Blanchard dirt pile becomes source of humor and contempt

Photos by Thalia Brown '19

Photos by Thalia Brown '19


Towering over the construction site behind Blanchard Campus Center is the infamous dirt pile. When it still stood,  the bright green 2017 flag at the peak had given the student body fodder for jokes and had been featured on multiple social media accounts, including the Mount Holyoke Instagram. 

It cannot be denied that the dirt pile has become a campus meme for the fall semester. It is “the” thing to talk about, whether it’s complaining about aesthetics or the fact that it forces people to take a very indirect route to get to Blanchard for a quick and easy meal. 

 “Living in the Delles, I find it annoying walking all the way around Wilder just to get to Blanch,” said Danielle Arshinoff ’17. “It is also not aesthetically pleasing, but [I] hope it looks decent by graduation.” 

Arshinoff is not the only student worried about the dirt pile’s presence on campus. At the senior graduation meeting held on Sept. 20, a student brought up the concern of having the dirt pile still present on campus during Commencement in May of 2017. 

For many, having the pile leveled as soon as possible would be ideal, especially if it means it will not ruin the Mount Holyoke aesthetic for graduation. 

“I think that pile of dirt is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Maddy Berkowitz-Cerasano ’18. “The fence around it is a constant reminder that I have no say in what happens at this campus.” 

Other students don’t mind the dirt pile’s presence but still have complaints about the construction surrounding it. 

“I don’t really have an opinion about the dirt pile itself. It’s more the implications of the dirt pile that have affected me,” said Kiera Sapp ’17. “I live on the first floor of Creighton adjacent to Lower Lake Road so every morning I wake up to the sounds of trucks coming to work with the dirt.” 

Alternatively, some students havea more optimistic and humorous opinion. “I feel like it’s the new Mount Holyoke,” said Julia Hecking ’19. “We should climb it on Mountain Day and ... all eat ice cream at the top. The school can save money because they wouldn’t have to bus people upto the mountain.” 

The Mount Holyoke Yik Yak even has a local yakker with the handle BlanchDirtPile. “BlanchDirtPile on Yik Yak is honestly one of the very few reasons it’s still on my phone, bless them,” said Avery Miller ’19.

As construction continues, the dirt pile will diminish in size and stature. According to the publicized Construction timeline on the Mount Holyoke College website, the new dining addition will be built between Sept. and Dec. of 2016, meaning that a large portion of the existing dirt pile will be used up by the beginning of winter break. 

As of Sept. 21, the green 2017 flag has been removed by workers in order to use more of the dirt. The origin of the flag is currently unknown, but can now be found on one of the CAT bulldozers, proudly waving about amongst the dust and rubble. 

Many students will undoubtably applaud when the dirt pile is finally leveled, though some will miss the opportunity to talk about a silly, but nonetheless relevant, campus issue. It remains a shared burden that gives the Mount Holyoke community something to stand together with in solidarity until the eventual downfall of the dreaded dirt pile.