Muhlenberg holds annual THAW event

A look into the planning process for this year’s THAW

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Alumni celebrate THAW in the Lehigh Valley. Photo courtesy of Muhlenberg's Office of Alumni Affairs.

On Jan. 18, Muhlenberg held its annual THAW event, which takes place on the first Thursday of the spring semester. THAW, which stands for “Toast Heard Around the World,” is a signature alumni engagement event. It is the one night each year when alumni and friends gather across the country, around the world and online to celebrate the College and each other. 

THAW was created in 2014 to provide an opportunity for alumni scattered around the world to celebrate Muhlenberg on one common night. THAW started with 35 cities around the United States in 2014, and has grown to over 50 virtual and in-person events in 2024. THAW was able to thrive throughout the pandemic with the introduction of virtual gatherings, which allows for class years and affinity groups to gather more easily. This continues to be a popular option as we come out of the restrictions of the pandemic. To date, THAW has engaged over 10,000 alumni, guests and students. 

One of the student hosts, Dylan De Magistris ‘24, said, “As far as my part went, me as well as my other hosts Nicole [Tahmoosh ‘24] and Justin [Billich ‘24], wrote the script for the event where we introduced the different performance acts, prizes and the end of the night toast! An interesting fact is that alumni from all around the world host their own THAW parties/celebrations at the same date/time we host it here at Muhlenberg! THAW is an excellent activity for students to get engaged with the Muhlenberg community through the celebration of the place that brought us all together. For me, THAW was an excellent opportunity to collaborate with different offices, performance groups and new friends as well as gain leadership and public speaking experience.”

Brad Ludwig, director of alumni affairs and chief organizer for THAW, said, “Our number one goal of THAW is to engage alumni and students from throughout the world to reconnect with the College or make new friends in their community or affinity group.”

THAW is organized by the Office of Alumni Affairs in conjunction with alumni volunteer hosts who secure venues and promote their events to alumni living in their area or affinity. This year, nearly 80 alumni volunteers helped coordinate and plan 51 events throughout the country, and there is even an international alumni group that meets virtually. 

In addition to the alumni THAW events, Muhlenberg also hosts a student THAW each year. The student THAW is a cooperative effort between Student Affairs, Sodexo and Alumni Affairs. Nearly 350 students attended this year’s student THAW. Billich says, “My experience was great! I served as one of the three hosts for the evening, and I think that the biggest takeaways from the event were that the energy was high, the performance groups did an amazing job and I’m so lucky to have hosted the event alongside Dylan DeMagistris and Tahmoosh, two of my close friends. We served previously as orientation team leads together and it was a ton of fun to team up one more time before we graduate this spring.”

Ludwig recalls a quote that was made to the writer of last year’s THAW article, emphasizing that it still rings true: “A really big takeaway is that while student THAW is always so much fun, the fun doesn’t end after you graduate! While you might not participate in student THAW after you graduate, there are many alumni who host THAW events in their cities at local venues. Alumni across the world raised a glass to Muhlenberg on the same day as our students. Student THAW is only a piece of the larger THAW program, and we hope you continue to find a THAW event in your city after you graduate!” 

Next year’s event will be held on Jan. 16, 2025.

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