The Place and the People: Toronto Event Sparks New Connections
Last month, I received the text, “Chloe, you need to come to Toronto this weekend!” It was from a fellow alumna and friend Ali Price ’19 who was hosting a Laurentian Reception in Toronto. I immediately said yes, as I could not miss an opportunity to be in an exciting city while connecting with alumni.
A friend and I drove the quick four and a half hours up to Toronto to get to the event, following Thursday classes. On the ride up we chatted, sang songs, and took in the scenery around us. We ended up at the event a bit late but were immediately embraced by many friendly faces and the familiar scarlet and brown colors.
I had never been to a networking event, so I was nervous. What do I say? What do I do? My worries dissipated when I realized that the alumni were coming up to me. They were so excited, intrigued and interested in my story, while also sharing their own. I realized that we connected over so much, the conversations could be light and fun: “My all-time favorite pizza has got to be Bobs." “That film professor is still there? He was the reason I pursued marketing,” “I think we should start a fundraiser to fix up the Ticker.”
While other times, the conversations challenged me and made me truly consider my future plans: “Where do you see yourself after graduation?” “What types of things interest you, past the books and lectures?” Through talking and munching on yummy poutine, I started to feel a vibrant and loving feeling from the room. So many people were jumping from person to person, chatting and laughing, while meeting people that went through the same events that they themselves experienced at St. Lawrence. Whether this was through crazy icebreaker games at Orientation, or enjoying the famous Dana brunches, we were Laurentians just simply talking, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. The things that people said would stick with me throughout my time at St. Lawrence, “I had no idea who I wanted to be, but I found my way through the help of the Laurentian community and my own confidence.” Each and every individual I spoke to was so caring and willing to talk about everything and anything. They shared embarrassing stories, tales of strengths and, most importantly, their love for SLU.
This event really opened my eyes to how large the St. Lawrence network truly is. Yes, we have the third-best alumni network in the country, but we're more than just a statistic: we're a family always looking to help one another. The love that I felt from that event was bigger than I could have imagined. We ended up spending time with the younger alumni, hearing stories of the past, future and even sharing our own admirations for the upcoming class. I was surprised at the amount of Canadian native alumni that attended St. Lawrence, making the network not only domestic but international. Jason Price, Ali’s father and host of the event, noted, “We’re starting a new SLU tradition in the six to not only share the Laurentian experience but to continue it.” Those words really stuck with me and made me come to understand what really makes this place so special; it’s the people, not just the place, that we're all connected to. We can have an event in another country and continue to feel the same love we would if we had been in Canton.
On the walk home from the event, Ali said something that summed up my feelings from the weekend, and my thoughts on SLU as a whole. “Our stories are different and constantly changing, but it is the scarlet and brown that ties us together for life. Wherever we may find ourselves in the world, we know that we will always be part of a bigger family at SLU.” This event solidified for me that Canton is home base, the beginning of it all, but the people are the ones that keep the traditions, the love and connections going for years to come.