SGA holds official induction ceremony, sets goals for upcoming year

BY LIZ LEWIS ’22

The second Senate meeting of the semester gathered on Tuesday evening in the Blanchard Great Room. Due to the amount of first-years and new senators in the Student Government Association (SGA) at this point in the year, much of the night was dedicated to the basics of how to be a senator and how to handle the responsibilities when the work gets tough. First, however, the Executive Board (E-Board) addressed logistics and announcements. 

Per usual, the evening’s agenda began with the town hall portion, in which the representatives of different organizations could voice updates, concerns and announcements brought forth by their constituents. Among the topics mentioned were issues with student parking and the possibility of converting the Morgan Street lot into a full-time student parking area, cross-contamination of gluten-free options in the Dining Commons and the Student Conference Committee (SCC) Survey going live. 

Next on the agenda was the official Senate Induction Ceremony, in which students signed a black book with their name and position. Each student was called up individually and presented with a small pin bearing the Mount Holyoke seal. 

A significant portion of the night was dedicated to teaching and sharing strategies to maintain self-care and healthy communication while fulfilling the duties of a senator. The E-Board distributed pamphlets on how to write effective emails to constituents, a weekly duty of a club or hall senator. 

“You want people to understand that you’re a resource for them, you want them to reach out to you,” Esha Sridhar ’22, E-Board member, said to the crowd of students. 

This year, Senate is taking a new organizational direction. Instead of having a town hall meeting every week, as in past years, the SGA board has structured most meetings with built-in working groups of six to eight senators, who sit at the same table. During meetings of these groups, senators will discuss ongoing campus issues that their constituents have raised, with the goal of reaching a consensus on problems deserving focus and their potential solutions. With this new streamlined approach, SGA hopes to increase the participation and influence of individuals at Senate meetings. 

Also new this year is a mission to present every SGA goal, motion and plan to Senate before implementation. The E-Board discussed goals and priorities of SGA this year, including communication and transparency, student engagement and bridging the gap between students and administration. On a larger scale, SGA hopes to focus on academic success and stress reduction, personal and financial wellness of students and supporting a thriving campus culture of dialogue. 

“You all are as much a part of implementing [these goals] as we are,” Sridhar said in her closing remarks. 

There will be voting next week to fill the two new positions of Public Relations Officer and Secretary. Senate meets in the Blanchard Great Room on Tuesdays from 7:30-9 p.m.

Students pilot residential hall compost program

Photo by Trinity Kendrick ’21  Professor Albertine’s Environmental Entrepreneurship Campus Sustainability class installed a compost tumbler just behind Talcott Greenhouse.

Photo by Trinity Kendrick ’21

Professor Albertine’s Environmental Entrepreneurship Campus Sustainability class installed a compost tumbler just behind Talcott Greenhouse.

BY ANNABELLE SHEA ’23

Behind the Talcott Greenhouse, by the community garden, stands a blue barrel mounted on wooden posts. This contraption is the new compost tumbler piloted by students from Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies Jennifer Albertine’s class: Environmental Entrepreneurship Campus Sustainability. 

The compost barrel sources organic waste from Ham and MacGregor residence halls. Each floor of the two dorms have their own compost bucket. When the individual buckets are filled, they are transferred to larger bins held in the basement and the bins are then brought to the communal compost barrel behind the greenhouse. Compost from the barrel is used to fertilize the community garden, which provides produce for the Dining Commons. 

For Kaila Goldstein ’22, residence hall composting is a small yet important step toward a more sustainable future. 

“The purpose of [the compost tumbler pilot] is to figure out what’s going to be the best way to expand [the compost initiative] to be something that can be available to the whole school,” Goldstein said. “We’re living in a world where our impact seems very much out of our control, where the system determines what impact we have on our world so it can feel hard to do anything about it.” 

The Ham/MacGregor compost initiative, however, may offer an opportunity for students to make an impact within the Mount Holyoke community and reduce their food waste footprint. 

With plans for expansion on the horizon, Goldstein is optimistic about the implementation of residence hall composting. 

“We know that people want ways to take responsibility and see that this is where their waste is going,” Goldstein said. “People are ready to make this together; we’re relying on [the compost initiative to be] a collective effort. What’s going to make this stronger is people participating and coming to us saying, ‘here’s what we need.’”

The project is funded by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment. Program expansion, however, remains contingent on the success of the pilot initiative. Data will be collected and used to determine the need for additional bins in other residence halls. 

The plan addresses a flaw in Mount Holyoke’s current system of composting, which operates solely through the dining hall. 

“All the food waste in our dorms is going right into the trash, which then goes into the landfill and produces methane gas,” Albertine said. 

“If we compost, we’re still making greenhouse gas but we’re now making [carbon dioxide which is not] as powerful,” she continued. 

“We’re also closing the energy loop on campus,” Albertine said. “Right now we have our grounds people that buy compost from off-site to fertilize our trees and flower beds. The compost we’re making in the dining hall, we truck [off] to [a facility] to get composted so we have a lot of fossil fuel from trucks ... if we are able to close that loop on campus, that’s going to help with our carbon-neutral by 2037 goal.” 

Leykia Nulan named new Mount Holyoke Dean of Admissions

Leykia Nulan named new Mount Holyoke Dean of Admissions

Leykia Nulan has been appointed Mount Holyoke’s new Dean of Admission. The College announced that Nulan will start Oct. 1 of this year in a community email sent on Sept. 16. 

College Democrats host Democratic debate watch party

College Democrats host Democratic debate watch party

A raucous crowd gathered around the big screen in Dwight Hall last Thursday, Sept. 12, as candidates vying for the presidential nomination clashed on the debate stage at a screening hosted by the Mount Holyoke College Democrats

Interfaith Council holds panel on modern Muslim-Jewish relations

Interfaith Council holds panel on modern Muslim-Jewish relations

Mount Holyoke’s Interfaith Council held a panel discussion titled “Navigating Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Current Political Climate” on Sept. 15 in Hooker Auditorium. The crowd included many community members from outside the College, along with a handful of current Mount Holyoke students. 

Campus Police concerns continue into new school year

Campus Police concerns continue into new school year

Beginning in July 2020, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges will operate separate campus police departments. The change was announced to the Mount Holyoke community in an email statement by Shannon Gurek, Mount Holyoke Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer. 

Mount Holyoke welcomes incoming class of Yellow Sphinxes

Mount Holyoke welcomes incoming class of Yellow Sphinxes

The Mount Holyoke community gathered to celebrate the new academic year in Gettell Amphitheater for the College’s annual Convocation on Sept. 3. Excitement and nervousness filled the air as students proudly sported their class colors and chanted their class years.

Journalist Seth Freed Wessler talks justice, human rights

Journalist Seth Freed Wessler talks justice, human rights

BY ALLYSON HUNTOON ’19

The role of journalism is tied to “concepts of justice and transparency and equity,” according to award-winning journalist Seth Freed Wessler, who spoke at Mount Holyoke on Monday, April 22. He was introduced by Professor David Hernández, and his visit to campus was hosted by the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American studies departments. 

Senate holds final meeting of academic year, elections finalized

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

Senate met for the final time for the 2018-2019 academic year on Tuesday, April 23. The main focus of the meeting was to celebrate the conclusion of the academic year. The meeting also spent time on the Support PVTA Initiative and concluded the All-Campus Elections for this year. 

Mathematics and statistics community remembers department coordinator Lindsay Woloszyn

Mathematics and statistics community remembers department coordinator Lindsay Woloszyn

BY LIZ LEWIS ‘22

“Lindsay was like a ray of sunshine brightening whatever room she stepped into,” said mathematics professor Giuliana Davidoff.

College announces speakers for 182nd Commencement ceremony

BY ANNA KANE ‘20

Adrienne Arsht ’63, Barbara Smith ’69 and Gary Younge have been named as speakers who will address the Class of 2019 for Mount Holyoke College’s 182nd Commencement. Each speaker will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters after their address in the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex Field House on May 19.

Senate discusses 2019-20 budget, second wave of SGA voting

Senate discusses 2019-20 budget, second wave of SGA voting

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

On Tuesday, April 16, Senate held their weekly meeting in the Blanchard Great Room. The meeting was mainly focused on voting for the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) budget and the updated Ways and Means guidelines for the 2019-20 academic year. Senate also announced that the second wave of the all-campus Election poll is out to be voted by the student body. The SGA wants all students to vote in order to reach quorum, and the link for the poll can be found in students’ emails. Polls close on Monday, April 22. 

Women of Color Trailblazers Leadership Conference fosters dialogue

Women of Color Trailblazers Leadership Conference fosters dialogue

BY OLIVIA MARBLE ’21

Mount Holyoke’s Students of Color Committee (SOCC) hosted its 6th annual Women of Color Trailblazers Leadership Conference this Saturday, April 9.

Campus addresses food waste and sustainability issues

Campus addresses food waste and sustainability issues

BY LIZ LEWIS ’22

Campus sustainability, particularly when it comes to food, has been a topic of discussion in the Mount Holyoke community for years. In the past few weeks, the topic of food waste has been widely discussed on campus. This recent effort to raise awareness is student-led, and included a film screening of “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.”

Chief of Police Daniel Hect placed on administrative leave

BY NADIA BABAR ’19

In the wake of concerns from the student body and a number of controversies surrounding his social media presence, newly hired Campus Police Chief Daniel Hect — Chief for both Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges — has been placed on administrative leave. 

In an email to the Mount Holyoke community on the evening of April 10, President Sonya Stephens wrote that “Over the past few weeks, members of our community have expressed concerns about the ability of Chief Daniel Hect to develop the level of trust required to engage in community policing.” The email also said that Deputy Chief Ray LaBarre has since been appointed Acting Chief of Campus Police. 

Hect, who was announced as the colleges’ new Chief of Police on Feb. 11, has received criticism from the Mount Holyoke and Smith student bodies for demonstrating support for the Trump administration on Twitter through liking a number of tweets that exhibited support for a border wall and the National Rifle Association (NRA). In an email from Hect to the Mount Holyoke community on April 3, Hect wrote, “I am committed to dedicating myself and the entire campus police force to being a positive influence on campus safety, fully integrated into the community.” The email also listed several steps Hect would be taking moving forward. 

“We are working closely with Smith College on this issue, and I will continue to keep our campus community informed,” wrote Stephens in her community-wide email.

Third annual BOOM learning symposium engages campus

Third annual BOOM learning symposium engages campus

BY CAITLIN LYNCH ’20

Classes and other college obligations were paused this Tuesday, April 9 as community members participated in Mount Holyoke’s third annual Building on Our Momentum (BOOM) learning symposium for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Senate election candidates address peers, members vote

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

On Tuesday, April 2, Senate met in the Great Room in Blanchard Community Center for in-senate elections and working group mini town halls. Senators also took the time to discuss student feedback and ideas on behalf of their constituents and the specific groups they represent on campus. 

Campus election results released

Campus election results released

BY LIZ LEWIS ’22

The results of the all-campus spring elections were announced on Thursday, March 28, when Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Programs Alicia Erwin sent out an email announcing the newly elected Class Board members. In her email, Erwin wrote, “The intent to run form for those positions not filled during the first election process is also now open! We encourage you to consider running for one of the SGA and Class Board positions that were not filled.” Voting was conducted via online polls, which opened on March 19 at 9 p.m. following that night’s “Meet the Candidates” event and closed on March 25 at 11:59 p.m.

Class of 2019 Commencement to be held in the Field House

Class of 2019 Commencement to be held in the Field House

BY SAVANNAH HARRIMAN-POTE ’20

The College’s 182nd Commencement will not be held in the Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater. The ceremony will instead be held in the Field House, located in the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex.