The point of no return is officially here: departure day. Naturally, we invited our families (including teary eyed mothers), friends and colleagues to see us off and celebrate the madness that is about to ensue as we begin driving there and back again. Shoutout to Jen Rork ‘95, our grand graphic designer who brought the RV to life! Ephelia even made a guest appearance and got to hold an adorable puppy named Venti. Nelly (what we eph-ectionately call the RV) brought lots of attention to Park St and a bunch of our colleagues stopped by to see us off. Thank you all for your support in getting us moooooooving. Fortunately, Juan didn’t actually leave Mike behind and the clip here was merely staged.
After a couple hundred miles, a cow with a heart on its head, and only one missed exit, we made our first alumni stop in Lebanon, NY to visit Aaron Carvell ‘99 (also married to an Eph, Jasmine Kellogg ‘01!), distiller and marketing director of Old Home Distillery. A family owned business for three generations, Aaron and his brother returned to their hometown a few years back to lead the charge of Old Home Distillers. Our conversation highlighted a few key elements: family, learning how to learn and problem solve, non-linear paths, and deep appreciation for community, Williams and otherwise. Fittingly, this connected with the theme of Departure and how we bring ourselves into new spaces, carrying with us lessons from our own journeys. A lively and warm host, Aaron wished us well with some stickers and keepsakes to go as we ventured forth to stop number 2: Rochester.
Already behind schedule, we began the trek to meet with Senator Samra Brouk ’08, who was recently elected to represent the 55th district of the New York State Senate, based in Rochester and its eastern suburbs. We scrambled to find her office, but eventually did and had a lovely conversation in the courtyard of her new office space (which was actually a space she engaged with as a child!). A desire to make an impact in her hometown of Rochester as well as a winter study course at Williams, among other factors, led to a series of ‘sparks’ along the way that lit the fire to take on the challenge of running for public office. Her amazing trajectory from Peace Corps to the Senate is an inspiration and she encourages any women or femme-identifying persons interested in running for office to reach out and she’d love to connect. A special kudos to her amazing assistant, Emily for all the help in making this happen!
To wind down, we visited Juan’s classmate David Brown ‘07 at his home in Pittsford, NY. We got to meet a few local alums (including Rochester regional president Danner Hickman ‘05), who willingly posed for a picture with Nelly. This was a welcome close to the evening as we shared Williams tales, ate pizza, and celebrated being together. Special shoutout to David for letting us stay in his house before we throw out our backs in the RV.
One day down, twenty-nine to go. Next stop: Niagara Falls, Cleveland and Toledo!
Adventure is out there!
Fun fact: Lake Seneca is the deepest of the Finger Lakes at 188 meters, putting its bottom below sea level.