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Lehigh-Lafayette goes international

Ali Bachani '07 will gather with 50 people at the White Horse Pub in London to watch the Lehigh-Lafayette football game.

For the first time ever, the Lehigh-Lafayette game is going international—thanks in part to Ali Bachani ’07.

A computer science and business graduate who earned a secondary degree in economics from Lehigh, Bachani moved to London four months after graduation to work for Deutsche Bank, a job that he’s held for a year now.

So, this weekend, Bachani will gather with an estimated 50 people—half cheering for Lehigh, half for Lafayette—at the White Horse Pub in London to watch the game kick off at 6 p.m. their time.

In addition to the London get-together, there will be 63 different telecast parties organized by Lehigh University alumni chapters in sports bars and restaurants from coast to coast.

According to Bachani, more and more London pubs are showing NFL games on weekends, but college games—particularly ones between smaller schools like Lehigh and Lafayette—are rare.

Although they’ll be roughly 3,500 frequent-flyer miles away from the action at Lafayette's Fisher Field in Easton, Pa., the White Horse Pub has taken a large step to make its Lehigh and Lafayette patrons feel at home.

“The pub's actually offered to serve an American buffet,” Bachani says. “So, we’ll have ribs, hot dogs, chicken wings, and the like.”

During his first year in Europe, Bachani has connected with young Lehigh alums—mostly from the 2005 and 2008 graduating classes—living in London and has kept in touch with the Lehigh University Alumni Association (LUAA)—helping coordinate with them to get volunteers to man tables at college fairs or helping them get the word out for a dinner for alumni by a board member passing through London.

The relationship that Bachani formed with LUAA would pay dividends. When Monica Timar, the assistant director of Alumni Clubs for LUAA, learned that Peter Sullivan, a 1982 Lafayette graduate, wanted to a hold a telecast party in London, she contacted Bachani to gauge his interest.

“I jumped at the chance, as a bunch of us had been talking about doing something for Lehigh-Lafayette,” says Bachani, who quickly spread the word to all the Lehigh graduates that he knew living in London. “Most of us did not miss the game, if we had the chance while we were at Lehigh. And much of Lehigh's social calendar in late fall revolved around that weekend. And once we've graduated, other than Young Alumni Weekend, it's a good excuse to go back, meet up with old friends, reminisce, and just about have a good time.

“That's easier said than done once you leave the country, so... why not just bring the game to us?”

--Bill Doherty

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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