By Nash Wills, Staff Writer
In what initially began as an uphill battle, this past Saturday’s Regional Night proved to be a success, drawing large numbers of T-birds and demonstrating that intangible we all like to refer to as the Thunderbird Mystique, which differentiates us from other graduate level business schools. With the Thunderbird Event Center (TEC) having been booked for another event and a large chunk of the student body having left campus for the Net Impact Conference, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding the celebrated event. The skepticism proved unwarranted.
A big thanks goes out to TSG, Jonaki Moitra (MS ’16, India), and Andrea Kaloush (MAGAM ’17, US) who came through in the clutch and pulled off a uniquely brilliant evening. As Jonaki described it to me: “When I heard the venue for the Regional Night changed, I was initially worried. But later I thought we should try making the event look so cool outside that no one would think that this wasn’t planned. This was my last regional night and the most challenging and memorial event that I planned!” Andrea reflected her sentiments: “Preparing for this past regional night, though challenging, was nothing short of inspiring. Seeing how students came together to create such a beautiful event when we were faced with several obstacles and limitations made me so proud to be a part of this community.” Justin Lorsch (MAGAM ’17), who was also a major organizer of, and volunteer for the event believes that the outside pavilion will become a “real contender for future regional nights” and hopes “that it gets put into a rotation of regional night options.” Other students and performers expressed their appreciation for the new venue too. Scott Ridout (MBA ’15, US), who celebrated his last regional night as a student and also played in the band Global Sounds said that his “favorite part was the relaxed outdoor atmosphere” and that he “looks forward to attending many more as an alumni.”
For many students, this past regional night was their last one and was provocative of nostalgic memories. Alumni Relations Chair Tion Barnaby (MBA ’15, Jamaica) stated that “the most recent regional night was enjoyable. While watching the performances on stage, I began to reflect and realized that my T-bird journey is almost over. It was a bittersweet moment but I find comfort knowing that I will always have an unbreakable bond with my fellow T-birds.” Global Sounds front man Carlos Melendez (MS ’15, Venezuela) felt similarly: “Heading into my last Regional Night I tried to be as involved as I could. Even though I was hesitant at first because of the change of venue and other restrictions it turned out to be probably the most fun regional night I’ve attended.” Graduating students David Roman (MBA ’15, US) and Shivan Perera (MBA ’15, US) describe the night perfectly.
David: “It was surreal that night at the Pub. Leaning against a high table, I surveyed the familiar scene with bittersweet affection: the cozy bar-side fellowship and whimsical patio chatter drifting into the cool night air… air that was just hours before abuzz with wild, friendly festivities of my last regional night as a student here at Thunderbird. That bittersweet pang again, standing there on stage my eyes drifted around all those faces I knew and loved as colleagues and fellow adventurers. Seeing them drift past as I served goulash earlier in the event recalled to my mind some sort of memorial to all those times we spent together on campus. Then broke through this haze the rowdy music of Global Sounds, the vibrant dances of our cultural clubs; the unforgettable moments like Suprabhat’s performance: The fond melancholy gave way to joyful abandon, and we just danced the night away.”
And Shivan: “This regional night was truly a bittersweet experience. Despite the initial frustration and changes surrounding the event Thunderbirds (as always) managed to collaborate and create a booming success story. For many of us this is the last regional night we will be able to experience as students. As many of my classmates and friends prepare these last few weeks to walk across the stage at graduation I’m truly grateful I got the opportunity to share one last crazy eventful regional night with them. These nights are what brings us together and form the memories that we will remember each other by in years to come. It truly showcases what makes us T-birds and how we act as a family. Big congrats to all the students that are graduating this December! This one’s for you!”
Regional Night has always been and will always be a seminal event at Thunderbird. It is something that, as students, draws us all together and presents us with an opportunity to showcase and combine our unique cultures. To end with a quote from Jessica Knutzon (MBA ’15, US/Brazil): “Regional night is such an important event every semester. I think it speaks volumes when so many people put their heart and souls into planning it, but the most rewarding aspect is the turnout and watching your classmates have fun together. This event came out so well and as many students’ last regional night it will be quite memorable.”
For more photos from the event check out the Thunderbird Flickr account.