A community of common interest:  Affinity

Joe Keniston ’05, M’07 and Deborah Dudley

It is impossible to predict which ties to the University will be strongest while a student is immersed in their college experience. Roommates, professors, classes, clubs, activities and experiences all have profound impact in defining what the Scarlet and Brown means to each Laurentian. When it comes to returning to campus—traveling that long stretch along Route 11—what motivates alumni may be very straightforward, or it may manifest in a variety of unique affinities. 

There is no doubt that class years have a certain nostalgia and are a great framework for Reunion Weekend. However, more organic gatherings of tight-knit affinity groups have happened for many years both on and off campus. Sharing memories of a year abroad, a victory over Clarkson, performances at Gunnison Memorial Chapel or the profound impression left by a certain professor can be the catalyst for strengthening Laurentian bonds.

In the last 20 years, several affinity gatherings have been formalized and incorporated into Reunion Weekend. Recent groups that have celebrated affinity milestones include the France and Kenya abroad programs, the Laurentian Singers, the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, Phi Beta Kappa, the Outing Club, the Singing Saints, and the Alumni Executive Council. 

During Reunion Weekend 2017, St. Lawrence celebrated the 50th year abroad programs in Spain and Austria, the 25th year of the IT Student Helpdesk and the 10th year of the Peterson Quantitative Resource Center. 

In addition to reunion celebrations, other self-initiated gatherings across the country have become common, and the Laurentian Engagement Office has outfitted more than 300 of these gatherings with St. Lawrence swag through the SLU-in-a-Box program. The box of St. Lawrence party favors is just another way to acknowledge school spirit and helps to encourage alumni to find ways of staying connected through their alma mater. 

Recognizing deep and meaningful ties is more important than ever, as the University works to broaden its network of alumni to strengthen the resources available to every Laurentian and to raise the profile of St. Lawrence. Affinities offer a way to celebrate the variety of human experience on this campus, and the many fibers of the Laurentian network that make it such a strong lifeline. 

The Laurentian Engagement Office expects affinity programming to continue to grow in future years, especially with regards to developing regional event opportunities and enhancing Homecoming Weekend activities. Should you wish to host an affinity gathering of your own, consider a SLU-in-a-Box. Visit our Alumni website for more information.