This is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 years of Brown’s Material Past
Few countries, never mind formal organizations have had the opportunity to celebrate a semiquincentenary anniversary. In honor of this historic occurrence, Brown and its leaders planned a weekend full of fun and excitement to commemorate the university’s past, and, through the slogan “Imagine Brown,” envision its future.
To kick-off the celebration, Christina Paxson, a number of alumni and university representatives, and a small group of students stood upon a stage outside the blue room, each prepared with their own presentation. The crowd must have exceeded the event organizer’s wildest expectations, because standing in even the back half of the mass made hearing the speakers impossible. When I was able to work my way to the front, I heard only the tail end of a spoken word presentation by 4 females and one male Brown student. The content of their presentation seemed interesting (detailing different events and their dates throughout Brown’s history) but their reception was luke-warm at best given that the majority of the crowd was unable to hear the presentation. In a meager attempt to combat the inaudible nature of the presentations, a simulcast was set up in Sayles Hall. However, most people seemed confused as to the purpose of Sayles, and stayed outside. Further, there was a clear lack of security at the entrances and in the crowd of the Main Green. The school should have ensured that sufficient security guards were in place given the public nature of the event. A number of guests that I spoke with after stated their confusion over the amount of security on the streets at all times, while such a public event was nearly unguarded.
The presentations gave way to a fantastic firework display. Though at first it seemed small (many in the crowd using words such as “quaint” and “understated”), it soon picked up and was a spectacle for all present. At the beginning of the display, a massive “2 5 0” was set aflame on the middle of the green. The cries of joy that accompanied this moment offered up the feeling of a theme park, and yet there was a tangible feeling of pride and excitement for being a part of something so old that persevered through the years.
The following evening, I went to the Brown-Harvard Basketball game at the Athletic Center. Though Bruno was seemingly overmatched by the superior Crimson, the team seemed to gain energy and intensity from a larger-than-usual crowd. Brown entered halftime down six, but exploded in the second half to send the game to overtime. Despite Harvard’s dominant record, and inevitable invitation to the NCAA tournament later this month, members of the basketball team fought hard and proved themselves unbending in their resolve. The game concluded in a 98-93 loss for the Bears, but the team was met with a standing ovation from a proud and thankful crowd. More than any Brown sports contest I’ve been to, I felt a strong sense of school pride and togetherness. Based on my conversations, the large contingent of alumni that attended the game were thrilled with the spectacle.