One Five Oh [Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference]

Last weekend, I attended the phenomenal Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (CALC) in Boston. Hundreds of Cornell students, staff and alumni came to the city for a weekend of networking, Cornelliana and conversation.  The main purpose of the three-day event is to bring together volunteer leaders from across the globe to build community, connections and collaboration.

In addition to celebrating Cornell’s Sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years), CALC brings together alumni to handle business ranging from strategic planning to reunion organization and everything in between.  Meetings to discuss new alumni engagement concepts and trustee priorities were punctuated by presentations by the likes of University President David Skorton and Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena ’90 (who prepared for his talk by doing 300 burpees and taking a cold shower).  Hilariously, the event program came with a double-sided list of commonly-used acronyms for the weekend. I can confirm how commonly these acronyms were used – constantly. 

I represented the Class of 2015 Senior Class Campaign (SCC) at CALC.  SCC unites the senior class to give back to the University which has given us so much.  Seeing how SCC fit in with the University’s overall efforts was quite interesting, and highlighted the importance of our work to raise funds and build school spirit.

Of course, the weekend wasn’t all business. Friday and Saturday night featured young alumni meet-ups at area bars, perfect for catching up with  recently graduated friends.  Before Saturday’s meetup, however, was the University’s Sesquicentennial Celebration at the famed Wang Theatre.  The event was unlike anything I had ever seen before, mixing elements of video, music, live performance and interviews around “Harvard sucks!” chants and themes of Cornell pride and history, all emceed by alumnus David Folkenflik ’91, best known for his work as an NPR correspondent.

Even though it was borderline cheesy (largely due to comical impersonations of University founders Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White), I thoroughly enjoyed the event, which concluded with rousing applause and cheers of “ONE-FIVE-OH” paired with numerical hand gestures. As we all stood, swaying and singing the Alma Mater, “150”-emblazoned confetti tumbled from the Wang Theatre’s rafters ending a great evening of Cornell spirit.

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