Celebrating the history and archaeology of Brown University and Providence, Rhode Island

Category: 25 Things Blog (Page 2 of 4)

Corrine Szczesny ’14: Nature

“All such places—those that we can see in one sweep of the eye or traverse with our moving legs—anchor and locate even as they also resist and repel.  More than this: they lend to their inhabitants (that is, people, and animals and things of many kinds) their own distinctive identities.  Only ask where you are or have been, and I will be able to say much about who you are” (Casey 1998, 44).

Blog posts by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.

Valerie Langberg ’14: Death and Commemoration

I am writing my final paper on the Maddock Alumni Walkway.  The walkway contains bricks with names and class years of Brown alumni.  I am interested in exploring how perspectives on the walkway have changed over time, as well as how the fact that bricks must be purchased affects the aura and agency of the object.

Blog posts by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.


Stephanie Harris ’14: Residential Buildings

The house has to be considered as an individual, as a dynamic entity whose every month of life is significant for the men and women who act in and around it.” (Ruth Tringham).

Brown University’s Third World Center, or Partridge Hall was originally owned by Henry T. Beckwith, a descendent of the Brown family and the Dexter Family. Its architect was Alpheus C. Morse, the architect of Sayles Hall.

Blog posts by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.

Keillor Irving ’15: Art, Design, and Display

Sayles Hall, built in 1881, is home to one of Brown’s most extensive and historic portrait collection. My final project will explore the history, significance and presentation of this portrait collection and aims to give students a new appreciation of a treasure trove of Brown University history they walk past every day.

Blog post by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.

Connor Grealy ’14: Streets and Infrastructure

The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for Creative Arts is an example of Brown’s continuing push to integrate sustainable design into the campus’ overall push for recognizing, holistically, the need to consider our campus as part of the larger ecosystem. The building, which achieved a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Certification, includes features that not only diminish energy use and utilizes green design but operates on the enhancement of the experiential use of building. The environment impact of buildings cannot be understated as they were recently measured to account for over 50% of energy consumption in the United States.

Blog posts by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.

Nicholas Fair ’14: Streets and Infrastructure

During my time at Brown I have heard that the mysterious tunnels below our campus were used to smuggle slaves. I have been told rumors that they were also used to smuggle bootlegged booze during the prohibition period by members of organized crime operations. Furthermore, I have read that they were created in the event of a nuclear attack. Is any of this true? I plan to find out.

Blog post by the students of Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past.

An Evening of Dance at the Celebrate 250+ Performance Showcase. By Emily Chu

This is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past

The extent of my knowledge of dance at Brown is limited to invitations to Facebook events for dance shows and peripheral familiarity with members from various dance groups. Thus, I was really excited to see the dance performances at the Celebrate 250+ Performance Showcase on Friday night at Granoff.

The auditorium was full, with people standing outside on the grass watching through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The program for the showcase included everything from Lion Dance to Gilbert and Sullivan, with a hint of belly and tap dancing.

One group I was excited to see was imPulse Dance Company, which is a hip-hop focused company with widespread publicity for its various shows. In honor of Brown’s 250th birthday, the group performed a ‘50s-inspired hip-hop piece, mixing in Kanye West with the Grease soundtrack. I really loved the high energy throughout, present in both the dancers and the cheering audience.

Another dance group I really loved was Badmaash Dance Company, a South Asian fusion dance team. I was astonished by the complex moves and flawless synchronization of the six dancers. Their dancing was delicate, heartfelt, and smoothly choreographed.

Divine Rhythm Step Team was one of my personal favorite performances. I’ve never seen this group, or step dancing in general, so I came in not knowing what to expect. Their stomps, claps, and slaps instantly captivated me. With no music in the background and their steps echoing around the auditorium, Divine Rhythm ensured the focus was on them. It was a small team, but they were all incredibly coordinated and in sync. I loved this unique and entrancing performance and am glad to have had the chance to see them perform before I graduated.

With less than three months left at Brown, I’m trying to immerse myself in the parts of Brown I’ve unintentionally shunned in my three and a half years here: football games, trips to Federal Hill, documentary showings, dance performances. I’m glad to have had the chance to see what I was missing in the vibrant dance community at Brown, and I hope to make it to more dance shows before graduation. I greatly enjoyed this showcase because it represented the amazing and diverse talents of Brown’s dancers. I am continually astounded by my talented classmates here at Brown, and I am appreciative of the 250th anniversary celebration for bringing the community together and instilling in all of us immense school spirit and Brunonia pride.

Wind Symphony. By Darcy Andrews

This is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past

On Friday, March 7, the Brown University Wind Symphony performed a concert in honor of the school’s 250th Anniversary. This concert was unique in that the selections reflected years of music produced by the Brown community, showcasing pieces composed by Brown alumni and friends of the university.

The group premiered “Fanfare 250” by George Masso, the title of which directly connects to the anniversary celebration. A generally uplifting piece, “Fanfare 250” reflected the fireworks that were set off on the Main Green, right outside the concert venue Solomon Hall, earlier in the night to launch the anniversary festivities. It stood in stark contrast to Masso’s other composition, “Concertante for Brothers Brown,” that was played later in the night. Named for the two Brown brothers who were instrumental in the university’s establishment on its Providence site, John and Moses, this piece was full of long phrases that slowly crept in and out of the music hall. It also showcased the solo talents of trombonist Alexei Doohovskoy, a Brown graduate of ’98, whose vibrato was reminiscent of the great jazz trombonists of old.

Additionally, the Symphony debuted both a piece called “Brownian Motion” specifically commissioned for the event by the accomplished jazz composer and musician Patrick Zimmerli. He wrote in the concert program that the piece is intended to illustrate the “unpredictable evolution of Brown as an institution,” from its humble church origins to its present state of prestige. Somewhere in the midst of the twists the piece takes he subtly inserted a melody based on the Brown Alma Mater, which then drove the piece towards its climax.

Three other marches composed by historically prominent Rhode Island band composers were played, in addition to a swirling “Fantasy for Wind Symphony” composed and conducted by Eli Fieldsteel ’08. Throughout the night the Wind Symphony’s program offered to the audience various elements of Brown’s history and its connection with the Rhode Island musical community.

250 Years of Brown University. By Nicholas Fair

This is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past

This past Friday I attended the 250th anniversary fireworks display on the main green. Although this was the only event I was able to make it to over the weekend, the general feeling of excitement and fulfillment was apparent in the immense amount of pride that current students and alumni took in being a part of this weekend. Overall, the enthusiasm displayed by everyone involved in this monumental weekend gave me an immense amount of pride in having the opportunity to be a member of this community not just during my four years on campus, but rather far beyond my graduation next spring.

Throughout the course of the weekend, I noticed walking around campus, and just Providence in general that the community was packed with elder alums celebrating the anniversary of the school and furthermore, current students flooding social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook with new status updates, and photos of the weekend’s events over the course of the 72 hours. These various sorts of generational displays of excitement and enjoyment were truly brought to life during the spectacular firework display on Friday evening. Interestingly enough, I overheard a member of the grounds crew mention that this was the first ever instance of fireworks taking place on campus, an interesting fact that I believed served to only further the weekends enthusiasm.

However, I think the most remarkable aspect of the firework celebration on Friday night was the overwhelming presence of non-Brown community members. The main green was flooded with Providence community members, particularly parents with their children on their shoulders, all wanting to be a part of this monumental moment in Brown University history. To me, this represented the strong bond between the school and the Providence community, and how the two entities have mutually benefited from each other over the University’s history. As integral as the link between the school and the University have been, it is reassuring that, despite recent concerns about the University’s impact on gentrification, the community was able to enjoy this occasion along with students, faculty, and employees of Brown. Over the next 250 years, hopefully Brown’s community can continue to grow and integrate with the University’s community, and only further tighten the mutually beneficial bond that has been forged over the past two and a half centuries.

250 Years Opening Night. By Eliot Greene

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.

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