• Green and Groovy: Alumni Class Volunteers Aim for the Back Row with Creative Programming for Reunions, June 11-21

    Monday, June 7, 2010
    News Type

Even as the '10s toss their mortar boards skyward, throw their luggage into cars, and depart Hanover, members of twelve older Dartmouth classes will have already begun pouring into town to celebrate Reunions, June 11–21. 

Although more than half a century separates the oldest Reunion class,1950, from the youngest, 2005, all classes have the same goal: to return as many alumni as possible to the College on the Hill, to gather with friends old and new in activities planned by class reunion committees and Alumni Relations.

Class of 1970: Rockin' the House

The Class of 1970 Reunion Programming Committee began discussing potential themes for its 40th Reunion last September.


The Night Watchmen, one of the "it" student bands at Dartmouth in the late '60s, will perform with Tracks, another popular Dartmouth student band from the era, at the Class of 1970 Reunion on June 16. (photo courtesy of Peter Logan) Listen: Night Watchmen's '68 cover of Jimi Hendrix's You Got Me Floating (mp3)

"We were trying to think of what would help motivate a broader spectrum of classmates to return," says chair Dennis Brown '70. "There's always a certain number of people who come back. But we all have friends who we really, dearly want to see who haven't been coming back. And we're not getting any younger."

The committee decided that "change" would be the theme most likely to resonate with their classmates, who matriculated Dartmoth amid the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the sexual revolution. They'll discuss the changes they've lived through in two panels:"The Promise of the Sixties 40 Years Later" and "From Animal House to Rock the House: The Agents of Change."

Another main attraction will be a performance by members of the Night Watchmen and Tracks, two Dartmouth student rock 'n roll bands from the late '60s and early '70s.

The Night Watchmen, consisting of Peter Logan '70, Steve Calvert '68, Russell Pinkston '70, and Jeff Wilkes '70, covered danceable hit songs by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Temptations, the Stones, the Beatles, and other groups. They were popular on campus and in town, giving high-energy performances at fraternity houses and Hanover High School.

"I wouldn't say we had rock star status, but I do remember walking into fraternities and saying, even if we weren't playing, 'I'm in the band,'" Logan recalls

In 1968, the Night Watchmen combined with the Dartmouth jam band Ham Sandwich. After Logan and Calvert left the group, Pinkston and Wilkes recruited Peter Wonson '68 and Ned Berndt '72, along with Hanover residents Ken Aldrich and Skip Truman. They formed Tracks, which went on to record original material and become a "superpopular" headliner in the New England music scene, says Logan.  

For the Class of 1970 Reunion, eight members of the Night Watchmen and Tracks will perform two sets of cover songs from 1966 to 1970. 

"There's going to be a third set, a finale where all eight of us get on stage and tear the roof down off Collis," says Logan. "I can't wait." 

Class of 1980: Evergreen

Plans for the 30th Reunion of the Class of 1980 began last August, says Merle Adelman '80, co-chair of the Reunion Programming Committee. Fittingly for the class that graduated the year the Superfund law was passed, their reunion theme is "Forever Green," in reference to both their Dartmouth experience and their eco-consciousness. 

"Everything we're trying to do revolves around sustainability and environmental concern," says Adelman. This includes offering a talk by Professor Bruce Duthu '80, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, on tribal rights and environmentalism; sponsoring student green projects; and giving '80 Reunion attendees refillable water bottles to eliminate the waste of plastic or paper cups. The Classes of 1985, 1996, and 2005 are also using refillable water bottles.

"It's a very relevant and timely topic and something people can relate to," Adelman says. 

Aiming to bring the largest and most diverse group of classmates back for Reunion, Adelman worked hard to give invitations a personal touch.  

"One piece that makes a Reunion successful is personal outreach," she explains. "It's not me, the chair, sending a note to my class through the system. It's not an email. It's not even the newsletter. It's me calling my friend in Weston and saying, 'I noticed you're not on the list, and I would love it if you were there.'"   

Class of 2005: Looking to Set a Reunion Record

Attendance is also a top priority for the Class of 2005, which has set its sights on dethroning the Class of 2004 as the most well-represented fifth-year Reunion class in Dartmouth history. Last year, the '04s broke two long-standing records, bringing 471 alumni and 525 people overall back to campus for their fifth-year Reunion.   

"We're doing our best to break these records and set the bar high for the Class of 2006," says Kyle Polite '05, chair of the Reunion Programming Committee. "We've hosted Reunion kick-off events in six cities, held an iPod Touch raffle for the first 100 Reunion registrations, and worked hard to make our Reunion as affordable as possible." He thinks the 2005 Reunion fee "may be the lowest of a five-year Reunion in a very long time."   

In addition to dance parties and other events, the Class of 2005 will host a send-off for the student crew of the Big Green Bus. Now widely known, this eco-education bus was started by students in the Class of 2005. Outfitted with solar panels, grease filters, and bamboo flooring, the bus is set to depart for its annual cross-country, educational tour on the first day of the '05 reunion.  

"We're excited to host a send-off for this year's crew," Polite says. "We look forward to meeting them, seeing the updated and improved 2010 bus, and sending them off with our best wishes for a safe, successful, and exciting trip."

Brittany Coombs '10 is the Web writing intern in the Alumni Relations Office.