fall as opposed to this Green Key, according to Finkelstein.
“The Green Key event will be a smaller scale, because you don’t get as many alumni coming up,” Finkelstein said.
Despite not hosting an event designed solely for alumni, Phi Delt expects between 10 and 20 alumni to attend the fraternity’s Friday Block Party, according to president Brian Shim ’13.
“We’ve had a big amount of attendance in the past and it’s something that is a lot of fun,” Shim said.
Michael Fritz ’07 and Brendan Lynch-Salamon ’10, both Phi Delt alums, will each perform with their respective bands, The Witness and Warm Weather.
“People kind of put [Block Party] down on their schedule as a time they want to set aside and see guys they haven’t really been in touch with,” Shim said.
Shim said that Phi Delt draws more alumni — in the range of 50 to 100 — for their events over Homecoming weekend and at the end of graduation weekend.
The warmer weather also helps draw alumni up to Hanover, according to Stephanie Morales ’09.
“There’s no prettier place to be than in New Hampshire in May,” Morales said.
The weather, however, is not always ideal.
“My freshman year it snowed, so that was definitely interesting,” Lyon said.
Green Key is still so anticipated by certain alumni that the Dartmouth Club of New York has in the past hosted their own version of Green Key in New York City, according to Lyon, the club’s social chair.
The Hill Winds Society also organized a tour of Rauner Special Collections Library for alumni on Thursday, according to Roedel.
All events in Hanover, regardless of the setting, provide the opportunity for alumni to better connect with current students and the campus pulse, according to Griffith.
“It’s really fun because at all these events you’re getting the people coming back whose blood runs green,” he said.