Student Life and Engagement

Student Engagement Through Co-Curricular Activities 

At Mount Holyoke, students have a number of avenues for getting involved and furthering their engagement in areas of personal passion and interest within the College and in local communities. Mount Holyoke provides these avenues through a range of cocurricular activities, and views these opportunities as an important aspect of a college education that introduces students to new ideas, perspectives and experiences. 

Co-curricular involvement for individual students can build organizational and leadership skills that are transferable to life beyond Mount Holyoke College. In addition, co-curricular opportunities are a great way to connect to other students and members of the College community and to put what has been learned in the classroom into action.

There are a number of ways for students to connect to cocurricular offerings, including:

  • Center for Career Development
  • Division of Student Life
  • The Lynk
  • McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives
  • Office of Student Involvement
  • Weissman Center for Leadership, including the Community-based Learning program

Office of Student Involvement

The Office of Student Involvement provides students with opportunities for leadership, service and engagement, and serves as a hub for connecting them to cocurricular activities. Student Involvement is a great entry point for those seeking opportunities that fit their interests, skills and goals or who are not sure where to start. The office offers a number of ways to get started:

Fall and Spring Involvement Fairs 

The Office of Student Involvement holds an involvement fair on Skinner Green in the fall and in Chapin Auditorium in the spring, where representatives of 120 or more student organizations, along with various campus offices, are available for students to talk to and gather more information. 

Online Organization Directory

Students can contact specific organizations through the complete listing of recognized student organizations. The wide range of organizations for undergraduate students includes academic, a cappella, club sports, cultural, live music and radio, peer education, political, pre-professional, religious and spiritual, student activism, and student publications.

In-person Involvement Advising

Students can stop by the Office of Student Involvement, located in Blanchard 327, to set up an appointment with one of the staff. Find out more about how to get involved.

Student Government Association (SGA)

The Student Government Association, which is known as SGA, is an active leadership group that represents the entire student body in dialogue with College administration and faculty on issues that affect the student body. The SGA leadership comprises an executive board voted in by the undergraduate student body; a senate that comprises representatives from residence halls, students living off campus and student organizations; and committees formed by the SGA or College community.

Class Boards and Traditions

Each year undergraduate students elect a class board to administer the social program and governing needs of their class. Each class board is responsible for carrying on some of the most important Mount Holyoke traditions. Below is a list of many of those traditions that are organized by the class boards.

Junior "bigs" and first-year "littles" in 2016

Big/Little Program

Siblings for life. Tracing its origins back to the early 1900s, the program pairs up a junior (the “Big”) with an incoming first-year (the “Little”).
Dis-O 2017!: Students with President Sonya Stephens

DisOrientation

DisOrientation is an ever-evolving tradition, but at its core it serves to build camaraderie between seniors and first-year students.
Photo of elfing gifts outside a door

Elfing

A first-year and sophomore based tradition. First-year students receive small gifts over the course of the week from a sophomore ‘Elf.’

Junior Show

Junior Show — put on by juniors, of course — has been a source of entertainment and general merriment on campus for more than a century. It features an original play that is typically heavy on humor and parody. Over the years, returning alums have been known to sing the songs from their show.

Ring and Roses Ceremony

The Ring and Roses Ceremony is a special event held in the spring semester to acknowledge the halfway mark of a student’s Mount Holyoke College career. The class celebrates with a semiformal dance, presentations and a dessert reception. To memorialize the event, each sophomore present receives a rose. Sophomores who ordered class rings also receive them this night.

Snow Ball

In a new tradition, the first-year class board hosts a semiformal dance for all members of the first-year class, including spring admitted students, through music, dancing and a night of fun and socializing.

Senior Campaign

The Senior Campaign supports The Mount Holyoke Fund, the College’s annual fund. Head class agents, who are elected to the senior class board, lead the Senior Campaign in conjunction with an advisor in The Mount Holyoke Fund. The Senior Campaign (previously known as the Senior Gift) is an opportunity for students to join in the tradition of investing in the College to support current and future generations of students. Together they plan the personalized campaign, recruit members for the Senior Gift Committee to assist with the campaign, and create materials such as emails, posters and articles that inform the senior class about the importance of giving. The committee works to educate the campus community about The Mount Holyoke Fund and plan senior gift-related events, with the aim of achieving the fundraising goals set for the Senior Campaign. Participation, rather than the amount of each gift, is stressed. Through this process, head class agents learn useful leadership and organizational skills around building and executing a campaign

See the complete list of College traditions.

Campus Programming Policies

Many student groups and individual students sponsor educational and social events for the campus and surrounding community. Examples include but are not limited to festivals, performances, speakers, cultural dinners, parties and conferences held by recognized student organizations, student committees, and more. All Mount Holyoke student-sponsored events and programs that occur on campus must follow the student event policy and procedures, as maintained by the Office of Student Involvement. These events must also comply with Event Services registration policies and guidelines. For more information about these policies, including funding through the SGA Ways and Means Committee, refer to the Student Organization Handbook.

It is important to note that the Office of Student Involvement, on behalf of the College:

  • Reserves the right to modify or cancel an event if the policy and procedures have not been followed.
  • May invoke the ability to change venues, require the event to be ticketed, etc., contingent on the circumstances of the event.
  • Will, as needed, connect to any paid vendors, speakers, performers, etc., and/or their agent prior to the event. 
  • Share information with campus partners such as Event Services, Media Services, Public Safety & Service, Five Colleges, etc.
  • Reserves the right to do so without permission from the student organizer. 

Students should also note that they, or their organizing group, may be held accountable for additional costs associated with the event, including but not limited to audiovisual equipment, facility setup, catering, rentals, security, etc.

Related Policies

Chalking

Mount Holyoke College allows chalking on campus under the following guidelines. Individuals will be held responsible for any damage and/or cleanup if these guidelines are not followed. 

  • Only erasable chalk may be used — grease-based chalk is not permitted.
  • Chalking may be done only on asphalt roads and walkways.
  • Chalkings should be signed with the full name of the person or group responsible.
  • Groups or individuals may be asked to remove chalking when necessary.
  • Absolutely no chalking is permitted on any brick or building surface.
  • No chalking is permitted in any area that is protected from rain.
  • All chalking must be appropriate for the general public, including children and any campus guests.

Individuals and/or student groups will be held responsible for any damage and/or cleanup if these guidelines are not followed.

Student Organizations Hosting Overnight Guests

Please note: This policy is only valid when guests are allowed in the residence halls.

This policy is for student organization conferences, performances or events hosting more than 15 guests on any given night.   

Occasionally, a recognized student organization on campus will want to host a conference, performance or event that includes inviting similar organizations from other campuses to the Mount Holyoke campus. If the event will require an overnight stay and the organization would like to offer guests housing with current organization members, the Office of Residential Life has enacted a specific policy that must be followed.

For the residential/overnight component of a student organization program, the Office of Residential Life has a duty to maintain the guest policies for the campus and to ensure that student organizations are not abusing this policy through inappropriate practices. These factors necessarily must be considered in the planning phase of proposed events.

Student organizations hosting overnight guests must follow these guidelines:

  • Any organization must make an appointment to meet with the director or associate director of Residential Life for approval. This meeting must take place during the semester prior to the event (i.e., meet in spring 2019 for a fall 2019 event). 
  • An event is limited to a maximum of 100 overnight guests. This number might be smaller depending on the student organization’s ability to comply with the formula for determining how many guests are allowed. Under no circumstances will this number exceed 100 people. Guests falling under this policy may not stay more than two nights on campus. 
  • Student organizations sponsoring conferences, performances or other events may not solicit hosts from the general student body to accommodate overnight guests for the event. Only pre-enrolled, active members of the sponsoring organization may host such guests and must do so within the established parameters of the Mount Holyoke College Guest Policy (mtholyoke.edu/reslife/guest_policy). Member solicitation to host must be free of coercion and provide members clear communications on opting out of hosting. Members who choose to host are obligated to gain permission from their roommate prior to agreeing to host. A host (an active organization member) may only house one delegate/guest and will need to sign a host agreement form before the event takes place. Under no circumstances will a Mount Holyoke student be allowed to host more than one guest for the event, regardless of whether they believe their room has the space to do so. 
  • The representatives responsible for the housing and registration portions of the event will need to provide a full list of hosts and assigned guests to the Office of Residential Life a minimum of one week prior to the event. 
  • If the event has more overnight needs than can be accommodated on campus in compliance with campus guidelines and state laws, advertising and registration details must be designed and written to encourage delegates or guests to pursue off-campus housing options at area hotels. 
  • The option for on-campus hosting of guests must be advertised as limited. The College recommends stating that it is available with priority given to those guests who have financial or travel hardships. 
  • Before registration materials are made public (on a website, in printed materials, on social media, etc.), the plan and materials to register/recruit institutions and guests for this event must be reviewed for compliance with these parameters by the Office of Student Involvement and/or the Office of Residential Life. 

Failure to follow this policy can result in the student organization being prohibited from hosting an event on campus that provides overnight housing, an honor code violation or disciplinary action. Students should contact the Office of Student Involvement and/or the Office of Residential Life with questions. 

Event Relocation for Individuals with Disabilities

Even with conscientious planning, there may be instances when a program, activity, or service is located in a facility that does not provide access for participants with disabilities. The College is committed to providing access to our programs and activities. Learn more about our institutional policy.

Health on Campus

Health Services

Health Services provides urgent, primary and preventive medical and nursing care; ensures all students meet the entrance health requirements of the College and commonwealth of Massachusetts; coordinates and oversees the response to all public health incidents; oversees medical clearance for varsity and club sport athletes; and provides health promotion education and outreach. These services are available to all current Mount Holyoke students during the academic year.

Counseling Services

Students consult with Counseling Service clinicians about concerns related to stress and anxiety, identity development, relationship and family issues, depression, trauma, personal growth, resilience, flourishing and more. Visit the counseling website to learn more about scheduling appointments and for links to national resources and emergency support options.

Disposal of Medical Sharps

Massachusetts regulations prohibit disposal of needles or other medical sharps in the trash or recycling. Medical sharps include all needles, lancets, pen needles, or other medical items that may cause punctures or cuts.

Resident students and employees can obtain sharps collection containers from Health Services. When full, the containers should be securely closed and returned to Health Services for disposal. Do not overfill the containers as they must close securely.

Non-resident students should take their medical sharps home for proper disposal. For more information about disposal of medical sharps refer to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet: Proper Use and Disposal of Needles and Syringes. Check with your local Board of Health for disposal options. South Hadley has a drop-off box at the Police Department. 

Related Policies