President's Holiday Greetings Go Green

Lynn Pasquerella’s holiday greeting took a decidedly greener route to reach the Mount Holyoke community this year. Instead of sending a printed card, the president decided to forge a new tradition by creating a holiday video message that was emailed to more than 24,000 people on December 16.

Last year, Pasquerella sent a video message of gratitude at Thanksgiving, a gesture that was particularly well received and an early experiment in using video to reach out to the community. Building on that experience, her 2011 holiday greeting has been sent to students, faculty, faculty emeriti, staff, alumnae, trustees, and community and government leaders, as well as personal acquaintances and friends. It features photographs depicting the campus and its students in winter—many taken by her spouse, John Kuchle—as well as Pasquerella reading “White Darkness,” a poem by Virginia Hamilton Adair ’33.

Along with being the more sustainable option, the video format allowed the president to interact more directly with members of the Mount Holyoke community.

“I value having the opportunity to literally voice my appreciation for their dedication to our mission of fostering the alliance of liberal arts education with purposeful engagement in the world,” she said.

Though Pasquerella did sign and seal a small number of paper greetings for community members who don’t regularly access the Internet, the switch to a video format is saving both trees and money, albeit minimally. A much more significant savings on both the environmental and the budgetary fronts is expected to result from Pasquerella’s decision with Vice President for Finance and Administration Ben Hammond to close the College during the holiday break.

Noting last year’s grade of A- from the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its annual College Sustainability Report Card, Pasquerella points out that Mount Holyoke also made the list of “overall college sustainability leaders.” She adds, “That designation does not reflect a trend, but rather an institutional identity. Every person on campus contributes to environmental stewardship. I’m proud to be part of that.”