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Mount Holyoke College News and Events College Street Journal Vista

FALL 2001 • VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2

BY ANNE KEYSER AND JANET TOBIN

 
 
FRED LEBLANC
  Nicole Whyte '05 spent Second*Saturday helping to spruce up a Japanese garden at a local Buddhist peace pagoda.
How 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.

While 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.

Mulching 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.”

Surrounded 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.

 
PAUL SCHNAITTACHER
 
Perfect fall weather made for wonderful apple picking at a nearby orchard.  
Second*Saturday 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!”

Elana 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.”

Catharine 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.

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Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Don St. John and maintained by Office of Communications. Last modified on December 11, 2001.

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