In late 1895, Mount Holyoke students decided to form a fire brigade. And in doing so, they made history. A story that year from the New York Journal reported that theirs was the first all-women’s fire department in the nation. As far as we know, this amazing story checks out.
The Mount Holyoke College community takes a moment to reflect back on the year that was as we gear up for the year to come. (And by gear up, we mean get ready to rock with a combination of intrepidness, curiosity and compassion!) Stay on the pulse of College stories by subscribing to The Gates blog and following Mount Holyoke on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What is it like for a Cuban American from Miami, Florida, to come to college in western Massachusetts? As you might imagine, it’s different. VERY different. I mean, before coming to Mount Holyoke, I had never seen an apple tree in my life. I grew up in the tropical weather of Miami where all the fruits we grew at home were mangoes, avocados and bananas. I love my home city, but I was ready to experience the seasons and see snow!
As a naturally inquisitive and chatty person, I was in uncharted territory when I recently lost my voice for a week. Vivid hand language and creepy whispering became my primary modes of communication. And when sounding like a strangled mix of Darth Vader and the Cookie Monster started to feel obnoxious, I stopped attempting to talk and interacted with my community from an even quieter perspective.
This unexpected experience helped me see that it’s the subtle things that help forge the mosaic of our community. Here’s a look at some of the distinctive things, -isms and unspoken traditions that make Mount Holyoke such a special place.
Before there was speech, was there song? Before there was ready light, was there a flickering glow? The deepest reaches of the human heart seem to know these truths instinctively. That such simple sensory experiences — voices raised, candles held close, warm bodies seated side by side — can elicit such profound feelings of comfort, peace and kinship speaks to the power of embedded memory. Were we made to sing? To make music? To be together? To reflect? To connect?