Retelling Brown 250+ through social media: A FOMO story


I picked a bad weekend to go out of town. This past weekend was chock-full of once-in-a-lifetime events that I will tell my grandchildren that I missed. What I didn’t miss, however, were the massive amounts of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts telling me exactly how much I missed.  I spent a substantial portion of the weekend trying to weave together many statuses, tweets, and photos posted by fellow friends, acquaintances, and classmates. After some serious cyber-sleuthing (read: Google), here is what I was able to deduce:

No one seems to be sure if Brown is married or celebrating a birthday. Anniversary and birthday are not interchangeable words. Which one are we celebrating here?! The University labelled Brown’s semiquincentenary an anniversary…but there was birthday cake. Or was it an anniversary cake? Either way, this place is 250 (+?) years young and apparently we must celebrate accordingly. And when I say accordingly, I mean from March 2014- May 2015. I guess we really are the fun Ivy.

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Friday night was a tame mixture of Spring Weekend and Sochi. The Main Green was said to be so loud that no one could even hear President Paxson’s speech. The muddiness may have also contributed to a Spring Weekend foam partylike feel, but instead of getting pink eye, students’ shoes just got a little dirty. In addition, the 250+ flames/lights/blazing balls of fire were said to be extremely inconsistent and constantly changing colors and intensity; however, many were unsure if this was intentional or a #SochiProblem. We at BlogDH want to know whose idea it was for this fire-lit “250+” on University Hall and can we have whichever Blue Room muffin they were eating at the time?

Jim Yong Kim ’82 was amazing. According to my Facebook newsfeed, this was one amazing talk. Friends posted about how inspired they were  from this lecture. For those who didn’t hear it, you can check it out on the World Bank site. Whether you were on campus or not, I highly recommend reading the transcribed speech which talks about his Brown experience, activism, and the importance of social change. Instead of studying for midterms In your free time, check it out.

There were crazy fireworks. From the looks of my Instagram feed, there were some crazy things happening on the Main Green. At first I saw a status about the University literally being on fire, but directly following that, I saw 250+ people bombarding my Facebook with pictures of fireworks (see what I did there). Some of my favorite hashtags were, “#blessed, #tuitionmoney, and #theschoolisonfire.”


Cake cake cake cake. While I wasn’t able to “put my name on it,” apparently Paxson was able to do so. And then she sought to cut an extremely large cake with a normal-sized knife. You’d think that with all of the funds going into this shebang the knife thing would have been planned out. There were many tweets comparing the rush to the cake to the Hunger Games. Rumor has it that the cake wasn’t even that good. But boy, was it pretty. For some reason, it reminds me of home.

Campus was filled with alums who do cool things…and children? The Brown website and my obnoxious intellectually curious Facebook friends posted all about the awesome people on campus. From Jim Yong Kim ’82 and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez ’83, to Governors Lincoln Chaffee ’75 P’14 P’17, Maggie Hassan ’80 P’15, and Jack Markell ’82, there didn’t seem to be a shortage of influential people on campus. In addition, alums were reported to have been seen all over campus relishing in Brown’s golden years.  And now for the children…who were they and where did they come from?! To be honest, I don’t even know if there were more children than usual on campus, but this seemed to be a theme of Facebook statuses so I’m just going to roll with it.

Were you also out of town this weekend? Probably not. But if you were, have no fear! This celebration will be spanning the entire next year. Seriously. Although you may have missed out on the kick-off event, stay tuned to the Brown 250+ calendar to see what is coming our way.

Video and image via.

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