The People Make the Place
In February, the Alumnae Association will launch the Project Mawrter initiative for our community to recollect and revel in those things that we each cherish about our past experiences as students at the College as well as our experiences within the alumnae/i community.
I’ve been thinking about those experiences a lot over my first year as president of our Alumnae Association. In my role, I sometimes have the opportunity to see “backstage"; that is, I am afforded an operations perspective of the College that most alums do not have. One might think that this proverbial backstage is a cluttered, messy place with random people running about and periodically shrieking and waving their hands in the air. At least that is how I would imagine it were I not able to peer behind the curtain.
But it’s not like that at all. I have come to appreciate the beautifully orchestrated dance that has to happen backstage in order for the College to operate and thrive. And that is no easy matter, you can imagine!
As with most institutions, it is the people that make the place. I meet regularly with representatives from the staff at every level and in every conceivable role and am consistently blown away by their level of devotion and dedication toward the students and the institution. Similarly, the faculty with whom I interact during each visit to the College, just as when I was an undergraduate, speak of their work, both as teachers and researchers, with such pride.
This work in the wings by faculty and staff is what allows our students to shine. They consistently dazzle me, whether they are pursuing a physics degree with passion, seeking to solve environmental problems in far corners of the globe, or performing in an experimental dance troupe. You would easily recognize them, for they are us: bright, quirky, inquisitive, and ever critically assessing the world around them. Our admissions applications are at a record high, and the quality of our prospective students is enviable. Now, more than ever, the kind of education, the kind of experience, that Bryn Mawr provides is hungered for by
a certain kind of young, promising woman.
Despite these successes, I sometimes hear our alums publicly critique the school on social media over some issue or another, sometimes without facts to support the critique.
I am always a little perplexed by this—not the urge to be critical, as that is human nature and can be a healthy vehicle of change, but rather why from time to time so much energy seems to go into exploring the negative without equal thought and attention to the many wonderful things we can celebrate about Bryn Mawr. So, in anticipation of Project Mawrter, I ask you to think hard about the wonderful, unique experiences that make you proud to be a member of the Bryn Mawr community. Take stock of what sets us apart from other institutions and alumnae/i networks.
Then, come February, we’ll be providing ways to celebrate that pride and shout it from the rooftops. Stay tuned for more details over the coming months.