A very special sesquicentennial: Celebrating Trinity’s 150th

file photo

file photo

The university has formed a committee to oversee and plan a yearlong celebration of Trinity’s 150th anniversary. Angela Breidenstein, professor of education, co-chairs the 150th Anniversary Steering Committee along with Jacob Tingle, director of experiential learning.

According to Breidenstein, the committee maintains a community-based approach to planning events for the sesquicentennial celebration, which is based around the slogan, “Commemorate, Elevate, Create.”

“Instead of our committee saying, ‘Here are all of the events of the 150th celebration,’ we’re asking the community to create or elevate events happening during 2019,” Breidenstein said. “So students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are all coming together to create unique programs for 2019 or to look into an ongoing program that they already do and think how to elevate that event in the spirit of the anniversary year.”

The committee has begun reaching out to departments and student organizations that have expressed interest in preparing for the university’s anniversary.

TU Press is creating a book to capture some of Trinity’s most influential historical moments and tradition. Breidenstein spoke about what the book will contain.

“The campuses will be recreated in the book,” Breidenstein said. “There’ll be a lot of history and a lot of bygone traditions that you don’t see today, like the freshman beanie caps that make up the background of Trinity and have contributed to its enduring community.”

Students majoring in environmental studies are also incorporating their capstone projects into the 150th anniversary with help from George Hazleton, visiting assistant professor of English.

Alumni have become involved. Marshall Hess, who graduated in 1988 and now serves on the Board of Trustees as well as the 150th anniversary committee, gave his perspective on the anniversary.

“I think it speaks a lot to how great Trinity is that we are able to sit back and enjoy this time period,” Hess said.

Current SGA members junior Amulya Deva, senior Nick Santulli and senior Monty McKeon are all on the committee.

Santulli expressed the event’s importance as a way to reflect on Trinity’s past and future.

“150 years can seem like an arbitrary number, but this provides a great opportunity for us to look back at Trinity’s history and the values that have prevailed over different time periods,” Santulli said. “If we know what we’ve gone through and how we got to where we are now, we’ll understand where we should go in the future.”

Deva, who is the current SGA president, explained how she helped to invent the slogan “Commemorate, Elevate, Create” along with other students on the committee.

“We knew we wanted it to be threefold, like three different levels of participation,” Deva said. “One that’s passive, where you just attend events, all the way to creating events like this.”

McKeon talked about how his role as director of the Student Programming Board (SPB) interacts with his position on the steering committee.

“As director of SPB, I’ll be working with various RSOs to help coordinate with them and make sure that they’re on the same page as the committee and make sure that everything is going smoothly,” McKeon said. “We have a small grant of $10,000 to split among activities and groups. It’s not a whole lot of money, but we are hoping that it can help.”

The word “elevate” in the slogan refers to taking preexisting events and making them better. McKeon said that one of the events that the committee aims to elevate is the 2019 Welcome Back Winter Fest.

“We always have our Welcome Back Winter Fest every year around the same time. And so we are going to elevate and try to do it bigger and better than ever before,” McKeon said.

Eugenio Dante Suarez, associate professor of finance and decision sciences, spoke about two ways that students can become involved with the celebration planning process.

“One is to join us and participate in all of the events that are going to be happening, or if they already have an [event] that happens all the time, let’s talk about how we can make it special this year,” Suarez said. “The other way would be to simply create an event from scratch and take it to the committee and say ‘this is what I would like to propose, this is what I need’.”

Committee members have publicized the 150th anniversary campaign with posts in the LeeRoy and appearances at Super Nacho Hour and Milk & Cookies.

More information on the 150th Anniversary Committee can be found on the committee’s official website, as well as a page for Trinity community members to submit events and contributions for the anniversary. The committee will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, with May 15, July 15 and Sept. 15 as key funding checkpoints.

Students with questions can contact Angela Breidenstein at [email protected] or Jacob Tingle at [email protected]