Lang Seeks Elusive Alumni for 25th Anniversary Celebration
Mark Statman keeps in touch with many of his former students from his 25 years at Lang. They invite him to weddings and baby naming ceremonies. But after over five months of existence, "Lang @ 25," the Facebook page created to promote celebration of Lang's 25th anniversary that he co-administers, still has not gained 200 members.
"Since it's the first time we've ever done it, it can only grow," said Statman.
Statman, who has taught at Lang for 25 consistent years, is overseeing Lang's 25th anniversary celebrations, Lang @ 25, along with fellow faculty member Mark Larrimore. The project, he said, is "slowly but surely catching on." At a recent faculty meeting, Statman tried to get faculty to encourage current students to get involved and reach out to whomever they can find.
"Lang alums are a bit hard to find because most had stronger connections to fellow students and faculty than to the school itself," Larrimore said.
Statman and Larrimore have already planned a number of events. On April 29, Lang alumnae Emily Skillings and Melissa Febos are curating and hosting a Lang alumni showcase. They were invited by Statman and Larrimore respectively, and are both still involved in some way with Lang.
Skillings now choreographs and presents her own work, dances with Saifan Shmerer's company - an up-and-coming company in the dance world - works for a female publishing collective called Belladonna, publishes her own poems, and is a personal assistant/archivist for a poet. Skillings said she continues to dance and write with classmates and teachers she met at Lang. "I think it's really important to stay involved with something that helped to shape you," she said.
Febos currently teaches a Reading new York City class at Lang, entitled "Outsider City." She also teaches at New York University, Sarah Lawrence and State University of New York: Purchase. Last year she published a memoir, "Whip Smart," and is currently working on a novel. "Lang was the perfect school for me - simultaneously rigorous and intimate," Febos said. She also said that she models her teaching methods after her Lang professors. Also, alumni are set to teach the freshmen Reading New York City classes, announced by Larrimore at the last faculty meeting.
Some of the other events involved with Lang @ 25 are a discussion by Herb Cole on April 29, and a panel on sex work, feminism and The New School on March 22. Febos will be one of the panelists at the event.
"It's interesting to see what a student of yours is doing that you had 15 years ago," Statman said.
Febos keeps in touch with a lot of her friends from her time at Lang and with many of her teachers. "It's been such a pleasure to watch their careers and lives progress in parallel ways," she said.
Plenty of the alumni linger around the school. Alumni run the Lang Coffeehouse Cabaret, some are involved in the Queerocracy group, and many teach classes at Lang.
Of the alumni who seem to disappear, Febos said that Lang students tend to be seekers whose path takes them off a more traditional route.
"As a former Lang student who definitely spent some time in the ether," Febos added, "I can say with confidence that we also come back."