Behind the scenes of Princeton’s annual alumni event, a small number of dedicated student trucking teams work tirelessly to keep Reunions running smoothly. Responsible for driving a fleet of large box trucks, crews of student truckers single-handedly transport all of an assigned reunion site’s daily supplies from the dining halls to the tents and back. Within a typical 18-hour workday—you read that right—these students continuously load, unload, and reload their cargo of food and equipment. In order to service the three large-scale meals that take place each day at the sites, they rise early in the morning when the rest of campus is returning from the revelry, and they retire late in the evening when the next night’s party is hitting full swing. Reunions may be the second-largest beer order per year in the U.S., but the success of the four-day, hard-partying festivities depends on a committed group of hard-working Princetonians.
As the fences rise around campus and eager undergrads begin the hunt for housing and wristbands, a veteran student trucker reflects on just how differently these busy workers view the wild week of Reunions.
1. Interim Housing
Non-truckers: Someplace to crash in between parties. Guaranteed beds for the workers and authorized performers, spare floor space for everyone else. Frequently a dozen people to a double where nobody really sleeps.
Truckers: A guaranteed bed somewhere that inevitably overlooks a booming tent while lacking AC. Site of a nightly struggle to suffer through either stifling heat or a deafening throwback playlist.
2. “I beat my personal drinking record for four days straight.”
3. Sleep schedule
Non-truckers: up till dawn
Truckers: up at dawn
4. Meeting people
Non-truckers: Introductions on the dance floor. Miraculous offers of last-minute summer internships.
Truckers: Group naps in the black box. Helping hands all pitching in regardless of specific truck assignment.
5. New skills
Non-truckers: Networking drunk
Truckers: Sleeping standing up
Non-truckers: Got what? Got wasted?
Truckers: I have no clue why those giant orange beverage coolers are called that, but I never want to see one of them again.
Non truckers: For the wait staff, a white collared shirt, black pants, nice black shoes. Clip on bowtie provided. For performers, costumes, formal attire, black and orange everywhere.
Truckers: A black t-shirt with the Princeton crest and Campus Dining on the front, and the stencil of an eight-wheeler on the sleeve. Athletic shorts. Sneakers that will likely be thrown out afterwards. Basically, prepped for anything: endless spills from leftover food disposal, charcoal and grease stains from handling the grills, various sticky liquids from leaky gots, soil from the dozens of potted orange flower centerpieces that must be distributed and recollected each day, and plenty of sweat.
Non-truckers: It can wait
Truckers: Sacrificing an extra hour and a half of zzzs one night because you have three shirts for four days of work and they’re all in worse shape than your OA tee
9. My random Reunions roommate just passed out fully clothed in the shower. What should I do?
Non-trucker: McCosh her.
Trucker: Yell, “You forgot to lock the truck!” and watch her wake up in a panic.
10. The end of Reunions
Non-truckers: Despite the weird and desperate drunken alums, the overcrowded tents that went all night long, and the massive hangover, the great times were worth it. Can’t wait for next year!
Truckers: Despite the taxing heat, the long days of sore muscles and aching feet, and the impossibility of attending a single party, the overtime was worth it. Can’t wait for payday!