On Wednesday, Oct. 30, the Association of Pan African Unity (APAU) and the Mount Holyoke African and Caribbean Students’ Association (MHACASA) held a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Betty Shabazz Cultural Center.
DEI initiatives updated on campus
BY GILLIAN PETRARCA ’23
On Oct. 9, the Mount Holyoke community received an email update on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiative (DEI) from Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion.
The email highlighted the launch of new diversity training and workshops, which staff will attend to better meet students’ needs. Other new initiatives include a new name change policy, which will be shared with the community in November. Coming in January, a week of human rights and social justice will be established in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
Sanders-McMurtry ended the update by listing upcoming DEI Programs, with the soonest being, “The Reunion Project at Mount Holyoke College: Appreciating Generational Diversity in Dialogues Across Difference,” which will be held on Monday, Nov. 4 from 2-4 p.m. in Gamble Auditorium. This program will feature Mount Holyoke alums from the 1950s and 60s sharing their life stories from the past 70 years.
Blanchard dishwasher breaks down
BY KATE TURNER ’21
Around 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, the Dining Commons dishroom was shut down due to a blown fuse in the dishwasher. For the next three days, Dining Services operated using exclusively compostable dishes and flatware until they could acquire and install a new fuse for the machine. During this period, student workers assigned to the dishroom were informed that the machine was temporarily inoperable, but were asked to report to their shifts regardless, where they would be instructed what to do by a manager. Other permanent members of the Dining Commons staff also reported to work as normal during this time.
According to Mount Holyoke’s Director of Dining Services Richard Perna, the Dining Commons stocks at least seven days worth of emergency compostable materials at all times in case of a malfunction or emergency, and so they did not need to source any materials to account for the malfunction beyond the new fuse. As of Monday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m., the dishroom has been fully operational.
Swastikas discovered on Smith buildings, Five College community responds
BY KATE TURNER ’21
Beginning Thursday, Oct. 24, Campus Police at Smith College responded to multiple reports of swastikas drawn in marker on the walls of various buildings on campus. After a more extensive search, police reported finding similar drawings in three academic buildings: Seelye, Bass and Burton Halls.
Smith College President Kathleen McCartney released a statement to the Smith College community later that day to “condemn in the strongest terms this act of hatred and cowardice.”
McCartney was joined by President Sonya Stephens, who described the vandalism as “an ugly reminder of the work that remains ahead of us,” in a letter to the Mount Holyoke community.
“The use of this symbol is meant to terrorize and demean our Jewish friends, family and colleagues,” Stephens wrote of the swastikas. “This symbol is an act of violence perpetrated against our entire community but has specific implications for the Jewish community, given the history and legacy associated with it.”
According to McCartney, campus police at Smith College are working with the Northampton Police Department to conduct a full search of campus for further vandalism.
Initial reports by Students in Alliance for Israel at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst stated that there were swastikas found on the Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, Oct. 30. More updates are expected in the coming days.
14 ecological art installations have been exhibited on campus. The pieces were created as part of Guest Artist in Art Amanda Maciuba’s course, “Expanded Print Media.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.