FALL 2001 VOLUME
6, NUMBER 2
ANNE KEYSER AND JANET TOBIN
many first-year students can say they spent the second Saturday
of their college career working for Habitat for Humanity, canoeing
on the Connecticut River, serving meals at a soup kitchen, organizing
exhibits at a firehouse museum, or learning how to quilt with an
expert quilter? At Mount Holyoke, the answer is 300.
Whyte '05 spent Second*Saturday helping to spruce up a Japanese
garden at a local Buddhist peace pagoda.
they were still learning their way around campus, the newcomers
also got to know the surrounding community--and each other-- a
little better through the College’s Second*Saturday program. The
daylong program was launched last year as part of the College’s
plan to provide a fun yet meaningful orientation for first-year
students, foreign fellows, transfer students, and Frances Perkins
Scholars. The program also involved upperclass student leaders,
faculty, alumnae, and community volunteers. Participants were
involved in thirty-three recreational and service projects located
as close by as South Hadley and as far away as the Berkshire County
town of Stockbridge.
plants at a Japanese garden at a local peace pagoda was Bharathi
Sundaram ’04. “I feel like I’m helping with the world instead
of being in my own little world of homework and cocurriculars,”
she said. Her roommate, Asha Strazzero-Wild ’04, also was eager
to serve. “It’s just giving up a few hours,” she said, “and it
makes such a difference to people.”
by the joyful shouts of children, volunteers at Kelly Constant
Playground in nearby Holyoke made quick work of repair and cleanup
tasks at the wooden play structure of slides, swings, and bridges.
The service work felt natural to Katharine Billipp ’05, who said
that commitment to community engagement was one of the things
that most appealed to her about the College. “It’s not just one
day of service at Mount Holyoke, but outreach in small ways all
year round,” she said.
participants also became partners with community members on the
College’s campus. At Mount Holyoke’s Eliana Ortega House, students
helped twelve Girl Scouts from South Hadley complete cooking activities
toward a cooking badge. Former Scouts Johanna Davis ’05 and Jennifer
Tougas ’05 enjoyed reliving their own happy memories with the
young cooks. “I am so excited to be in college,” said Davis, “but
now maybe I wish I were in fifth grade again!”
fall weather made for wonderful apple picking at a nearby
Kimbrell ’05 was equally enthusiastic about her day spent shelling
garlic cloves and weeding at a local food bank farm. “This may
sound mundane, but since I am from a place [Hawaii] that doesn’t
look anything like western Massachusetts, it was a memorable experience
just being able to take in the atmosphere of the farm,” she said.
“Our host gave us fresh fruit and pumpkins, and told us all about
the various crops as we took strolls through the fields.”
Melhorn, Hammond-Douglass Professor of Music and faculty coordinator
for Second*Saturday, says of the program, “We want students to
get an early taste of the rich resources of their new Pioneer
Valley home.” By all accounts, that taste was a sweet one.