Blog Post Details Alum's Reunion Weekend

April 29, 2010

Over 100 alumni gathered at Carnegie Mellon on April 17 over Spring Carnival Weekend in celebration of the Information Networking Institute's twentieth anniversary. Between reconnecting with classmates, meeting Carnegie Mellon friends and squeezing every bit of fun possible into the weekend, alumni seemed to have a wonderful time. One of the INI alumni sent and email to share with us his blog post about the event. Thank you, Gurpreet Singh, for writing about your reflections on this very exciting weekend! The INI looks forward to future anniversary events when we can see alumni again, along with new faces too.

The blog post has been provided below with Gurpreet's permission.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Down by the Bay: Pittsburgh!! (Go to the original blog post with photos)

A city is defined, in part, by the people you knew in it, the people you know in it, and the memories you share. Who'd have thought that the steel city, the city of champions, the city of bridges, the city of first meetings, the city of sleepless nights, of intense rivalries, and amazing bonding, would one day, so soon, add one more fun filled memory to its cap?

Spring carnival is always a huge event on campus. Even as students, we would always find time to soak in the festivities, and just have an all out fun time. This year will be a hard one to follow up. Maybe not for the spring carnival itself, but for the added alumni celebration that drew us to the city after almost 2 years of being away.

Friday April 16

Landing in Pittsburgh always provides some amazing views of the three rivers, downtown and Heinz field. This time, however, the lack of sleep catching up to me, I was forced to miss the circle around Pittsburgh before we finally hit the tarmac. I woke up with a jolt, and the sound of the flight attendant welcoming me to Pittsburgh.

Walking past the familiar Steeler and the T-Rex at the gates brought back memories of the first time I touch Pittsburgh, tired, lost, and with the company of a very friendly Pittsburgher who guided me to baggage claim. This time, having lived there for two years, only two years ago, I marched down familiar territory and like always, stood in line for the arterial airport shuttle, the 28X. A change of route in the bus was a bit disheartening, as it skipped the Robinson Shopping center on its way to the university.

We had managed to get ourselves a hotel right in the heart of Oakland, next to the Cathedral of Learning. By the time I had reached, a couple of people had already checked in. This was the start of all the hellos throughout the weekend. As I freshened up from the flight, a fourth member of the early arrivals reached our room.

It was a beautiful day, the sun smiling down his warmth upon the visitors. While the girls got ready, we decided to go up the Cathedral, and capture all of CMU from an aerial vantage point. The garish new building marred the view for the most part, but it was nice to get a view of the buildings that housed our classes, and friends.

What followed was a series of "we have to go here." Lunch was from the kitchen at Salem's and quickly disappeared outside Pitt campus on Forbes. A stop at INI to absorb the changes, meet the staff, and of course to play some pool and we were off to the UC.

Pittsburgh weather showed us her fickle nature here. A clear bright sunny day, suddenly turned dark and grey, and before we knew it, a quick downpour followed. This was what was called rain, not the "drizzle" we get out here in California, that seems to freak everyone out. As the rain seemed to die out, we decided to head back to our hotel and get ready for the game. A quick duck into PHI to pre-game, and we were set.

As for the game, all I can say is "Lets go Pens." Crosby's awesome stick-play in the third period sealed the intense, yet low scoring game.

Joe Mama's and then a long night of catching up over drinks, and we were already well on our way into Saturday.

Saturday April 17

Its never easy to wake up early after a long night, but this was Pittsburgh, alarm clocks drove us for two years here. Getting ready we were joined by a few more friends who couldn't take the previous day off. It is amazing how rarely one meets people in spite of them being so close, yet it takes a trip to the other side of the country to reconnect.

Lunch was where we finally got to see almost everybody. Hugs and hellos greeted us all as we caught up with familiar and were introduced to the unfamiliar faces. We found a table and sat down to lunch, catching up on missed times. What followed was a panel discussion by alumni talking about their experiences in the world, and how their time at school shaped their lives. In the midst of this all, I acquired and then lost Scotty, and we got a formal introduction of new relationships.

About 15 of us just walked around the university, remembering times as we strolled past the various buildings we had come to know. CIC, Wean, Doherty, Hamerschlag, the Cut, the Fence, Warner Hall, UC, the tennis courts, and the INI. One can never talk about the INI and not talk about the pool table. A few of us congregated there, a few of us sat in our first year clusters. Memories drove the various sets of roommates to have pictures taken in front of their respective buildings in the area.

Soon it was dinner time, and we were off to the Carnegie Museum Cafe. A lot of mingling with the crowd, catching up on old times, discussing new ideas. While talking to a bunch of the alums, and a few of the students here from Greece, I even got a chance to talk to the photographer for the night. Cameras were discussed and possible ideas of pictures too.

As the night wore on, there was a need for an after party, and the alums all headed out to Doc's Place on Walnut Street. The night only began there, and moved onto Zen, before we headed out to Duquesne Incline and then Mt Washington for a burst of late night photography.

Four am, and hungry we headed out to Eat'n'Park to be greeted by some amazing "breakfast". Back in bed at 530 in the morning, and we were done with Day 2 of Pittsburgh.

Sunday April 18

Sunday was our final day in the city. There was still so much we hadn't done. Yet, we still had the important matter of checking out of the hotel to do as well. Getting that wrapped up allowed people some leeway as they went to their haunts, and others went to walk in awe along Devonshire St once again.

We headed out to Pamela's for brunch that became lunch and gorged on the hotcakes. A short walk around the Strip District, an area we never saw as students, had us feeling like we were in a quaint old town. I tried looking for Steelers and Penguins merchandise, but apparently Sunday afternoon is not the best time to shop in the area.

Soon it was time for farewells. The New Yorkers, the Texan and a Californian took a cab to the airport, the locals headed back home. That left the four of us on one flight out later in the evening. Two were reminiscing their days together, while two of us, decided to head out to Point State Park. It is incredible, having lived so close to the park, and having actually been in the area several times, we never actually ventured to the park. This was soon corrected.

While still under construction, the park provided some nice vistas of the city. A stroll through the park, and then across a bridge, and we were soon right outside Heinz Field. To be at the home ground of the most successful team in the country, the capital of Steeler Nation, was a memory I shall treasure. Until, of course, I watch a game there!

Finally, we had to bid adieu to the city. We drove out to the airport, but there was more to be done. Meeting old friends is always something that manages to rekindle lost memories. Meeting someone you've known since kindergarten takes that one level further. We caught up at the airport, for an hour, just before my flight out. The Campion bond holds strong.

Through security, and off to the gate, we discover, that Pittsburgh had a surprise in store for us. Due to delayed planes, we could not leave the city. We were given one extra night in the area, to just soak it all in, and in the Hyatt no less. Dinner at the Hyatt, watching my 2nd Pens game in 3 days, was a beautiful cap to the entire weekend. Of course, the Pens won!

Thanks to all the staff at the INI for all the hard work involved in putting this thing together. Its been only two years since I left, but if two years can cause such happiness, and a perfect reunion amongst friends scattered across the country, one can only imagine what time will do. The event was simply superb, and was a lovely way to get us all together. Great job, and look forward to the next one!