2005 / Volume 10, Number 1
is much more to Mount Holyoke than top-flight academics. Here’s
a sampling of the 24 club and varsity sports and more than 170 student
organizations the College offers.
The Student Government Association lets students speak out on important campus
issues through dialogue in committee meetings, community forums, and Senate meetings,
and through SGA referenda. “What I value most about serving on SGA are
the leadership and communication skills I have developed,” said president
Lindsay Dunaj ’05. “SGA is completely tied to all areas of life at
the College. It is the decision-making body—the group that both the administration
and the student body trust for support in campus endeavors and new campaigns
Going for the Gold
The College’s Equestrian Center—lauded by
Town and Country magazine as “hands-down the finest East
Coast” collegiate riding facility—is home to two
of the winningest riding teams—huntseat and dressage—in
the country. “There is nothing like feeling the enormous
pressure at a big competition and, simultaneously, the support
of 40 teammates behind you,” said Karin Corbett ’05. “The
confidence and character that builds is something I will have
forever.” And, while the College’s top-notch instructors
and school horses attract some of the best college riders in
the country, you don’t have to be a grand prix rider to
join; both teams compete at beginner through advanced levels.
It’s Not All Work and No Play
The Network is a student-run organization that coordinates social events and
entertainment at the College. With festive Fall and Spring Weekends, extravaganzas
like Las Vegas Night, and concerts featuring stars such as Ani diFranco and
Kanye West, the Network makes Mount Holyoke a destination for students at the
other Five Colleges—Amherst, Hampshire, Smith, and the University of
Anyone who enjoys physics is welcome to join Mount Holyoke’s
award-winning Society of Physics Students, a chapter of the national
SPS. The group takes challenging, hands-on physics projects into
local elementary school classrooms. The society has been honored
three years running as an “outstanding SPS chapter” for
its research, public science outreach, physics tutoring program,
and other activities.
Keeping the Faith
Serving nine faith groups—Baha‘i, Buddhist, Catholic,
Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, and Wiccan—Mount
Holyoke’s spiritual center, Eliot House, welcomes all members of the
College community to take part in a wide range of activities on and off campus.
This year, a group of students and staff spent spring break repairing substandard
housing in the Sea Islands of South Carolina, a poverty-stricken area where
migrant workers and descendants of slaves struggle to maintain their homes
and communities. “I think it is so much more meaningful to engage in
a personal interaction than to simply write a check to a charity organization,” said
one student participant.
This semester, Mount Holyoke is vying with 48 colleges and universities around
the nation to see which campus can collect the largest amount of recyclables.
At the end of the competition, dubbed RecycleMania, the school with the highest
recycling rate per person will receive a trophy, as well as a half-page announcement
in the newspaper of every participating college and university. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s Wastewise program, the sponsor of the event, is keeping
score. In March, MHC was in ninth place, just behind Harvard and Tufts and
just ahead of University of California at Davis and Boston College.
A Well-Versed Tradition
Every year since 1913, Mount Holyoke has hosted one
of academia’s most prestigious poetry events, the Kathryn
Irene Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition. Glascock contenders
have included Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, William
Kunstler, Katha Pollitt, and many others who have gone on to
prominence in the world of letters. This year’s Mount Holyoke
entrant is Nancy Doherty FP ‘05 (right). One of five poets
from around the nation who will compete for the top spot, Doherty
also participated in the Five College Poetryfest, held in March. ”I
am in awe to be in such elevated company,” Doherty said.
One way that Mount Holyoke celebrates its diversity is through its cultural
centers, which are open to all MHC students. There’s the Asian Center
for Empowerment and the International Students Cultural Club. There’s
the Betty Shabazz Cultural Center for students of African descent, the Eliana
Ortega Cultural Center for the Latina community, the Jeannette Marks House
for the lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community, and the Zowie Banteah Cultural
Center for the Native American community. At these centers, students socialize,
cook, host parties, and share their culture with the larger community.
Sing Along With…
The V-8s, short for Victory Eights, are the oldest continually
active female collegiate a cappella group in the nation. The
V-8s got their start at the 1942 Mount Holyoke Junior Show and
still sing some of the group’s original numbers, applying
their smooth harmonies to tunes by everyone from Doris Day and
the Andrew Sisters to Less Than Jake and Liz Phair. Every year
the V-8s, one of five a cappella groups on campus, go on tour,
participate in intercollegiate a cappella bowls, and perform
at various Mount Holyoke events.
A Novel Idea
Every week 12 Mount Holyoke students travel to Westfield,
a neighboring city, to join the other members of their book group—30
boys and young men from the Westfield Youth Detention Center.
The goal of the book club is to inspire a passion for reading
in the Westfield youth. So far it’s working. Novels such
as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders have generated great
discussions, laughter, and learning. “Working with these
young men and experiencing the power of reading with them has
so far been truly rewarding and enriching,” said book group
participant Rebecca Lenn ’07.