Recently, the Associated Students of Mills College (ASMC) launched a book drive in an effort to increase Uganda’s literacy rates, held the first ever Spirit Week, and organized a dinner theatre, “Murder at the Four Deuces.” The Senior class was successful in promoting senior apparel-the purple shirts are everywhere, and the Freshwoman class officers’ alacrity in promoting class spirit gives us hope for Mills’ future.
However, the participation in generic spirit events leaves us longing for more Mills-specific traditions. We are not suggesting that such events are ineffectual, but acknowledge that Mills has a 156-year history rich in traditions that are waiting to be rediscovered and renewed.
The College is marketed to prospective students as an all-embracing community, complete with student organizations and events that promise a vibrant campus life. However, many Mills students feel disappointed and disillusioned when they first experience integrating into campus life.
We suggest bringing back a sense of community through events that are fun, quirky, and unique to Mills (and no, we’re not just talking about Senior Paint Night.) By drawing on historical practices and traditions which have helped cement the feeling of acceptance between the diverse women attending the College in the past, we can continue the development of our Mills identity.
Obviously, some traditions cannot be resurrected, either because they are no longer applicable to current times, or are impossible due to our physically changing campus. Bon-fires cannot occur at Lake Aliso when the lake is practically non-existent. Wedding-engagement traditions such as “I’d rather hear Loengren,” a song which kept underclasswomen crooning about walking down the aisle instead of getting educated, are obsolete.
Student apathy also plays a major role in the lack of continuity of Mills tradition. If students don’t want to preserve historical traditions, they will fall by the wayside.
Traditions such as Class Caps, teas and gatherings, and even the president wandering around campus could really enhance the Mills experience.
We applaud ASMC for its efforts this year to engage the campus community in student activities and hope that this spirit retains its momentum. However, we hope for future events to incorporate the old customs of the College.
Most of Mills’ traditions, and the general kooky spirit inherited from a rich history of independent women, have been lost in the murky fog of time. What we advocate is for a resurrection of a few of these traditions to begin reclaiming our past, full of pride, zany antics and mischief.
We hope that by doing so, we can further build a warm, welcoming community and a grander sense of sisterhood among us.