Greetings to my fellow alumni, parents, students and friends of Brown Club OC. Farewell (and good riddance) to 2020, and hello 2021! What took you so long?!
2020 has been a challenging year for your club, but also a time of growth and innovation. We began the year interviewing students at Corona del Mar HS on Sunday morning, January 26th. Unfortunately, we will all remember that as the tragic day where, one mile away, Kobe Bryant went to church before boarding a helicopter with his daughter and friends.
Then, on March 9th, what turned out to be our last in-person event for the year was “Successful Essay Writing” featuring Dave Marcus ’82.
After that, COVID hit in earnest. We had planned to do an Open Curriculum 50th anniversary party featuring a discussion with Prof. Rose McDermott on Emotional Manipulation of Political Identity. This event was cancelled just as lockdowns began. Fortunately, like everyone else this year, we re-imagined the gathering as a streamlined, virtual event in June held in collaboration with Brown Club of San Diego.
The success of this event led us to further collaborations including a June Day of Service fundraiser for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. A virtual tour and lecture raised over $1,000 for PMMC from our members as well as our sister clubs in Los Angeles and San Diego. Donors at the $20 level were promised an in-person facility tour, and we will fulfill that obligation once operations return to normal.
An even bigger collaboration took place September 13th when your club teamed up with the Brown alumni clubs in Phoenix, San Diego, L.A., San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Honolulu for the first-ever virtual event of its kind to welcome the Class of ’24 to Brown.
This event was hosted by BC San Francisco and featured an emcee, a live welcoming address by Christina Paxson, a general gathering of ~200 matriculating students, 25 smaller breakout rooms facilitated by young alumni and Brown students, and a final virtual toast to the Class of ‘24 with Brown logo mugs that were mailed out to students in advance. The event required extensive pre-planning and logistical work by volunteers from each of the 11 clubs, and one of the by-products was a new inter-club camaraderie that will endure beyond COVID.
Soon afterwards, in October, BCOC led another collaboration with our Pacific region clubs hosting author Jamie Metzl ’90 for “Coronavirus Broke the World: How Can We Build Back Better?”
500 people from 10 states and three countries registered for the event, and the recording is accessible through our website and YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9X1dOUVa6o&feature=youtu.be
BCOC looks forward to resuming in-person gatherings but will continue, for now, engaging our members through our newly launched website and through virtual gatherings including two new events you won't want to miss. One event will feature Political Science professor Juliet Hooker,
and the other will be a discussion with acclaimed author John Barry ‘68.
To receive updates on future events, be sure to subscribe to our new website at https://www.browncluboc.org/
As a side note, BCOC has suspended member dues and is endeavoring to make all events free – whenever possible – during these unusual times. Dues contributions via our website are optional but still gratefully accepted. You will be notified of any updates to this policy.
On behalf of your board, I gratefully thank you for your continued support, wish you good health and prosperity in 2021, and look forward to seeing you at upcoming events whether virtual or in-person.
-Scott Westerfield ‘79 President, Brown Club Orange County