Food for thought

The hungry history of the feeding frenzy
By Patti MacRae '71

Reed alumni take seriously their role as mentors for current or potential Reed students, despite the lack of traditional avenues such as fraternities and sororities to provide structure for this role. We like to be cerebral, so we do things like talk to potential students about the Reed educational experience, drifting into self-indulgent reminiscences about our personal educational epiphanies. We do career counseling, describing at length the jobs we love or hate, the paths that led us to our current places in life. We make presentations, we lecture, we perform.

Reedies past and present have also understood the need to feed more than the mind. Alumni have used food to connect with students since there were alumni to connect with. The "annual alumni tea" is mentioned in early Griffins as a highlight of alumni association activities. Imagine the genteel teacups, fashionable attire, and polite conversation that may well have been the expectation of that social event. Thanksgiving invitations by local alumni have provided a homey experience for a few lonely Reedies each year. The president's reception and the ice cream social after the commencement rehearsal, both alumni-sponsored events, welcome graduates into the alumni association.

But for a truly useful, no-frills, heart-warming, anything- can-happen experience, nothing beats the feeding frenzy. In 1993, the newly formed alumni student relations committee of the alumni board, which included both students and alumni, asked students what alumni could do to help them on their rocky road to becoming alumni. The answer was obvious: feed us. Out of that simple request emerged an event that has passed easily from one-time experiment to established tradition.

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