December 2021 President’s Letter
This newsletter covers August 2021 through December 2021. August began on a wonderful, optimistic note for the club. We held our first face-to-face gathering in over a year—a joyous family picnic at Groff Park in Amherst. Fifty members and guests convened for children’s fun in the splash park, good food, and terrific conversations.
In September twenty of us gathered for tours of Wildside, an 8-acre demonstration site in Conway MA, founded by Sue Bridge, ‘60. According to the Wildside website, “we explore practical ways — old and new — to achieve greater food and energy security for ourselves and our communities over the long run….Our eight up-and-down acres with granite ledge and a long, soggy meadow are not suitable for conventional farming — and yet have been transformed into an enormously productive ‘edible landscape’. The four acres or so under cultivation consist of seven gardens carefully tucked into seven distinct microclimates, with more than 100 food crops, supporting ‘guild’ plants, and many plants that help boost soil fertility.” https://wildsidegardens.org/
Sue has designed and built an amazing entity; I encourage you to visit the Wildside website and the real site itself in the spring.
We were not able to hold our cookie exchange in December nor our traditional fall launch lunch to welcome incoming first-year students from the area. We did send welcoming letters to these students on behalf of the club, with each letter featuring four wishes. As I re-read the letters it seemed to me that these are good wishes for all Wellesley students:
--We wish you serenity from being in the natural campus: Lake Waban, paramecium pond, the arboretum, the byways and pathways, all offer peace and beauty.
--We wish you intellectual invigoration from challenging interaction with your professors and classmates.
--We wish you perspective through volunteering to work on environmental problems or with kids who are hungry, hurt, or homeless.
--We wish you joy through building deep and lasting friendships with peers and professors.
We have some excellent Zoom popups planned for the spring. In late January Gigi Barnhill will provide an illustrated program on Zoom: "Printmaking Processes in 19th-Century American Books" based on her recently published Gems of Art on Paper: Illustrated American Fiction and Poetry, 1785-1885 published by the University of Massachusetts Press. The three major printmaking processes--relief prints, intaglio prints, and planographic processes (lithography and photography) will be discussed and illustrated. We’ll send an announcement and Zoom link closer to the date. In February we’ll have a repeat of our popular Zoom bookshare—just bring the details of a book you’ve enjoyed that you believe our club members would also enjoy. In March Joy Ohm will offer perspectives on workplace issues for women, based on work at Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that works with over 800 companies around the world to accelerate women into leadership. We’ll hold our annual meeting in May.
The Wellesley College Alumnae Association is changing some of the ways clubs, classes, and sigs operate to give more alums the opportunity to connect more directly to the college. Kathryn Harvey Mackintosh, Executive Director of the WCAA, described some of these changes in the fall issue of the Wellesley Alumnae Magazine. Clubs will no longer host faculty members for in-person lectures. All faculty lectures will be hosted on Zoom and will be open to all alums. You may have already seen announcements of faculty lectures held in the fall; there will be more in the spring. Clubs will no longer charge dues or encourage members to give a gift to the college through the club. In lieu of dues, clubs will receive a modest annual stipend from the WCAA to help defray operating costs. We’ve always run very lean so our club should not be adversely affected by the financial changes. And let me say that the college certainly needs our financial support. Our club dues have been $25 a year for many years. Going forward, club members should think about sending that amount directly to the college, rather than to the club. You may direct your gift to the annual fund and let the college determine how to allocate it. Or you may direct it to a specific department, program, or activity.
I look forward to reconnecting with you via our Zoom events this spring and, fingers crossed, via a face-to-face annual meeting and summer picnic.
All of our activities, whether remote or face-to-face, are guided by our club’s mission, to foster connection, engagement, and support among members of the Wellesley community living in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley:
--Connection with other members who share interests, life circumstances, and an undergraduate college
--Engagement through teach and learning with those who share a passion for the arts, the environment, community service, and social justice
--Support for one another, our local community, and the college
Although Christmas has passed I will close with a link to the Wellesley 2020 Christmas vespers. I’ve watched it several times over the previous year and it always lifts my spirits.
May we all find peace and joy in 2022.
Lee Sproull, '67
Lee Sproull, '67