Being There

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 09:10

Master Class
Who: Equestrian Center Director Paula Pierce, riding Donna Leonessa’s Reizend ("Zen"), and instructor Roel Theunissen
Where: Mount Holyoke’s Equestrian Center
When: Tuesday, June 23, 2010
Time: 9:15 am

Equestrian Master ClassMount Holyoke was privileged to host Roel Theunissen at a dressage clinic June 22-24. Riders from all over New England shipped in to work with Theunissen, a highly sought-after clinician and trainer based in Madison, Georgia. A native of the Netherlands, Theunissen graduated from the Dutch Equestrian Center in Deurne. He has coached many professionals and amateurs to numerous championships and U.S. Dressage Federation awards and medals. Pierce also rode her own horse, Morendo ("Rudy"), at the clinic.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to have Roel here for these training weeks during the summer; not only do other professionals come to work with him, but several members of the MHC community nearly always participate," said Pierce. "It is always a wonderful opportunity to have world-class help right here at home."

Preparing for The Tempest
Place: Outside South Rockefeller Hall
When: Tuesday, April 22, 2010

Time: 11:30 am

tempest Thea Wigglesworth ’11, a member of Mount Holyoke’s PROJECT: Theatre, took advantage of the warm spring weather to paint “rocks” al fresco for the stage set of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The play was performed at the Gettell Amphitheater and Gamble Auditorium the weekend of April 23-24. PROJECT: Theatre is a student organization with 150 active members. Its shows are directed, designed, produced, and acted by students. The Shakespeare Mafia, a group dedicated to bringing the Bard to campus, produced the show.

 

 

On to Nationals
Place: Intercollegiate Horseshow Association Zone Championships, Mount Holyoke College
When: Saturday April 10, 2010
Time: 12:15 pm

rider Before riding in the novice over fences team competition at the IHSA Zone Championships, Sally Gibb ’13, aboard Reid, made some last-minute adjustments under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Gilly McPhee ’01 (left) and head coach C.J. Law (right). Teammate Caroline Daly ’12 called out to her, “Hey, what’s the plan?”

She replied, “Go! Fight! Win!”

“That’s what I like to hear!” said Daly.

Gibb made good on her promise, helping Mount Holyoke take the Zone Championship, qualifying the team for its nineteeth trip to Nationals, to be held in Lexington, Kentucky, May 6-9, at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Cooling Off
Place: Mount Holyoke’s Turf and Track Complex
When: April 3, 2010
Time: 12:10 pm

runnerVassar freshman Mathue Duhaney, an up-and-coming sprinter from Kingston, Jamaica, iced his shins after running to victory in the men’s 4x100 relay on Mount Holyoke’s new synthetic track. The race was part of the Mount Holyoke Track and Field Invitational Meet, where eight college teams, including two men’s teams, competed.

 


Hoops for Haiti
Place: Kendall Gymnasium
When: March 2, 2010
Time: 7:30 pm

hoops for haitiThe MHC basketball team took on a motley crew of faculty and staff in a game to raise money for Haiti earthquake victims Tuesday evening, March 2, in Kendall Gymnasium. The stands were packed with enthusiastic fans who cheered in unison whenever either side scored. The Lyons got off to an early lead, up 10-2 within two minutes of the start. But the faculty-staff team came bounding back, thanks to the steady shooting skills of politics professor Calvin Chen (sporting L.A. Lakers apparel) and others, and after the first half trailed by only one point, 28-27. Announcer Jess Lee ’10, the Lyons’ manager, gave a running critique of the faculty’s somewhat unorthodox play, exclaiming at several points, “That was a pass to .... no one!” and “I have no idea what kind of defense the faculty is trying for.” Highlights included swim coach Dave Allen’s between-the-legs free-throw, residential life assistant director Aaron King’s backwards free-throw (neither of which made it through the hoop), and Latin American studies prof Lowell Gudmundson’s ace three-point shooting (who knew?). The faculty took the lead in the third quarter, but the students ultimately prevailed, 61-55. Lyons guard Erin Cain ’10 said afterwards: “It was really a blast. I’m so glad everyone came out for this.”

H. P. Lovecraft Haunts Mount Holyoke
Place: Mary Woolley Hall
When: September 23, 2009
Time: 3 pm and on into the evening

LovecraftMount Holyoke College became the center of all things H.P. Lovecraft when a crew from Los Angeles arrived to shoot a feature film based on Lovecraft’s story "The Whisperer in Darkness." Director Sean Branney chose Mount Holyoke to stand in for Miskatonic University, where part of the story takes place. Lovecraft is a cult figure among readers of horror and science fiction, and Lovecraft devotee Ken Moak and his son Charles drove three hours from Northwood, New Hampshire, to be extras. “Dad has been a huge Lovecraft fan his whole life,” Charles explained. "I check out the Lovecraft Web site every so often and I saw the notice for this casting call." Shooting wouldn't start until after dark, but the Moaks enjoyed hanging around the set and helping out. Matt Foyer, an L.A. actor who plays the lead character, Professor Wilmarth, said that because this isn't a Screen Actors' Guild production, everyone is free to help out wherever they can. "We’re not getting paid a lot of money, but everyone really wants to be here. People take personal responsibility for the artistic quality of the project."

Happy Birthday Horse
Place: Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center
When: February 28, 2009
Time: 1 pm

HorseMount Holyoke’s hunt seat equestrian team hosted (and won) its spring home show the same day that assistant coach and former team member Gilly McPhee ’01 celebrated her 30th birthday. After’s Gilly’s beloved horse Freddy brought surprise birthday greetings to her in the main arena, she and Freddy took a victory lap, balloons and all.  (Warning: Do not attempt this feat at home. Freddy is a true saint of the horse world!) 

If I Could Fly Over ... A Rock?
Place: Family Day, MHC Art Museum
When: Saturday, February 28, 2009
Time: 11:15 am


Family Day 2009Youngsters thronged the Art Museum Saturday morning to experience the art and writing of African American artist Faith Ringgold. In one of the galleries, MHC’s Project: Theatre members Sara Todd ’11, Allyse Knox ’10, and Louise To ’12 led a dramatic reading of Ringgold’s children’s book Tar Beach. Afterwards, Todd asked the audience the question: “If you could fly over anything and make it yours, what would it be?” Answers included: “flowers,”  “the Capitol,” “my family,” “dresses,” “Mickey Mouse,” and “the Alps.” One boy had some observers scratching their heads with his answer, which sounded an awful lot like “Iraq.” Shortly thereafter, music started and the children got to their feet and danced out into the lobby for their next activity.

Architecture 101
Place: Blanchard Campus Center Gallery
Date: Monday, February 16, 2009
Time: 10 am


small scale pavilionArmed with cardboard, balsa wood, and glue guns, each student in the January Term Architecture 101 class designed a small-scale pavilion for the western shoreline of Mount Holyoke’s Lower Lake. The structure is meant to provide a quiet place for sitting, reading, and reflecting. Blake Williams, an architect with Dietz and Company in Springfield and instructor at UMass, explained that the pavilion concept is based on the architectural trope of the primitive hut, which dates as far back as the Roman architect Vitruvius and has remained a source of inspiration throughout architectural history.

One of the class’s most ambitious designs was by Cen Zhang ’12 (pictured here). “I got inspired by the water, so I designed the pavilion in a water flow wavy shape, and also wanted to reflect the uncertainty and playfulness of water on the pavilion,” she explained.

Drawing projects from a second section of Architectural Studies 101, Finding a Home: Exploring the Concept of the Unhomely, are also on display in the gallery. Architect Helen Fantini of South Hadley taught the course, focusing on drawing skills in plan, section, and elevation.

1,000 Cranes for Obama
Place: Blanchard Campus Center
Date: January 15, 2009
Time: noon

Cranes for Obama"When you have the skinny legs, fold in the flaps."

Inscrutable directions to most, but when Sarah Kajani '09 gave the same instructions to classmates NanaAku Bruce-Attah '10 and Yaba Haffar '09, they took their contribution to the Obama administration one step closer to completion. All first-time voters who cast their ballots for Obama, the three were among 100 people who learned to make origami cranes--a symbol of good fortune--to present to the new president and his family. The project was conceived by psychology and education lecturer Charlene Morrow, who is arranging for the delivery of a mobile composed of 1,000 cranes to the White House. Bruce-Attah, a resident of Washington, D.C., planned to return home to attend the inauguration and an inaugural ball at the Carnegie Mellon Library. Kajani spoke for herself and Haffar when she said, "We'll be there in spirit. This is our way of contributing."

It’s Bob Fosse Week
Place: Dance Studio, Kendall Sports and Dance Complex
Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Time: 3:30 pm

J-Term ClassSix dancers don top hats, bowties, and fishnet stockings (high heels optional!) and follow along with Julie Schott ’11 as she teaches them the dance steps in “Glory” from Bob Fosse’s Pippin. Schott is an environmental studies major/dance minor who looks as if she stepped out of a Broadway chorus line. Originally trained in classical ballet, she’s moved into modern dance and other techniques. She’s teaching a J-Term course titled “Break A Leg”: Choreography in Musical Theater, a study of dance techniques created by choreographers Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins (West Side Story), and Bob Avian (Chorus Line). Dance moves that look simple turn out to be devilishly complex, but the students are eager and Schott is encouraging. Wearing a silver lamé wrap around her hips, she demonstrates a series of hip circles: “Really exaggerate it. Remember what we saw in the film--those dancers are wearing leotards and little bows on their butts. Make it look good!”

Deck the Halls!
Place: Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Monday, December 8, 2008
Time: 11 am


Gingerbread HouseAfter five years in storage, the Mount Holyoke gingerbread house is back. Rick Rigali, chef manager for dining services, built it 15 years ago from wood left over from a building project at Abbey-Buckland and furnished it with people, lights, and holiday finery. Every year he placed the house in one of the College’s dining halls for students to decorate. Reminiscing over photographs of previous gingerbread houses, he said, “It was a good way for people to get together. It gave them a good feeling.” On Monday morning in Blanchard Campus Center, with help from dining services’ Sue Hevey and assorted students, he frosted the house and thatched the roof with Mini-Wheats in preparation for students to add embellishments of M & Ms, gumdrops, candy canes, and other colorful candies he has set out in dishes.

“What’s this for?” asked a passing student. Rigali paused briefly. “It’s for your delight,” he answered. 

A Moveable Bedroom
Place: Behind Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Thursday, October 9, 2008
Time: 11:30 am

Bed ArtLast week the contents of a student’s bedroom materialized on the grassy terrace between Blanchard and Lower Lake. Complete with bed (unmade, of course), rumpled pajamas, dirty socks, and a bedside table decked with alarm clock, deodorant, Typhoo tea, granola bars, books, and a teddy bear, the installation was created by Valerie Hartshorn ’11 for her art class, Body and Space. Hartshorn’s idea for the piece was “to explore whether it is the room that determines the value of the things in that room, or if the things themselves have intrinsic value.” She discovered that “as soon as my bed and books and personal items are on display, I have immediately given permission to the public to step inside my life. The context of the bedroom played little to no role as soon as my things were outside.”

 

Emily Dickinson at Mount Holyoke
Place: Archives and Special Collections, Williston Library
Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Time: 11:30 am

Class Students in Mellon Professor of English Chris Benfey’s first-year seminar on Emily Dickinson at Mount Holyoke got an up-close look at archival materials related to Dickinson’s year at the College, 1847-1848. Jennifer Gunter King, director of archives and special collections, showed the class a multitude of materials, including a letter Dickinson wrote while a student here, the history and geometry textbooks Dickinson studied, and a list of rules, which proscribed, among other activities, “making things warm in Rooms” and “speaking above a whisper in the washroom.” King wants to dispel the myth that Dickinson as a student was “morose and sulking.” In fact, King said, she was sad about leaving Mount Holyoke before completing her studies. 

Blue Muffin Gets a New Home
Place: Abbey Chapel Garden
Date: Thursday, September 25, 2008
Time: 9:25 am

Tree Planting The College’s chapel garden is one of the loveliest spots on campus, thanks to the careful tending of groundskeepers Chris Brown and Gus Coutinho. Always on the lookout for a more aesthetically pleasing and horticulturally satisfying arrangement, Chris and Gus decided to move the Blue Muffin viburnum around the corner to a new spot next to the south-facing chapel wall. After a bit of pruning and reshaping, Blue Muffin is happily settled in its new home.

 

 

 

Orlando’s Big Adventure
Place: Cross-country field off Morgan Street
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Time: Noon


Lindsay Sceats ’11 and Orlando
Orlando, one of the most recent arrivals at the Equestrian Center, has spent most of his life winning championships in the show ring. On Mountain Day, with Lindsay Sceats ’11 aboard, he got his first taste of cross-country jumping. After some initial puzzlement (“You mean you want me to jump that?”), he got the hang of it very quickly. By the end of the schooling, he seemed to be saying, “Hey, I could really learn to like this!” 


The Art of Decorating
Place: Poster booth outside of Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Time: 11:30 am

Poster SaleNatasha Beydoun ’09  and Jenny Northrup ’09 are looking at posters to decorate Natasha’s room, which happens to be the largest single in the just-opened new residence. “We’re so lucky to be in the new dorm,” says Natasha. “My room is very colorful, so I’m looking for artsy, modern stuff. I’m not that into the movie stars and rock stars.” They have narrowed down the selection to three images: a monkey wearing headphones, a young woman with a long-stemmed rose between her teeth, and a black-on-green print of a boom box. Ultimately, they agree on the boom box. “The green goes with my sheets,” says Natasha.


In the Swing of Things
Place: The Orchards Golf Course
Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Time: 1:20 pm

After a healthy lunch on the porch of The Orchards' picturesque clubhouse, the participants in Mount Holyoke’s inaugural Golf Academy are waiting to tee off on the first hole. Seventeen women, alumnae and their guests, are here for four days of intensive golf instruction at one of New England’s premier courses, home of the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open. While some are here for the first time, Joan Amory '68 has played these greens more times than she can count. She learned to play golf on this course when she was a student. She says: “When I was playing here this past Sunday with my son, I recognized the thirteenth hole as the place where I got poison ivy the spring of my freshman year. I picked up my ball in the rough and rubbed my eyes, and I had poison ivy in my eyes for final exams.” Amory still remembers her first set of clubs. “They were S & H Green Stamp clubs. They came in a plastic plaid bag.”


Drug Booth Truth

Place: Human Resources Benefits Fair
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2008
Time: Noonish

annual benefits fairSenior officer Kellie A. Cournoyer-Cronk and Elizabeth Cahn, planning and community outreach coordinator, from the College’s Public Safety Office, fielded questions from MHC faculty and staff at the annual benefits fair in Chapin Hall on Thursday, May 15. Their substance-abuse display caught many a curious eye. Cournoyer-Cronk explained that there are “a lot of new drugs out there,” including a substance called “cheese” that’s marketed to kids as young as fifth-graders. “A lot of this stuff I know about,” said one passerby, gesturing to the case displaying pills, marijuana, hashish, and an assortment of other drugs and paraphernalia. “But what’s a balloon?”

 

Spring Concert Buzz
Place: Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Monday, March 10, 2008
Time: 11 am

M.I.A.Overheard an hour before free ticket distribution began for the spring concert featuring hip-hop artist M.I.A.:

“I love M.I.A. I have both her albums.”
“You can just tell it’s gonna be awesome.”
“And it’s free. Everyone else has to pay $20.”
“They’re giving away 1,000 tickets. What’s the rush?”
“I was surprised that some people on campus don’t know who she is.”
“How can you be alive and not know who she is? Open up your mind!”
“Some people got here at 10:30. That’s a long time to wait for tickets.”
“Hey, is this the line for HIV testing?"


Creepy Yet Comforting
Place: Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Time: 10:30 pm

ShrougWalking through Blanchard, you may have encountered a person-sized, shroudlike object in the hallway. You may even have been tempted to crawl inside it. Like other creations from the classroom of sculpture professor Joe Smith, the figure has been seen at various places around campus. Rachel Borg '08, its creator, said she did not give it a title “because I believe in letting the spectator relate to the piece in a personal way that is uninhibited by labels. However, I feel that the piece itself leads the spectator in a certain direction.” She explained that Smith asked the students to focus on the body as inspiration for their work. “I built an otherworldly, bodylike structure and draped two twin sheets sewn together over it. Then I proceeded to cover the sheet in plaster. After the plaster dried, I removed the structure with Joe’s help. I have always been fascinated with stretching the capabilities of material, so it was important to me that the sheet be able to stand on its own, yet still look draped-- creating the illusion of a creepy figure underneath. This piece is also somewhat ominous, but with the right lighting can be extremely welcoming and oddly comforting. I have actually been told that people have crawled inside, which is exactly what I want!”

The Agony of Defeat
Place: Basement offices, Mary Woolley Hall
Date: February 4, 2008
Time: 10 am

Super Bowl XLIIComments heard around the basement offices of Mary Woolley Hall Monday morning following the New York Giants’ victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl:
“Great ads!”
“I tortured myself. I watched the whole thing.”
“The Giants played really dirty. They should have been called on a couple of plays.”
“18-1 (smirk). Pretty good season.”
“It’s an example of Zen imperfection.”
“The guy on the radio was saying, ‘The Patriots lost. I was stunned.’ STUNNED? It’s a football game, for God’s sake. The war in Iraq? Now, that’s stunning.”


Sticks and Stones
Place: Porter Hall pathway
Date and Time: 24/7

A modest monolith created of sticks and stones appeared recently in front of Porter Hall. When it first took form a couple of weeks ago, its base was encircled by a wreath of autumn leaves (but wind and weather have all but obliterated that decorative human touch). Has the world-renowned landscape sculptor Andy Goldsworthy made a surprise visit to Mount Holyoke? I wondered. I traced the work to the efforts of three students: Caitlin Lambert '09, Emily Reynolds '10, and Suruthai Pokaratsiri '08, in Joe Smith’s sculpture class. Lambert explained that the project took a week to build, “collecting materials being the most time consuming; the rocks were collected from the stream by the gym.” Lambert indeed credited Goldsworthy as an inspiration, and said, “Different layers of biology, skin, bones, etc. were also a form of inspiration.”

Lucky Number 419
Place: Office of the President, Mary Lyon Hall
Date: September 20, 2007
Time: 2:18 pm

John and Caroline LakeSteve Lake arrives with his wife Caroline bearing an information-filled notebook and wearing sturdy running shoes. On vacation from his job as a pitboss at Caesar’s Palace casino in Las Vegas, he is pursuing his passion for visiting college campuses. He’s closing in on his target of 500: Mount Holyoke is number 419. President Creighton’s assistant, Jesse Lytle, greets the couple and takes them on an impromptu tour of the campus. It’s a perfect fall day, warm and sunny. They peek into the library, then walk across to Kendade Science Center. “You’re standing on a nerve,” Lytle tells them, pointing out the playful, science-themed floor tiles along the hallway as they admire the building. “This is a very full day for us,” Lake says. “We’ve been going since 7:30 this morning.” They have already visited six schools in Hartford and Springfield and are headed to Hampshire, Amherst, and UMass. Caroline admits that after a while the campuses blur in her mind, but that’s not so for her husband. He explains the genesis of his quest: “I attended Concordia College in Montreal, a 12-story building with not a blade of grass anywhere. When Caroline and I happened to visit Harvard University years later, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I wanted to see more.” 

Who Moved My Legs?
Place: Williston Library entrance hall
Date: May 15, 2007
Time: mysterious

An eye-catching pair of steel mesh legs appeared a few weeks ago in the entryway of Williston Library. Despite their disembodiment, they seem poised to spring into action, perhaps on a romp through the stacks, or out the door into the spring sunshine. While they haven’t ventured out of the entryway, they’ve been moving around quite a bit lately. Cynthia Delgado '09, who created the legs, says it was never her intention that passersby handle them. Yet she’s not entirely displeased by their public reception. “I was really surprised by the reaction that they’ve had. I'm a little concerned that so much movement may alter the way they are put together and the strength of the mesh itself. But conceptually, I've come to terms with the fact that they are moved around. I think it's often a challenge for artists to make their work interactive and have people touch it, walk by it, really get involved with it, and, without it being my intention, these legs have simply welcomed anyone to just move them around, up the stairs, try them on, compare their feet size, etc. I'm not sure what it is about them--maybe the fact that they are just legs and not the full body, or that they are placed in a setting with so much traffic, that makes them more welcoming. I’m really happy about it. It’s definitely inspired me to explore this idea further.”


Remembering the War Dead
Place: Steps of Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Monday, April 30, 2007
Time: 11:45 am

War Names ReadingOn the steps in front of Blanchard Campus Center, Mari Dumbaugh '07 and Sarah Pritchard '09 take a turn reading out loud the names of all the Americans and Iraqis who have died in the Iraq War. The microphone carries their voices across Skinner Green and beyond. Some of the Iraqis are identified only as “wife of ... or brother of....” Alli Cressy '08, a member of Mount Holyoke’s antiwar coalition, which organized the reading, asks a passerby, “Would you like to read? We’re going to be here all day.” Dumbaugh came up with the idea to raise awareness about the war and educate the community about what can be done to put an end to it. “We are committed to doing one antiwar activity every week,” Cressy explained.

The Maze
Place: Skinner Green
Date: Monday April 23, 2007
Time: 10 am

MazeAt the northeast corner of Skinner Green on a flawless spring morning, Bill Boerner, associate director of residential life, is putting the final stakes in the ground and tying the ropes to create the maze. “Please feel free to walk through,” he says to a couple of curious bystanders. “It’s a journey for people dealing with alcohol addiction in their life or their families.” The winding pathway takes visitors through a series of statements and testimonials about the pain, recovery, and daily life experiences of those affected by alcohol addiction. Boerner says that Laura Valente ’06, who “wanted to share stories about the experience of growing up with alcohol addiction,” inspired him to create the maze. Boerner, cochair of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Committee, developed the project with the ADAC executive committee and members. The Maze will stay on Skinner Green through Friday, April 27.

Shoe, Chair, Sheet Redux
Place: Blanchard Campus Center Art Gallery
Date: April 3, 2007
Time: 9:40 am

Joe Smith, associate professor and cochair of art and art history, showed up with his power tools at Blanchard Campus Center Art Gallery this morning to meet LITS media resource technician Jeff Zera and his student Emily Fontaine '09. The three were there to set up a multimedia installation titled Common Objects, which grew out of a three-week collaboration early in the semester by students of Smith; Mary Jo Salter, Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities; and dance professor Jim Coleman. Students in the collaboration explored the artistic possibilities of three common objects--a shoe, a chair, and a sheet--in the media of sculpture, dance, and poetry. Their creative endeavors culminated in a live dance performance February 19, choreographed to include sculptures created by Smith’s students and accompanied by poetry written by Salter’s students.

As transformed by Smith and his crew, the gallery looks like a large-scale version of one of artist Joseph Cornell's boxes. Photographs of the dance performance are projected on one wall; on the other walls are large-print copies of poems that were read throughout the performance. Sheets of diaphanous blue fabric and the fanciful chairs--one gigantic, one collapsible--that were woven into the choreography, occupy the gallery space.

The installation will remain on display through Friday, April 13. A reception for participants and the public will be held in the gallery on Wednesday, April 11, at 4 pm.

Casting Call
Place: Art Building
Date: March 7, 2007
Time: 4:30 pm

Kate DaltonCall it a Cinderella story. Or a Thumbelina tale. Kate Dalton ’03 will soon be leaving her post as the Art Museum’s Art Advisory Board Fellow. But Dalton is also leaving a little piece of herself behind. Like many of its sister institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum avidly collected plaster casts, especially casts of antiquities. Much of the Museum’s cast collection is now on permanent display in the Art Building stairwells--surreal spaces in which pale gods and goddesses hover above the streams of colorfully attired young artists racing off to studio.  Museum preparator Bob Riddle looks after the casts, and it was he who discovered that one of the figures in a detail from the Roman frieze Ara Pacis (“Procession of members of the imperial family,” 13-9 BCE) was missing its thumb. Replacing the plaster digit would be easy enough, but Riddle needed first to find a thumb double. After a few days spent surreptitiously evaluating the hands of his family and coworkers, Riddle stumbled across the perfect match. Kate Dalton is amused to have been thus honored: “What can I say?” she laughs. “Apparently, my hands are great art.”

Vintage Vendors
Place: Blanchard Campus Center
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Time: noon

Vintage clothing fans passing through Blanchard Campus Center Wednesday filled gaps in their wardrobes, thanks to LOVE, a traveling duo that sells mod and vintage garb at college campuses and New York City flea markets. Tom Gradante and Nina Gentle of LOVE chatted with students and passersby about their wares. “People are so clever the way they use these fashions from the 1960s and 1970s and make them work,” Gradante said. “It’s recycling,” Gentle added. For anyone who missed it, LOVE will be back in Blanchard March 7.

 

 

The Only Female on the Court
Place: Kendall Sports and Dance Complex
Date: Friday, December 15, 2006
Time: 1 pm

Walk into Kendall at lunchtime most weekdays and you’re sure to hear the College's pickup basketball game pounding overhead. Shoes squeak, players pant, the ball swishes through the air, if not always through the hoop. Holly Sharac '94, senior administrative assistant for history and African American and African studies, is usually the only female on the court, but she feels like one of the guys. "They don’t let up on me, but if they do I try to burn 'em and they don't do it again," she said. Sharac, who came to the College in 1988, has been playing in the pickup game since 1993. "They’re wonderful," she said. "Like a group of big brothers."

Hermes at Rest
Place: Art Museum
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2006
Time: 10:30 am

Most of the trees on campus are now missing their leaves. And if you’ve walked by the art museum lately, you may have detected another absence. Hermes has departed his regular perch in the center of the reflecting pool. The pensive-looking statue, officially known as Hermes at Rest was wrestled from his rock on November 2 by museum preparator Bob Riddle and campus gardener Tom Clark. Riddle and Clark then transported Hermes on a “throne” custom built for his annual migration and checkup. “We like to say that we send Hermes south for the winter,” said museum collections manager Linda Best. “But, really, we bring him in to clean him off and protect him from bronze disease. He’ll spend the winter in level-2 storage.” While indoors, the fleet-footed messenger of the Greek gods will receive the standard treatment for outdoor sculpture--two coats of Butcher’s Bowling Alley Wax. “It’s the same water repellent that my mother used to put on her hardwood floors,” Best noted. Thus buffed and rested, Hermes will return to his rock at the first sign of spring melt.

Coins of the Realm
Place: Rao's
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Time: 3:00 pm

It could be the smallest museum in the Pioneer Valley, or the state, or the country, but it is surely one of the most frequently visited, and its collection never stops growing. While waiting in line at Rao’s Coffee in the MHC library, you might have unthinkingly sorted through its treasures. According to Patrice Crevier, manager of the popular café, Rao’s International Coin Museum was started last year by café employee Emily Wagner ’08, who one day plucked all the foreign coins out of the gratuities jar and lined them up on top of the cash register. Customers became curious and soon began adding their own foreign coins. Wagner decided to legitimize the collection by giving it a name, putting up a sign, and designating herself as curator. When the coins became too numerous for the register, she put them on a plate. But soon they outgrew the plate, and now they sit in a basket. “It’s become a cult thing. People like to handle them, feel them,” Crevier said. She added: “If anyone wants to take on the project of identifying all of them, come!”

Flower Power
Place: Chapel Garden
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2006
Time: 9:30 am

On a sultry morning in late June, gardens supervisor Tom Clark is tending one of his favorite gardens on campus, the chapel garden, which sits in the sheltered corner where the brownstone walls of Mary Lyon Hall and Abbey Chapel meet. Created in honor of Mary Deacon Bullard, class of 1896, the chapel garden is a grass courtyard crisscrossed by brick walkways and edged with perennial beds in shades of Mount Holyoke’s colors, blue and white (and bits of purple; "true blues are hard to come by," says Clark). From early spring, with its cheery carpet of blue squill, through October, when the heuchera "Autumn Bride" sends up airy plumes of ivory flowers, the garden is an ever-changing spectacle of color, shape, and texture. "Every part of the garden has its own time of year when it looks its best," Clark explains. "In late June and early July, the birdbath is flanked by blue lace cap hydrangeas and big, bold hostas. Just looking at it makes me refreshed."

Putting the Gloves On
Place: Weight Room in Kendall Hall
Date: Monday, June 26, 2006
Time: 1:30 pm

If you’ve been pumping iron during your lunch hour this summer you might have noticed a new training exercise taking place in the weight room in the basement of Kendall: boxing. Julia Alexander ’08 is working this summer with a personal trainer, Violet Suska, to improve her left and right coordination. “Boxing is part of the warm-up,” explained Suska, who works at Holyoke Community College and also has her own personal fitness business. “I have a ‘boot camp’ for women,” she said. “They love the boxing, so we do it here.” Alexander is not planning to take her boxing moves into the ring any time soon, at least, not the boxing ring. An aspiring equestrian, she is honing her physical skills so that she can train her horse more effectively.

It’s that time of year again...
Place: Rao’s Coffee, Williston Library
Date: Thursday, May 18, 2006
Time: 11:15 am

Seems like every day when I wander into Rao’s for my mid-morning caffeine fix I see the same sight: a slightly rumpled, sleepy-eyed young woman sitting on the sofa wrapped in a brown and white printed fleece blanket staring into a laptop. Turns out I’m not having an experience like Bill Murray's in Groundhog Day. The student admitted that she has been camped out there all week, fueled by iced coffee, finishing up the semester’s work. But, happily, the end is near: her final project, a progress report for the CBL component of her politics class, is due tonight at 7 pm. Then it’s school’s out for summer!

Pangynaskeia Picnic
Place: Pageant Green
Time: April 28, 2006, 11:45 am

Pangy PicnicMother Nature doesn't always smile on the College's annual Pangynaskeia Picnic. Nobody knows this better than the people in dining services who are responsible for setting up the event in various residence halls when the weather is lousy. This year She cooperated. The white tablecloths and white jackets of all the chefs and serving people looked brighter than ever under the cloudless skies that shined on Pageant Green. Chef manager Rick Rigali and server Cindy Kennedy made a last minute trip around the tables to set out serving tongs and spoons. "You’re coming aren't you?" Rigali asked a passerby. "We’ll save you a table!"

Bulgarian Spring
Place: MHC Campus
Time: March 23, 2006

MartenitsiAside from a few sightings on campus of bare feet in flip-flops, so far we have seen few signs of spring. But one heartening harbinger of spring has arrived: colorful ribbons are mysteriously appearing in the branches of trees around campus. What are these and why are they here? Representing health, happiness, and fertility, the ribbons are part of an ancient Bulgarian tradition heralding spring. According to Ralitsa Donkova '05, political papers processing assistant in the College Archives and Special Collections, the ritual goes like this: "We give the martenitsi to each other on March 1 and wear them until we see a stork or a budding tree. Then we tie them on the tree and make a wish. Some people don't feel like they want to wait until they see a stork or a budding tree, and take the martenitsi off on March 20, the first day of spring. I still have mine on; I'll wait until I see a budding tree."

Feel the Beat
Place: Kendall Hall
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2:30 pm

African DrummersStep into Kendall Hall while Marilyn Sylla’s West African dance class is going on and prepare to be seduced by the rhythm of West African drumming. Sekou Sylla, a professional drummer from Guinea, accompanies the class. Sylla, occasionally joined by fellow drummers and his own drumming students, creates a rich percussive dialogue on an assortment of drums, each with its own timbre and pitch. It’s more than accompaniment; it’s rhythmic inspiration that fuels the class for 90 minutes of mesmerizing movement. At the end of the class, teacher, musicians, and dancers applaud each other enthusiastically. Be there and be transported.

 

On a Roll
Place: Otto C. Kohler Building
Time: 11 am, Wednesday, January 25

Map of Otto C. Kohler BuildingVirtually unknown to most MHC faculty, staff, and students, the Otto C. Kohler Building is a cavernous warehouse and maintenance facility that is home to Mount Holyoke’s facilities management department. It’s just off Morgan Street, on the south edge of campus. Despite its peripheral location, the Kohler Building is the nerve center of the 800-acre Mount Holyoke campus, which is frequently cited as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Gary Laverdiere is the stockroom supervisor at facilities management. He keeps track of a $500,000 inventory, making sure that everyone on the staff—including electricians, plumbers, steamfitters—has what he needs to do his job. He is unloading what looks like several lifetimes’ worth of toilet paper from the back of a delivery truck. He and the driver maneuver a large handcart across a portable ramp into the building. “It’s harder to do it this way,” he says, “but the forklift battery is dead.” Three palettes are stacked high with cardboard boxes holding a total of 150 cases of toilet paper. At 213 meters per roll, 24 rolls per case, that’s 766,800 meters of toilet paper—enough to last the College a few months. The College recently switched to a new kind of paper, explains Laverdiere. “It comes on a double roll with a smaller core, so it doesn’t need to be replaced so often.” This is important for buildings like Chapin, Kendall, and Mary Woolley, where weekend events take place and bathrooms tend to run out of toilet paper. “We’re giving customers better service,” he says, smiling.

Mount Holyoke Brakes for Geese
Place: the road by Lower Lake
Time: January 5, early afternoon

Canada GeeseA Mount Holyoke facilities management truck halted yesterday near the art museum when a plump, plushly feathered Canada goose stepped into the road. The goose took its time waddling through the icy slush left by the morning’s snowfall. Just as the goose reached the middle, stopping traffic coming from the other direction, a second began its stately procession across the road, then another, and another. No horns were honked, or other gestures of impatience made in protest over the geese seizing right of way. When the last goose had reached the other side, seemingly oblivious to the several cars and trucks waiting, the four stood in a circle with their heads together, as if conferring about their next destination.

Traffic resumed as normal.

Routine Changes
Place: Rao's
Time: December 12, morning

Rao's Coffee ShopA student bustles into the café for her morning fix. Noticing that the condiment shelf has been moved to a new spot on the other side of the door, she exclaims, “You’ve rearranged everything! You can’t do that this close to exams! I can’t take it!” The student turns on her heel and storms off. She hasn’t been seen at Rao’s since.

Satisfaction
Place: Equestrian Center
Time: November 29, afternoon

It’s just another day at the Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center. At the far end of the barn, farrier Francis Grover of Florence, Massachusetts, trims the hooves of a big gray school horse named Jake. Accompanying Grover for the day is his friend’s Rottweiler, Guinness, a mild-mannered dog who Grover describes as “basically a big chicken.”

Dr. Harry Werner, a veterinarian from North Granby, Connecticut, is also making the rounds at the Eq Center this afternoon. He is checking on a couple of horses, including a beloved schoolie named Skip who has been having problems with his eyes. On the back of Dr. Werner’s pick-up is a bumper sticker: “My Jack Russell terrier is smarter than your honor student.” The Jack Russell terrier in question, Rose, goes everywhere with Dr. Werner. She is a small dog, even by Jack Russell standards, measuring only ten inches tall. While her master sees to his patients Rose makes her own rounds, sniffing for cats, treats, and who knows what all.

Suddenly there is a minor scuffle down the aisle; various heads—human and horse—pop out of stall doors to see what’s going on. “Rose just bit the farrier’s Rottweiler,” announces one of the stable hands. Rose trots down the aisle, looking satisfied with her day’s work.