BY CAITLIN LYNCH ’20
Seniors were encouraged to invite a member of Mount Holyoke’s faculty or staff to join them in the rose garden behind Talcott Greenhouse on the evening of Friday, April 12, for the class of 2019’s first Faculty & Staff Appreciation event. Sponsored by the 2019 class board with support from the Division of Student Life and the Division of Academic Affairs, the event created space for seniors, faculty and staff to enjoy refreshments and informally reflect on the seniors’ past four years at the College.
2019 Class Board President Val Montesino ’19 addressed the approximately 75 attendees at the start of the event, reading a statement from Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Marcella Runell Hall which ended with a poem about Mount Holyoke written by Hall’s daughter, Aaliyah. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Jon Western took the mic next, recognizing the impressive work the seniors had presented that day at Senior Symposium and thanking faculty and staff for their continued support of students.
“We’ve been talking about this since last semester,” said Montesino, “an event that can bring together the faculty and staff who have really supported us throughout our four years at Mount Holyoke, and just have an informal time where we can talk about things that are non academic or that we don’t otherwise get to in an academic space.”
“I think professors are another one of those members of the Mount Holyoke community that can sometimes be taken for granted,” said 2019 Class Board Vice President Relyn Myrthil ’19. “so we wanted to make sure that we recognize them. I feel like a lot of their work can be overlooked in the everyday mundane as soon as final projects get assigned and things like that, [so] it’s great to be able to take a step back and really show them that you appreciate everything they’ve done for us to get us here.”
Montesino added that “it was also really intentional to extend it to the staff, because I don’t think there are enough events on campus that highlight the staff or appreciate the staff. We spend most of our time with staff outside of the classroom, whether that be in the dining hall, [or] wherever you work on campus [...] so it was important to us that we include them in the celebration.”
2019 Class Board Social Co-Chair Jamesa Allen ’19 invited professor of data science, and her advisor of four years, Tim Malacarne to the event. “He’s helped me tremendously, even if I just needed to go talk about anything, whether it’s classes [or other] stuff like that, he’s always been so helpful,” she said.
With this event, the Class Board of 2019 kicked off the beginning of their end-of-senior-year events. Other events seniors can look forward to include Strawberries and Champagne and several events leading up to graduation during Senior Week.