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By Kristen Cole   Date: 5/17/12 Bookmark and Share

One 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.

Smith alumnae and students recently shared their favorite memories, on Smith Facebook, of working the two weekends. Here are excerpts:

Elizabeth Buchanan ‘96—"Serving Julia Child at her Class dinner. One of my favorite moments ever."

Ellen Shaffer ‘81—"I enjoyed 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."

Ingrid Dávalos ‘10—"Everything! 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?"

Lauren Dillard ’73—"I 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..."

Cheryl M. Hammond ’93—"Housemate 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."

Barb Curran ’89—"Meeting 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 Smith."

Carolyn Trench ’07—"I 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 heavy!' And I was 20, and she was over 80!"

Devin Burke ’07—"The 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."

Sirinya Tritipeskul Matute ’04—"I 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!"

Zohra Fazal ’05—"Having two extra weeks, sans classes and assignments, to enjoy the campus, Northampton, and Smithies :-)"

Stacy Braverman ’06—"Polishing 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.

Suzanne Katz ’91—"I worked each reunion I was at Smith, but had the most fun the year my grandmother came up to celebrate her 55th!"

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