Lauren Jones ’20 Is Creating Community Beyond Hanover

Lauren Jones '20 wearing a bright pink lei at commencement.

May 13, 2024

3 minute read

Celeste Gigliotti

Alumni Features Classes, Clubs and Groups Dartmouth Spirit

Lauren Jones ’20 is a community builder. As an undergraduate, she was a tour guide, welcoming prospective students to the Dartmouth campus; a member of the programming board, planning events for her peers; and a volunteer for multiple other activities.  

The calling to build community lingered with her post-grad, especially as a member and class officer of the Class of 2020, whose senior spring was abruptly cut short by COVID-19.  

“I wanted to continue giving back to my classmates and building a community outside of campus and in the cities we all populate,” Jones explained.  

As mini-reunion chair for her class, Jones has helped to organize many events, from Homecoming sidecar gatherings to Zoom calls during the height of the pandemic. But the basketball season and her recent relocation to New York City opened new doors—a game watch. 

College basketball season was fast approaching, and fellow class officers Lizzie and Lily Clark had a connection with a bar in Gramercy—and an idea. The pair reached out to Jones to propose screening the Dartmouth-Harvard basketball game in February at the bar. 

The team, including Class President Tim Holman, Vice President Rafael Rosas, and Service Chair Junnat Anwar, got to work brainstorming the best ways to rally alums to attend. They’d had great success previously hosting events on campus, with their biggest turnout exceeding 100 for a Homecoming class mini-reunion. Jones and her team adjusted their expectations accordingly for a regional event, hoping to tap into the vibrant young alumni community in the area. 

I wanted to continue giving back to my classmates and building a community outside of campus and in the cities we all populate.
- Lauren Jones ’20

And the efforts paid off. Word spread on social media, and other classes began reaching out to participate. What started as a Class of 2020 mini-reunion grew to include other classes—2019, 2021, 2022, 2023. Between social media posts and emails, the interest grew into an intraclass hubbub of excitement for game day.  

The list could’ve kept growing, but their funding was already stretched—and that’s where the Dartmouth Club of New York came in. 

“It was Tim’s idea to reach out to the Dartmouth Club of New York to secure some extra funding,” Jones said. The infrastructure of support allowed Jones and company to throw a true Dartmouth soiree, with banners, swag, and a spread of food, so “it really did feel like its own private Dartmouth event.” With roughly 60 people packing the small bar, the mini-reunion was a mega-community builder.   

The importance of building these smaller networks in cities post-graduation cannot be overstated, according to Jones. An L.A. native, she’s familiar with relocation, understanding the challenges of starting over and finding community in a new environment—and events like these prove pivotal in that process. 

Decked out in Dartmouth green, the excited crowd of young alums gathered to cheer on their alma mater under the big projector screen and forged new friendships along the way.  

“Community was a huge part of why I chose Dartmouth and was a huge factor of why I loved being on campus. The strong community made me want to stay on campus and continue to invest in the community at Dartmouth,” said Jones. “So, I love doing it as an alum.”