Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events
Eric Weld   Date: 2/16/09

The Bells Are Back

A bell hangs in the Mendenhall Center tower.

On Rally Day, Wednesday, Feb. 18, when you hear bells ringing around Mendenhall Center, you’ll be witnessing a mini-return to history.

The Smith College Change Ringers, a campus group that used to ring the bells in the Mendenhall Center bell tower for special college occasions, have regrouped after a 10-year hiatus and will chime in on Rally Day. The Mendenhall bells will ring for one hour, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., when the convocation begins in John M. Greene Hall.

“Traditionally, bells are rung on special or ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, funerals and inaugurations,” explains Elizabeth Denne, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, a leader of the Smith Change Ringers. “The Smith ringers hope to carry on this tradition by ringing at various Smith events.”

When you hear the bells on Rally Day, that means the Change Ringers will be busy inside the Mendenhall bell tower, where eight bells hang, with a rope attached to each. The bell ringers are assigned to one bell at a time and, starting in sequence from highest to lowest, they attempt to ring them in various permutations. The process is challenging due to the bells’ mechanics.

So far this academic year, the Change Ringers have made themselves heard on Mountain Day and Family Weekend, and participated in Ringing for Peace on Dec. 20, a nationwide collective bell ringing in memory of people killed during terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

The revamped bell-ringing group, also led Michael Bush, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Kirby Russell ’12, consists of 14 members—students, staff and faculty, alumnae and others from the local community.

“Bell ringing is a very enjoyable activity that one can participate in at almost any age,” explains Denne. “It is a group activity where you work with others to accomplish something.”

If you miss them on Rally Day, you can hear them again when the Change Ringers perform during Commencement weekend.

It’s a tradition.


DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z