A woman of the world.Evelyn Perez-Landron ’16
The first time I visited Mount Holyoke, the summer before my senior year in high school, I came by myself. I didn’t want my parents to sway me toward a college closer to home that I did not want to attend.
“Kept calling me”
Having grown up in Boston, there was something about the small, quiet, welcoming community at Mount Holyoke that kept calling me. I put all of my chips in one basket and applied early decision to MHC. And I got in.
Global and alumnae experiences
When I arrived at MHC my first year, I lived in McGregor, with mostly seniors. They took me under their wing and taught me to be proactive. To ask for what I wanted. To use The Lynk early and often. To study abroad—which I did, in Montpellier, France. To grow in cultural and linguistic awareness, which led me to a summer internship in Casablanca, Morocco.
Returning from my global experiences, I attended the Black Alumnae Conference in fall 2015. Here I connected with the keynote speaker, actress Michelle Hurst ’74. We shared our experiences about how we found Mount Holyoke. When we spoke about my interest in helping women and children survivors of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, she gave me a small piece of advice: “Search the name ‘Eve Ensler.’ ”
Connections and challenges
I discovered that Ensler, famed writer of The Vagina Monologues, is also a prominent global activist. She devotes her life to the female body and how society should not only talk about it, but also value it—ideas I find crucial to better understanding human trafficking. I also learned that she would soon be speaking in two places: Boston (but the event was sold out), and the Women of the World Festival in London, which was not sold out. I thought to myself, “How can I get to London?”
SGA President Courtney Brunson ’16 had an idea that took me from $0 to $1,500 in short order. I made proposals to various MHC departments, to deans, and to the president’s office. Students can apply for MHC funding via these campus channels. They need to persuasively demonstrate that their passions tie back to academic and professional interests.
The power of MHC women
I updated Michelle Hurst about my funding success. She said, “Bravo! Even I am impressed by what a short conversation can bring about! It’s proof, once again, of the power of MHC women!”
Soon it was time to go to London. All of my effort and hard work got me there. I felt confident arriving at an unfamiliar place and excited to learn about the unknown.
The WOW weekend event drew people from all parts of the world. There were amazing keynote speakers, but my main focus was the panel proctored by Ensler, called “Bodies of Revolution.” It focused on intersectionality, which involves ideas of economics, politics, ethics, and many more, and how there is an inequality in so many aspects. This is especially true in countries with limited resources.
The panel demonstrated how in most scenarios, women are forced to stay in a place where they feel they do not belong because of different kinds of personal debt. This may happen when a woman is forced into marriage, sold out for prostitution by her parents, or forced into another form of labor. This is modern-day slavery. The panel also reinforced how when women join together as one sisterhood, a lot can be accomplished. For me, I have felt this sisterhood every step of the way in my journey here at Mount Holyoke.
Photo of Evelyn Perez-Landron ’16 with Eve Ensler.
A new bold journey ahead
As I begin my new journey at Accenture after graduation, I do so with an incredible amount of confidence. And dreams: I’m hoping to work in other parts of the global community and connect with many new people—and MHC alumnae—along the way.
Now I understand why Mount Holyoke was calling my name: the College recognized my boldness and the beautiful things that I am capable of. It was a bold choice and I trusted my instincts. Four years later, I remain convinced that MHC was the right choice for me.