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What is the Mount Holyoke You Would Like to See?

On Campus

What is the Mount Holyoke You Would Like to See?

Radix Admin

By Sonia Mohammadzadah ‘18

Prompted by the college’s new presidency, the tuition increase, and the many student concerns expressed throughout the semester, I wanted to publish a photo series showcasing a wide array of voices on changes students, faculty, and administrators would like to see take place at Mount Holyoke. Over the past few weeks I conducted brief interviews and took portraits of various members of the MHC community. My goal in publishing the series is to emphasize the need for conversation and collective action by highlighting the connections (and disconnect) between these voices.Thank you to all who participated.

 

We tend to measure academic success quantitatively. What happened to learning for the sake of learning? I don’t think knowledge is something that can or should be measured. I chose to attend a liberal arts college to receive a well-rounded education. I’d like to see the humanities valued as much as the sciences.
— Healey Suto '19
It’s hard to make friends outside of my classes and extracurricular activities. When I walk into a dining hall, for example, many students are sectioned off, in many cases by race. While it’s nice to have a core identity group, the college provides this great opportunity to meet people we wouldn’t normally encounter. I don’t think we should pass that up just because we want to stay within our comfort zones.
— Eloise Nimocks '17
I think there is a somewhat fragmented sense of community here. Mount Holyoke has this incredibly diverse student body, filled with diverse experiences and opinions that I see in class everyday. But students tend to interact principally with those within their self-selected identity groups. I wonder if there are ways to supplement this clustering and promote more challenging exchanges.
— Tim Malacarne, Professor of Sociology
Women of color are underrepresented in the STEM field. I want to be able to speak up in class and not feel like I’m expected to give the wrong answer. Accepting differences is really powerful, and it’s to all of our benefit. It was painful to realize how hard it is to make a home here.
— Mac Chambers '19
I would like to see a change in the way we, as a student body, view mental health. While still stigmatized, it is used as a form of cultural capital and perpetuates stress culture. Additionally, I want the health resources we have to be more efficient and accessible.
— Gigi Zieler '18
When I was here 16 years ago, and anything of an oppressive nature took place, we had a framework for how to talk about it. I want to get back to that place of dialogue, sustained dialogue, so that we don’t have to ask, ‘Well what do we do now?’ I would like to see a natural, proactive response rather than a reactive one.
— Jen Daigle-Matos, Professor of Psychology and Education
I would like to see an increase in compassion. My pain is not greater than anyone else’s, but my experience is mine alone, and I’m tired of the competition. Sometimes I feel very othered because parts of my identity are accepted, but I’ve yet to feel like all of me is welcome all at once.
— Kimberly Neil '17
There are a often challenges in effective communication with students and the broader community. I feel like we need a really targeted internal communications strategy that increases transparency and accountability. In order for us to make Mount Holyoke the experience students want and deserve, there needs be a strong, clear emphasis on what it means to be a community, and we must hold ourselves to that.
— Marcella Runell Hall, Dean of Students
I would like to see a Mount Holyoke that encourages us to foster our strengths rather than improve our weaknesses. Instead of developing a fear of failure, we need to learn to embrace the things we aren’t good at, the parts of ourselves that we feel ashamed of— because they make us who we are.”

“Diversity isn’t just something that higher education needs to improve rankings, it’s something that expands minds and changes perspectives in ways that we need before we leave these gates.
— Courtney Brunson '16
The change I would like to see has to do with trusting the students who are already here, and some of the things they believe they need and are not getting. There is not an institution in this country that does not claim diversity. But an inclusive space should not have to announce itself
— Kimberly Juanita Brown, Professor of English and Africana Studies