Virtual May Day 2021

Springtime on campus

A virtual May Day experience

This year, Bluffton University has followed our #ProtectTheDam plan to keep the campus community as safe as possible. As part of our #ProtectTheDam plan, Bluffton University’s campus has remained closed to visitors this academic year so the traditional May Day ceremony for seniors and alumni will not happen. However, the Alumni Office will host a virtual May Day experience!

Alumni and friends will have the opportunity to engage with Virtual May Day activities hosted on Bluffton’s website and social media pages all week. This will include virtual reunion-style events, a virtual May Day Gala Concert pre-recorded and live streamed, a Virtual 5K, coloring contest and more. Stay up to date on Bluffton’s website and social media channels!

Sunday, May 2

2 p.m. - Class of 1961 Zoom Reunion, Reunion registration

Monday, MAY 3

7 p.m. - Classes of 1984-1988 Zoom Reunion, Reunion registration

7 p.m. - Class of 1967 Zoom Reunion, Reunion registration

Wednesday, MAY 5

7 p.m. - Wednesday with President Wood, be part of a Zoom with Bluffton President Jane Wood, Zoom registration

Thursday, May 6

7 p.m. - Math and Science Zoom Reunion, Reunion registration!

Friday, May 7

7:30 p.m. - May Day Gala Concert, "Songs of Love, Songs under Moonlight", streamed online. Hosted by the music department, this performance will include selections from musical theater and the opera stage performed by Bluffton students. 

SaturDAY, MAY 8

7:30 p.m. - May Day Gala Concert, "Songs of Love, Songs under Moonlight", streamed online. Hosted by the music department, this performance will include selections from musical theater and the opera stage performed by Bluffton students. 

Adopt-A-senior

A big thank you to the nearly 100 alumni that signed up to help with our Adopt-A-Senior letter writing project! It has been phenomenal to see how many alumni from different class years volunteered for this effort to welcome members of the Class of 2021 into the Bluffton Alumni community! For those who volunteered, your assigned senior has been emailed to you along with instructions on writing and submitting your letter. Please ensure that your letter is received by the office before April 28.  Contact Jessi Samuel,  annual giving manager, if you have any additional questions. 

Class reunions

Do you want to reconnect with your classmates? The Alumni Office is here to help! We would love to assist in planning a Virtual Class Reunion for the week of May 2-7, 2021. We will help you select a day and time, set up the Zoom meeting and promote it to your classmates. Contact Jessi Samuel, annual giving manager, to begin the process!

Beaver Coloring Contest 

Mascot coloring pages
Future Beavers ages 5-12 can enter the Bluffton Beaver coloring contest for an opportunity to win one of three prizes! Download the Mascot graduation coloring pages to decorate and email a copy of the final artwork to samuelj@bluffton.edu by 1 p.m. EST Friday, May 7, to enter the contest. Winners will be selected on Friday and featured on Bluffton’s social media accounts. 

Virtual 5k Walk/run

Participants can gear up for this years Virtual May Day 5k Walk/Run. All are welcome to participate. Make it a family event, bring the dog and head to a local park! Snap a ‘Virtual May Day 5k’ picture to be entered in a drawing with prizes. Here are the different ways to enter: 

  1. Post your picture on social media and tag us on Facebook or Instagram 
  2. Direct message your picture to us on Facebook or Instagram
  3. Send your picture via email to samuelj@bluffton.edu 

Winners will be selected during the week and announced on Bluffton’s social media accounts! 

Legacy program

Did you know Bluffton University has a Legacy Program? This program is for children and grandchildren of Bluffton alumni. Starting as newborns, Bluffton legacy kids can receive gifts from J. Denny and Jenny on various birthdays, and Bluffton awards a renewable $1,000 Alumni Grant to new first-year or transfer students whose parents, grandparents or siblings are Bluffton alumni or current students.

The History of May Day

Bluffton students, parents and alumni celebrate May Day each year on an early May weekend. This celebration includes alumni reunions, graduation events and student activities.

An important part of graduation weekend is the May Day ceremony, one of Bluffton’s oldest traditions. It intertwines the past with alumni reunions, the present by honoring this year's graduates, and the future when honored first-year students perform the traditional Maypole dance. 

The May Day tradition at Bluffton University dates back to 1910 and continues to feature the Maypole dance, perhaps the most spectacular event of the weekend.

Each year, 16 first-year students, eight men and eight women, are chosen to dance the Maypole dance. The dance takes place around a large pole. The dancers, wearing colorful, Germanic-style costumes, encircle the pole. Then each couple in turn grabs two streamers that are hung from the top of the pole. The dancers proceed to weave the streamers around the pole. When the dancers have wound their streamers part way down the pole, the weaving stops and each couple is reunited.

m dance May Day celebrations were once popular across the United States at many colleges and universities. However, they are now rare.

May Day celebrations date back to 238 B.C. in Rome. The Roman holiday was a celebration of the goddess Flora and the coming of spring. In England, May Day was a celebration of flowers and the coming of spring after a cold winter. The May Day dance represented the joy of the coming of spring and the streamers represented the rays of the sun.

At Bluffton the May Day celebration represents the end of a school year for students, the beginning of a new chapter for seniors and the remembrance of times past for alumni. The tradition weaves together past, present and future around the Maypole in a never-ending circle.

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