September 11, 2001
The Bryn Mawr community remains deeply shaken by the tragic events of September 11. In the words of President Nancy J. Vickers, we continue to search for ways to help those directly affected by the attacks, to come together as a community to offer each other support, and to gain greater understanding of the complex geopolitical issues that demand our attention.

No Bryn Mawr alumnae/i died in the attacks, but there were close calls, and many have lost friends, colleagues and relatives, including four Haverford alumni. On September 13, the Alumnae Association set up a bulletin board on its website so that alumnae/i could share information about the whereabouts and well-being of classmates and friends. Members of the Bryn Mawr alumnae/i listserv, BMCALUM have discussed, with intelligence and passion, related topics ranging from the grieving process to encryption systems. Alumnae/i may subscribe to the BMCALUMlistserv at: www.brynmawr.edu/Alumnae/listserv.htm. The Alumnae Association's newsgroup bulletin board is at: www.brynmawr.edu/web-news/alumnaeboard.html. Additional information and Bryn Mawr community reactions can be found at www.brynmawr.edu/news/stories/response.shtml and http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/forum/newforum/11sept01-read.html.

News of the first jet crash into One World Trade Center quickly reached many on Bryn Mawr's campus through telephone calls. Stunned and disbelieving, then anguished, staff in administrative offices listened to radios, and faculty and students gathered around a large screen television in the Centennial Campus Center.

President of the College Nancy J. Vickers sent a broadcast e-mail announcing a 2 p.m. community meeting at the Campus Center, which would be used as a gathering and counseling place throughout the day and evening. At Haverford, President Tom Tritton convened a similar forum that filled the Field House. Students were asked not to travel to the University of Pennsylvania or elsewhere in Philadelphia that day, since Mayor John Street closed public offices at noon and increased security at the city's monuments and landmark buildings. Bryn Mawr and Haverford classes were not cancelled, however, and transportation between the two campuses continued to run.

Hundreds of students crowded in the main room of Bryn Mawr's Campus Center, its stairway and balcony until the forum was reconvened on Merion Green, where Vickers and four faculty members spoke briefly before opening discussion.

"We're gathered here because we believe that when events like this occur, it's incredibly important to make connections, to ask questions that we may not be able to answer but whose importance we can acknowledge as a community, and to begin to suggest ways in which people may respond and think about this in the coming days and weeks," said William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science, Marc Ross.


September 11 community gathering on Merion Green.

Some students said they felt classes should be cancelled to ease the strain on those worrying about family members. Others asked for advice: "People seem to be getting up to go to the PSB (Park Science Building) or Guild (computing center)," one observed. "I personally am torn. I don't know where my loyalties should lie-should I be here with my fellow sisters and brothers who have been affected by this in many ways, or should I go to class? I and others I've talked to are looking for guidance. What should we be doing?"

Vickers and Ross emphasized that different people would have different ways of coping. "For some, going to class is what they need to do at the moment," Vickers said. "For others, it is completely contraindicated. They need to step back and take a break. Follow your instincts and conscience." Ross added, "Don't be hard on yourself. And be kind to one another." Counselors from the Health Center and deans were on call around the clock, and students were reassured that faculty would understand if they needed to miss classes or deadlines. The deans and other staff members concerned with student life continued discussions of the day's events and their ramifications in dormitory living rooms. Counseling sessions also were held for faculty and staff.

The sky over Bryn Mawr that night, usually full of jets on a long approach to Philadelphia International Airport, was traced only by the lights of military planes going north and south, and circling the city.

Some 200 students from Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Villanova joined in a candlelight vigil on the evening of September 12, walking from Villanova to Haverford and then to Bryn Mawr for a peace discussion in Thomas Great Hall. Bryn Mawr senior Brooke Conley came up with the idea, but deans, students, staff and faculty from the three schools, which rarely all come together, worked hard to organize the vigil.

On Friday, September 14, the College canceled classes between noon and 1 p.m. and allowed non-essential staff to leave campus to attend services at their preferred place of worship between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Several hundred members of the community attended an all-faith gathering in Schwartz Gymnasium conducted in the format of a Quaker meeting.

"Fall Frolic," a picnic and carnival scheduled to be held September 14 on Merion Green, was renamed and reorganized in Thomas Great Hall. Student organizations set up information tables offering ways to participate in the campus and area communities.

Groups on campus have been collecting money for rescue efforts, for survivors of the attacks and for the families of victims. Monica Schmucker of Housekeeping and Alumnae Association receptionist heard on the news that supplies were being collected for rescue workers. "I knew we had some things in House-keeping so I gathered those and made phone calls to Facilities and Com-puting Services in search of other items they needed," she said. "Janice Treen from Housekeeping and I ended up with two car loads of brand new respirators, computing equipment, tons of work gloves, new work boots, bottled water and energy bars that we helped load on a tractor trailer and watched leave for New York City. It was really cool how everyone responded when I put the word out."

Bryn Mawr and Villanova students auctioned off services in Pem East living room that included a day of kayaking on the river, a night of serenades, a bedtime story and tuck-in, and three hours of dorm room cleaning and laundry.

The bi-college Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Jewish Students Association (JSA) and the Christian Fellowship sponsored an a capella concert on September 28 to raise money for Red Cross disaster relief, with performances by the Bryn Mawr Night Owls, the Haverford Humtones and Oxford Blues, and Penn Masala, an all-Indian group. Tamar Anolic '03 and Tua Chaudhur wrote in the Bi-Co, "As an excited crowd streamed in through its huge wooden doors, Thomas GreatHall rang out with a conglomeration of voices. High and low, male and female, white, black, Hispanic, Asian and South Asian, they all came together in an impromptu version of 'The Star Spangled Banner.' People had come from all over the tri-college community to enjoy a night of music and help with a good cause. The Great Hall was packed, and by the screams and cheers that followed every song, it was clear that the rest of the audience was enjoying the performance as much as [we were]."

All appointments for a September 25 blood drive were quickly booked and community members was encouraged to continue to give blood regularly. Students were reminded that while there might not be anything else they could do immediately to help victims or volunteer workers, this was an opportunity to make longer-term commitments to community service.

"One of the ways of dealing with this kind of hate is to become part of the effort to create a better world," said Jim Martin, Associate Professor of Social Work at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. "We can reach out in positive ways by starting with small actions. Volunteer in a community agency. Help a fellow student. Call a homebound relative or neighbor."

Bryn Mawr community service director Jennifer Nichols encouraged students to call or stop by the office to find a volunteer position. "There are many ways to serve this community," she wrote in an e-mail. "Some do service on and off campus. Some are activists and advocates. Some play sports or cheer on teams. Some sing in choirs. Some throw parties to help provide relief from the stresses of course work. All are important ways of celebrating who we are, learning about and serving one another."

Nichols, Associate Professor of Mathematics Victor Donnay, and 16 students traveled to New York City on October 1 with two memorial wreaths of greens collected from around campus. Condolence messages from members of the college community were folded into origami cranes and attached to the wreaths. With the help of Red Cross volunteer Jessica Bass Kirk '91, the wreaths were given to the Red Cross and to a firehouse near Lincoln Center that had lost fire fighters during the rescue attempts. The delegation had lunch with Nancy Fogelson Kirk '59 near the United Nations building, where students accompanying Donnay presented a petition to the Quaker UN Office and the U.S. mission to the UN, asking the UN to create a special International Criminal Tribunal to investigate the attacks as crimes against humanity. Nancy Kirk wrote to President Vickers of the "authentic conversation," she had with the group, "something I've been craving. So much of what people are saying to one another comes from our extreme fear, not our knowledge plus our experience. How heartening and encouraging that we are educating the young to put it all together wisely."

Message to campus from President Vickers
President of the College, Nancy J. Vickers wrote in an e-mail to the campus: "...We are sharing with each other a range of emotions-shock, grief, fear, anger, sadness. Many of our students are learning for the first time a tough lesson about vulnerability. Our lives are never fully within our control, and the world is sometimes an unsafe place. This bitter lesson can provoke a number of creative responses, including an appreciation of every day that comes upon us, and a commitment to learning and serving to the very best of our ability. But as one faculty member said, 'Each of us reacts differently to tragedy, each of us needs to take our own path to healing. A challenge for the community is to create spaces for those differences to play out with a minimum of mutual misunderstanding.' Some of us will embrace the notion of getting back into the swing of life as part of our healing and others will find that difficult if not impossible. I ask that we all be sensitive to these differences, and particularly that faculty be prepared to understand the various needs students may have as they deal with their emotions.

"As we continue to talk with one another in various contexts, I encourage us all to keep in mind the wide diversity in this community-of background, race, religion, political opinion, etc. It is important that we find ways to voice our varying views constructively, with the intention of learning from our conversation. The ground or foundation of such an exchange lies in mutual respect and openness. Bryn Mawr's roots in the Quaker tradition give us a particular commitment to honoring each person's individual beliefs and choices."

Bi-co alumnae/i respond
Bryn Mawr and Haverford alumnae/i used the bulletin board set up by the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association on its website to report and check on the well-being of classmates. (Haverford also has a board.)

Laurie Granieri '93 posted to the site: "I never thought I would seek out a digital community, but here I am. I am grateful for this forum because I trust the intelligence and sensitivity of the BMC community. I live in Jersey City, NJ. The WTC was in my face each day; many neighbors in Hoboken are missing. My husband and I are both newspaper journalists, so our natural inclination was to run to the corner store to snap up a stack of papers. We read for hours, weeping and staining our finger tips black. We head for the waterfront, staring at the empty space, the plumes of dust. The thing is, the Mawrter in me-the need to read and read, to study, to digest and analyze information-it fails me here. Knowing the facts doesn't mean I understand them."

In Washington, D.C., Michelle King '98 stood for an hour on her street corner with her lantern lit for the national candlelight vigil.

In the San Francisco Bay area, Bryn Mawr alumnae were encouraged to bring their lanterns for a Bryn Mawr-Haverford gathering in memory of Douglas B. Gardner, Hfd '83, a top executive for the bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald who was in his office at One World Trade Center when the first plane crashed. The company's headquarters were located on floors 101-105.

Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard W. Lutnick, Hfd '83, normally would have been at his desk on the 105th floor, but had taken his 5-year-old son to his first day of kindergarten. He arrived at the Trade Center to see it in flames and after trying to find out about his employees had to flee for his life when the south tower collapsed. His younger brother Gary, also at Cantor, telephoned family from his corner office, where he was trapped, to say goodbye. Memorials have also been held for Thomas Glasser, Hfd '82; Calvin J. Gooding, Hfd '84; and Philip Haentzler, Hfd '74, who are missing in New York.

President of the Bryn Mawr Club of New York City, Laura Thomas '87, her husband John and three children, one a newborn, nearly asphyxiated in the evacuation from their apartment, just a block from ground zero. "We were told to stay there and were preparing for an orderly evacuation when the first tower collapsed and the debris cloud covered our building and us," Laura wrote in an e-mail to the Alumnae Association. "We made it down seven flights and took refuge in the refrigerator section of the grocery store in the bottom of our building. Then told by fire marshals to evacuate that area, we walked out about two minutes before the other tower fell ... and were again literally about a minute away from death in dark choking smoke, but broke our way into an apartment and had an air pocket to ride out the second cloud. After the air cleared, we left the building, walked south to a ferry, and were evacuated to New Jersey, where we are staying with my mother-in-law. Briefly hospitalized with cuts on John and some debris and smoke inhalation but nothing more, which I am sure you know is simply extraordinary. My heart is heavier than I can express for all the families and friends who have lost dear ones.

"As of October 2, we are still homeless, barred from our apartment by the federal investigation into the attack-there were plane and body parts in our building complex-and my husband's architecture firm is without office space at 225 Broadway. I've told our babies that we'll be home sooner rather than later, but realistically right now we are economic refugees, searching for a decent NYC apartment to move back into!"

Laura added:"Let me state my certainty not only that New York will rise again, but that our Book Shop will thrive again in its relocated quarters."

Aparna Mukherjee '95, a multimedia forum coordinator for Bloomberg Business News, wrote to the Bulletin "seated at a terminal in the middle of pulling an volunteer all-nighter shift at Bloomberg's emergency relief center. Rest assured the people doing some of the hardest work are in better spirits than you might imagine. But there is no rest for the weary, outside of the comfort food, showers, cots and connections to the world beyond the burning rubble we're offering them here.

"Basically, we're acting as the USO for the military support, firefighters, cops, etc., helping with the search and rescue a few blocks downtown. We provide the food, showers, cots and conversation while they're taking a break. Over the weekend, I also helped to compile the list of the missing and dead for Bloomberg's news wires. I've been talking with relatives and copying information from the thousands of posters that are intended to help locate those who are surely dead-they're really more like compact eulogies. It's mindnumbing."

Monica Schoch-Spana '86, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, conceived and is directing a research effort to respond to the catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center. The project aims to understand the affected communities' immense, positive and organic responses (such as volunteerism, organized non-professional emergency assistance) so that this social phenomenon can be better incorporated into bioterrorism planning and policy development efforts.

Another alumna, Beck Young '86, Ph.D., is a senior researcher on the team as well. Beck lost her office at Two World Trade Center in the attack. The non-profit research organization Beck works for, NDRI, Inc., escaped any employee casualties and hopes to rapidly rebuild.

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