Festivities and events for the Sesquicentennial have been an integral part of this school year’s planning. As this is Gustavus’s 150 anniversary, the community is putting forth a tremendous amount of effort to make this a great year while getting people across campus— and across nations—involved, both directly and indirectly.
As a means to get alumni connected back to Gustavus for its Sesquicentennial, Flat Gus will be circumnavigating the globe.
Flat Gus, inspired by the book Flat Stanley, is a reminder that no matter where you are or how long it’s been since you’ve been on campus, you are still a part of the Gustavus Family. The creation of Flat Gus stems from the Class of 2012, namely, a committee dubbed Seniors 150.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story of Flat Stanley, it’s a children’s book written by Jeff Brown in 1964 about a boy named Stanley. Stanley and his brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by his father to display pictures and posters. During the night, however, the board falls from the wall and flattens Stanley in his sleep. Stanley manages to survive and travels from place to place in his altered state, sliding under doors and flying as a kite.
The Sesquicentennial website, gustavus.edu/150 shows where Flat Gus has been. Flat Gus, which is passed around in the form of pamphlets with different photos representing Gustavus, is sent out attempting to reach all 26,000 alumni.
“Flat Gus is mailed out to Gusties with the hopes of connecting to every single one of them. It’s something fun for all Gusties to take part in,” Communication Studies Senior Matt Wasson said.
“It lets Gusties remember where they’ve come from and hopefully helps them reminisce about their times on the hill. The goal is to reach out to fellow friends that we may not have talked to in a while,” Wasson said.
Wasson, head of the Seniors 150 committee, elaborates on the incredible amount of effort that has been put into creating Flat Gus.
“Seniors 150 is a huge component for creating and implementing Flat Gus,” Wasson said. The group, compiled of outstanding leaders from different organizations, consists of some 20 members made entirely of Gustavus Seniors.
“It was student driven and student led. The committee was a great sounding board for the campus. The group discussed how students could get involved and be heard. We wanted students to feel like they were a part of this year; that they were definitely included,” Wasson said.
Seniors 150 played a significant role in executing the plan for Flat Gus. The committee went out and took pictures in the Gus and Gustina Lion suits in locations around campus and St.Peter that represent Gustavus in its best light. Places such as the Gustie Den, the Caf, and the BookMark are all familiar locations that were chosen to represent the campus as a whole.
Brainstorming since 2009, Assistant to the President for Special Projects in the President’s Office, Alumni, Administrator and Head Resident Barb Larson Taylor first gave way to the idea when someone proposed to pass something tangible along for everyone to touch around the world.
“We wanted to come up with something that would engage as many alum as we could,” Taylor said. “Although there are many people joining us for the Sesquicentennial, we know there are many people who can’t come to campus, so we came up with something that would be intentionally easy for them to get involved and show their support.”