Women and public service, on a scale of awesome

Cool: A new State Department initiative to support women in public service.

Cooler: The fact that Mount Holyoke College is part of this new program, and is going to serve as a world leader getting women involved in – and recognized for – public service.

Coolest: The fact that my dear friend Priti Rao is one of their success stories already!

Go Priti, go Mount Holyoke, go women kicking butt and making the world a better place, one public service position at a time!  Check out the Women in Public Service Project to see what great things they have in store for the future.

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It’s Mountain Day!

Today is my favorite holiday – Mountain Day.

At my alma mater of Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts, Mountain Day starts on a random weekday morning in the fall when the bells in the clock tower ring incessantly.  This deafening toll means that you are excused from classes, meetings, and responsibilities for the entire day.  People either sleep, study (even though, for once, it’s discouraged), or trek up the mountain.  Too lazy to climb the 940 feet?  A shuttle will take you to the top, where the MHC President dishes out ice cream for lunch.

I loved Mountain Day so much, I turned it into a monthly tradition.  Usually, I hiked with my roommate Julia and made a point of going every month we were at school – sometimes, that meant hiking at 5:00 on a December morning, sometimes we caught the last rays of light in April.  I roped other people into it as our schedules got harder to manage, and kept up the tradition my entire MHC career.

At the end of it all, I delivered this speech at commencement about how our college experiences, and our lives, resemble the waiting and the possibilities of Mountain Day.

Happy Mountain Day, fellow MoHos.  Hike that mountain for me!

Hiking buddies - Julia and me, dressed like champs

An early morning hike in winter

Mountain Day - Senior Year

Want to know more?  Read my Mountain Day post from last year!

Tradition, Tradition

I’m a big fan of traditions, the cheesier the better.  Whether it’s weekly ice cream dates or watching the same silly movies every fall (Hocus Pocus anyone?) or the way we open our presents one at a time at Christmas, I love it.

Somehow, I managed to find a college that was as nuts about traditions as me.  Mount Holyoke was crazy about them.  We had M & C’s at 9:30 every school night, even when the milk and cookies were replaced with carrots and saltines because of the budget and health concerns.  We met for ice cream on Mary Lyon’s grave on Founder’s Day.  We do synchronized canoeing to celebrate graduation (yeah, I even planned it for my class).

But nothing compares to my favorite tradition: Mountain Day.

Mountain Day is a special day for the MHC community, a spontaneous holiday that begins with the bells ringing incessantly early in the morning to announce that all classes are canceled, all obligations are dismissed, and ice cream (served by the college President) is waiting for you at the top of the 935 foot “mountain” that bears our name.

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