Happiness is... Alumni Weekend 2015

Alumni Weekend 2015 Principal's Lunch View more photos from the weekend on Flickr or on our Facebook page.

Happiness is… Alumni Weekend 2015. Our 12th annual Alumni Weekend gave more than 600 alumni and friends a great reason to return to King’s for a celebration on the theme of happiness.

Since it was founded in 1829, hundreds of thousands of bright sparks and world changers have experienced King’s and the highs and lows of university life. We wanted to use this Alumni Weekend to focus on reminiscing about the happy times at King’s as well as making memories for the future.

We welcomed back alumni from 20 countries including Belgium, the USA and Malaysia and who represented almost every graduation year since 1947, and this year was particularly special for alumni in for the classes of 1955, 1965, 1970, 1975 and 1989, who celebrated 60, 50, 45, 40 and 25 years since they graduated.

These groups had a great excuse to get together at the Reunion Reception and Principal’s Lunch. There were also opportunities to mingle with old friends and meet new ones at our Saturday morning coffee morning, where everyone enjoyed a healthy fresh juice from alumnus Dan Thomson (Philosophy, 2012), who set up his own bar while still studying and now runs a successful juice business.

Dan ThompsonDan in action at alumni weekend. More photos from the weekend on our Alumni Instagram account

We explored our theme of happiness with a number of lectures – and are grateful to all our alumni and volunteer academics who helped us put on a fascinating programme. Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram discussed what makes countries happy and unhappy - and if it matters, while Professor John Stokes studied the writings of Oscar Wilde and asked: does happiness lie in doing nothing?

We then put our thoughts into actions, with a session hosted by The KCL Islamic Society, showcasing their ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) Project. Funded by alumni donations, the group's activities include creating gift boxes for children in hospital and visiting a local care home to help reduce isolation for older people. At Alumni Weekend, they invited alumni to fill rucksacks with essential items to give out to the homeless.

On Sunday morning, we got in touch with our zen side at the meditation event held in the serene surroundings of the Tibetan Peace Garden, an oasis of calm near the chaotic Elephant and Castle roundabout. This session was facilitated by King's Krishna Consciousness Society, whose meditation gatherings are supported by alumni donations. We were also lucky to have alumna, Jo White (MA in International Peace and Security, 1999) leading a great yoga workshop in the same location.

Food was never far from our minds, and we learned about the various ways in which food can affect your mood and feelings, followed by an Afternoon Tea with the theme of ‘Our Favourite Things’. There was also the chance to stretch our legs with an ‘Epicurean Delight’ walk to discover the thriving London food scene.

Afternoon Tea

In fact, all our London walks proved most popular, as we explored the City to find hidden secrets and the dark side of Victorian London. We also enjoyed exclusive events at the British Museum – tours of the indigenous Australia and Greek Art exhibitions, each prefaced by a lecture from King’s experts Dr Ian Henderson and Dr Michael Squire. Our most popular event was our most timely, an examination of the Magna Carta from Dr Andrew Blick (Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History) followed by a visit to the 800th anniversary Magna Carta exhibition.

Back at the Strand, our interactive workshops gave alumni the chance to learn some great coaching tips and to learn more about our mentoring scheme, King's Connect, an online community where alumni and students can find an alumni mentor, or become a mentor. King's Connect currently has over 700 alumni from over 26 countries.

And as a final lesson of how to ‘leave happiness behind’, alumni received some valuable information about how to make or change their will – and learned what a difference a legacy can make to the work of the College. They also heard how many students are benefitting from generous gifts from past alumni.

Before they returned home, we invited alumni to write their tips for a happy life and other notes of wisdom to be hidden in library books for future generations to read - a fitting end to a happy and harmonious weekend. 

>> If you have some good photos or stories to share from this weekend we’d love to hear them! Just email us or upload them to social media and use the #HappyKings

>> Tell us what you thought of Alumni Weekend so we can adapt and improve for next year - fill out the Alumni Weekend survey.



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