of the Best Jobs on Campus, as Alumnae Recall
As alumnae arrive on campus
for commencement and reunion this weekend, and second reunion
next week, they will be greeted by about 200 Smith undergraduates,
who will assist them everywhere: opening doors, carrying
luggage, serving meals and shuttling them around campus.
Scenes of students
on the job Commencement and Reunion Weekends
Photos by Himani Aggarwal '12
The work adds up to thousands
of work shifts, from about 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day. Each
student is asked to work 40 hours a week, but many work more,
said Nancy Streeter Howes, who coordinates the effort for
the Alumnae Association.
“Alumnae love to learn about what’s happening on campus and students like to
hear about what campus was like years ago,” said Howes. “They form relationships
that last a lifetime.”
The highly coveted jobs working
commencement and second reunion weekend are not open to graduating
seniors. And, most juniors are unable to seek them out because
of study abroad. Despite that, the Alumnae Association receives
about two applications for every available slot.
and students recently shared their favorite memories, on
Smith Facebook, of working the two weekends. Here are excerpts:
Julia Child at her Class dinner. One of my favorite moments
being on campus during the loveliest week of spring, watching
my favorite upperclasswomen graduate, hearing Adrienne Rich
galvanize the Class of '79, and starting the summer with
money in the bank."
Meeting wonderful women and hearing their stories, making
new friends, going to special events, being part of the Ivy
Day parade before being a senior, eating amazing food...should
I go on?"
remember stumbling down to the dining room of Cutter House
for breakfast and being rocked by the energy of the alums
eating and talking before Ivy Day! I knew at that moment
I was a Smithie to my core..."
Karen Bardsley [’93]
and I served Madeleine L'Engle's class dinner; after supper
she gave a talk while we washed dishes during a huge thunderstorm.
At least, that's how I remember it."
the alums from the '40s and hearing their stories—especially
those who had lived in Morris House! Seeing that their friendships
had survived and even thrived during the many years since
loved seeing how awesome the older alums were. I worked
with a class from the '40s as an ambassador and they were
so on the ball! One moment stuck out: an alum was getting
ready to leave and I offered to carry her suitcase. 'Oh
no,' she demurred, 'it's
I was 20, and she was over 80!"
best part was working with classmates I might not have met
otherwise, and getting to spend time with returning alums.
They were so happy to be back on campus! It was fun to watch
them rediscover Smith and see how things had changed and
what was still the same."
worked reunion in 2002. While doing door watch at one of
the houses occupied by the 10-year reunion, I saw women with
their young children and some with spouses. It dawned on
me that one day, I might get to bring my own children and
a spouse to a Smith reunion. This made me so happy! I don't
have any kids yet, but I have a spouse who I think is looking
forward to attending a Smith reunion. I hope he's ready!"
two extra weeks, sans classes and assignments, to enjoy
the campus, Northampton, and Smithies :-)"
the entire banister in the Alumnae House? No, wait..... I'd
pick talking with Kitty Galbraith about her time in India
as the ambassador's wife; marching in the Ivy Day parade
escorting Miriam Cohen, the oldest living female Marine veteran;
earning money while studying for the LSAT during door-watch
shifts; and getting extra time to hang out on campus during
the prettiest time of year.
each reunion I was at Smith, but had the most fun the year
my grandmother came up to celebrate her 55th!"