Class of '99
Greetings Class of 1999!
I am excited to write you with the next installment of our pre-reunion guest letter series! As the weather heats up outside, we thought we would turn up the heat on our letters, so we enlisted the help of a pro…or at least a “semi-pro.” Scott Schneweis is currently a writer for Twin Cities Metro magazine, and his acclaimed column, “Semi-Pro,” mixes humor and life lessons in a truly gifted way. Check him out in Metro soon, but check this out in the meantime:
I’ve always thought college reunions and NASCAR races have a lot in common. Both events are geared toward attendees from all over the country getting together and having a bunch of fun. Both events are sure to have some attendees who are inappropriately dressed and some who have had waaaaay too much to drink. And for both events, there are two distinct types of people―the people who are really excited to attend, and the people who couldn’t care less that it’s happening.
Up until recently, I fell into the group of people who couldn’t care less that our ten-year college reunion was approaching. I mean, why would I want to spend a weekend listening to people brag that their company “just surpassed the first benchmark on a new branding initiative” or that “little Jimmy is in the 98th percentile in both grasp reflex and head circumference?” But I’ve been thinking about it, and while there’s sure to be a couple of cringe-worthy conversations, I’ve realized that the arguments for attending far outweigh those against.
In this world of social networking and online “friend” collecting, how many of your old classmates do you actually have a relationship with? You may be Facebook friends with that nervous kid from freshman year biology class and know that he now works at Microsoft, but have you met his wife or heard the story about when he accidentally kicked Bill Gates in the groin? And what about the people that aren’t on Facebook?
And then there’s the “I already keep in touch with everyone I want to keep in touch with” argument. First off, if you have somehow managed to isolate yourself with the only interesting people worth befriending from our graduating class, then congratulations. Second, don’t worry, because at least a few of these amazing friends of yours will be there too, and there will be plenty of events and happenings to keep you entertained.
And of course, there’s the fact that these days your life is completely different than it was ten years ago. You’ve got a job, a spouse, kids or maybe even all three. You’re pretty far removed from the days of eating cafeteria food and checking your email in the computer lab. You’re pretty far removed from a ten a.m. chapel break and hoping you and your roommate will be able to get 2 keg cups for five dollars at a house party later that night. You’re pretty far removed from living within walking distance of all of your friends. You’re pretty far removed from a semester that was totally disrupted by a tornado and a graduation week that you barely remember. However, you don’t have to be far removed from the people that made all that mundane stuff seem like something that really mattered. This is your chance to catch up with those people and laugh about how things used to be. This is your chance to say, “I went to my college reunion, and while I wasn’t expecting much, I had a really great time.” Of course, now that I’ve suddenly become one of those people who are really excited to attend our college reunion, I’m afraid I also need to re-evaluate my stance on NASCAR. Just in case, if you could let me know if you live in Daytona and have a spare bedroom, I would really appreciate it.
1999 Guest Letter Writer
Next, a message from Michelle Courtright Bjork, who is chairing the Giving Committee for our 10-Year Reunion:
We all know times are tough and economic circumstances have made charitable giving drop considerably in the last year. We would like to ask each and everyone to dig a little deeper this year and consider adding an additional gift to the amount of the reunion party. As many of you know, the money that goes to the Alumni Fund helps to create financial aid and scholarships that benefit incoming students. With the costs of tuition increasing, and with students struggling to pay for quality education, it is more important than ever to support new generations of Gusties. Please consider adding in an additional $5, $25, or $100―whatever you can afford―to help our Class of ’99 become a leader in giving back to Gustavus. You can donate in memory to a particular cause (in memory of colleagues we’ve lost, math and science studies, music studies, etc.) and all donations are 100% tax deductible. Check out: www.gustavus.edu/giving and get started today!
Michelle Courtright Bjork
1999 Reunion Giving Chair
We hope to see you all at the reunion October 9-10! Check out our class reunion page on Facebook, or our reunion page on the Gustavus website to see who is planning to attend! Share memories and photos with us, as well as any life updates at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will include new updates in our next letter, coming out in August! Enjoy the rest of summer, spend some time with Gustie friends, and make your plans to spend a couple of October days with your classmates.
Jesse Torgerson and Phil Eidsvold
1999 Co-class Agents