Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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5 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: Our school is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful schools in the country and there is a reason!

4 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: I think the overall culture of our school in its attempts to seek out equality and understanding between students is one of the most important aspects.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: Everything is available and it is simply great. Library is awesome. Beautiful place to study, limitless resources. Athletic center open at good hours. Traditions are fun.

5 College Freshman

Campus Quality: Student life on campus is vibrant. The athletic center has everything that you can imagine. A gigantic pool to the standard equipment to do some work out. During the week there are also free exercise classes such as Zumba and yoga. Along with Mount Holyoke traditions, every class year has something to look forward to. There are also amazing speakers that come and visit the school. This past semester alone we've had Rebecca Eaton to even America Ferrera. There is always something to do on campus.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Campus Quality: No matter what academic building you go into, there are always enough computers to use. During the day, students take the opportunity to rush to a computer new class and finish an assignment or catch up on some reading. Also, students can use academic buildings and their classrooms to practice a presentation or even get together with a study group.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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For a small school, there’s a decent amount of things to do here on any given day. True, there are not a lot of “hangout” places, so if you really want a social event on the spur of the moment that has more structure than going to Blanchard, finding some friends, and sitting down to watch the big-screen TV, you’ll have to go off campus. Mount Holyoke is bursting with cultural and educational opportunities. There are always many more speakers on campus in a week—on topics ranging from biology to politics to literature and beyond—than any student has time to see. The art museum, which often has special exhibits that are displayed for a limited time only, and the greenhouse are both excellent places to go if you just want to walk around and be visually entertained. The theater, often overlooked, hosts a series of student-run productions throughout the year. And there’s always the gym, which has nearly everything you could want for exercising, even if you’re not an athlete.

In general, the campus is very aesthetically pleasing. It was planned to be that way—the layout was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. The entire campus is built on a series of hills, so there are many places where you can get a great view of other parts of campus. The dark red brick buildings, many of which date from the first half of the 20th century, are interspersed with trees that turn brilliant colors in autumn. Even the newer buildings were designed so that they would blend in as unobtrusively as possible, although some might say that the towering dome of Kendade, the science building, interferes with the skyline.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
800 acres
Student Centers
Blanchard Campus Center
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Music Library
  • Williston Memorial Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Blanchard Student Center
  • Dorm common rooms
  • The Info Commons
  • Skinner Green
Bar on Campus
No, but the senior class does sponsor "Pub Nights" each month where alcohol is available for purchase with ID and there's always music.
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
No. However, open mic nights happen frequently throughout the year in Blanchard, or across the street at the Odyssey Bookshop. Also, the Thirsty Mind coffeehouse is across the street.
Movie Theater on Campus
No, but the Film Board, a student organization, does free screenings on a fairly regular basis in auditoriums, Blanchard, and even Gettell Amphitheater.
School Slang
  • .chat: Short for, this is one of the MHC-only newsgroups, and the most popular. Here is where students will argue, beg each other for rides, enlighten each other on political matters, keep each other awake during finals, and much more. If you don't read it, you're slightly out of the loop.
  • .plan: Another feature accessed through the telnet shell, this is a text file that attaches to every MHC user's account (an artifact of UNIX), which can be made Word readable if desired. A popular form of communication, it's taken on a life of its own, with students using their plans like a combination of online bulletin board and online journal. You can literally write anything you want here. Others' plans are accessed by using the finger command (defined above) with that person's MHC username. Many people write shout-outs to their friends that reference those friends' plans, leading to the phenomenon of "plan chains" (finding the username of someone else who has a plan while reading a plan, and then going on to read that other person's plan), which can keep a bored student occupied for hours. Some people even find that they are beginning to call their friends by their usernames instead of their given names, and wonder why their friends haven't updated their plan within the last 24 hours.
  • The Blanch: Blanchard Campus Center and CafĂ©. Students tend to abbreviate many names on campus and this is one that gets cut down often.
  • The Confessional: The Mount Holyoke Confessional, a web site ( that allows students to post and respond anonymously to topics that range from serious campus issues to ridiculous queries. The confessional is generally frowned upon and its format is used by many colleges.
  • The Delles: North and South Mandelle Hall.
  • The Dirty: Students will often call the Thirsty Mind (coffeehouse across the street from campus) by this name, short for the "Dirty Mind."
  • Dis-O: Stands for Disorientation, the bonding event that takes place every fall between first-years and seniors. A more detailed description is in the Traditions section.
  • Fac-Man: Short for Facilities Management, the people who maintain order and cleanliness throughout campus. (As in, "The only light in my room just burned out! I have to call Fac-Man!") Some old-schoolers will still refer to them as B and G, as the name for this department was Buildings and Grounds until a few years ago.
  • Finger: The command used from within the telnet shell to check another user's information, including their .plan.
  • First-year (or firstie): What we call our freshmen. There are no men here!
  • FP: Frances Perkins student, older than traditional college-age students.
  • The Green: Skinner Green, between Blanchard and Skinner Hall. Site of sunbathing in warm months, treacherous ice fields in cold months, and various festivals in spring months. The center of campus. (The most coveted dorms, closest to the center of campus, are said to be "on the Green.")
  • HP: Short for Hall President. This designates the one student chosen by Res Life to oversee dorm life in the dorm in which she lives.
  • Jojo: Our president, Joanne Creighton.
  • The Jolt: The Daily Jolt, a Web site ( that features daily menus, a rundown of what's happening on campus and on other Five College campuses for the next few days, online forums, weather reports, and cool professor quotes, among other things. It's updated regularly by Mount Holyoke students, although the Jolt format is used by many colleges.
  • J-Show: Junior Show. More information in the Traditions section.
  • J-Term: January Term, a mini-semester during the month of January, in between the fall and spring semesters. Students can choose to take a class during this time, take advantage of some of the many non-credit courses and just for fun activities, or just chill out with their friends. Some students also take this time for an extended vacation and return to campus with the beginning of the spring semester.
  • MoHo: Short for "Mount Holyoke," connotative of other things, this nickname started out as a slightly derogatory designation for Mount Holyoke students, but in recent years it seems to have caught on with students, who now proudly use it to describe themselves.
  • NoHo: Short for Northampton-home of Smith College and a lot else. It's a popular destination for students who need a break from the lack of commercialism in South Hadley.
  • OneCard: The piece of plastic that gets you into your dorm, allows you to eat meals on campus, serves as a photo ID, library card, and a debit card with your MHCXPress account (a debit account granted to every student), and probably does some other things besides. Since so many necessary functions are attached to this one card, it's best to take good care of it.
  • Pine: The e-mail program that works with the telnet shell (defined below). You don't need to use it anymore, as Mount Holyoke now offers Web-based e-mail, but you'll still hear students talking about going off to "check their pine."
  • Prospie: Prospective student.
  • PVTA: The Five College bus that goes back and forth between all of the Five Colleges.
  • The Rockies: North and South Rockefeller Hall.
  • SA: Stands for Student Advisor. This is essentially the same thing as what other colleges call an RA.
  • Smithies: Smith Students
  • Big/Little Sisters: Juniors are paired with one or more first-years who become their "little sisters." There is an ice cream social planned for the very beginning of the school year at which the two classes are encouraged to mingle and, traditionally, juniors escort their little sisters to fall Convocation. A mentoring relationship may or may not ensue.
  • Canoe Sing: Part of the final days leading up to Commencement in the spring, this event is when seniors go out on Lower Lake in canoes and paddle around in different formations as their classmates sing from the bank. It is held at night, with colored lanterns both strung from the canoes and on land. There are fireworks afterwards if the weather is good.
  • Class Colors: Each class, upon entering, is assigned a class color and class mascot. These stay with the class all four years and only get "recycled" when the class graduates. The four mascots are: Blue Lion, Green Griffin, Red Pegasus, and Yellow Sphinx.
  • Disorientation: A sort of initiation for the first-years combined with a bit of dorm competition, this tradition is meant to provide a bonding opportunity for seniors and first-years. The seniors in each dorm plan activities for "their" firsties-activities that range from wearing their clothes inside out and backwards to stealing another dorm's dorm banner. Dis-O lasts for a week in the fall beginning with a nighttime rally where seniors roust firsties from their beds to go out to the Green and cheer, chant, and sing with dorm pride. Participation is voluntary and activities are never allowed to cross the line into hazing or outright destruction.
  • Elfing: This is the bonding opportunity for sophomores and first-years. Sophomores become "elves" for a week, while first-years become "elfees." Elves leave small gifts and notes for elfees during this time, along with placing magazine cutouts with original captions around the dorm. (On the first night, it's traditional to cover an elfee's door with newspaper, giving them a surprise when they try to leave the room in the morning!) At the end of the week, elves reveal themselves at a special M and Cs.
  • Faculty Show: A once-every-four-years event, this is a variety and comedy show that showcases the faculty's talents and "talents." It, like Junior Show, makes fun of aspects of the school, but from the faculty's perspective.
  • Founder's Day: On Founder's Day (November 8, or nearest Sunday), seniors gather at Mary Lyon's grave early in the morning, wearing their graduation robes, to eat ice cream served by the President and other faculty and staff. The day, which celebrates MHC's founder, culminates in a special dinner that features a special (though not necessarily tasty) dessert: Deacon Porter's Hat. Founder's Day is celebrated during the first days of the Seminary, and the dessert comes out shaped like a top hat, and tasting like a not-very-sweet spice cake.
  • Junior Show: Performed every year in the beginning of the spring semester, this is the juniors' chance to show off their school spirit while making fun of any and every aspect of the school. The show is entirely student-written and produced, and features a number of skits starring juniors. It is performed on three separate nights: faculty/staff night, when faculty and staff get in for a reduced price; little sister night, when first-years get in for a reduced price; and senior night, when seniors get the reduced price. (Juniors always get in for free; sophomores can get in for free if they're willing to wear the juniors' class color!) Senior night is notoriously raucous, with seniors writing their own versions of the skits and interrupting the performance in various ways.
  • Laurel Parade: Part of the commencement/reunion festivities held in late May, this tradition brings together alumnae from reuniting classes with the graduating class, who become the newest alumnae. All classes dress in white with touches of their class color, except for graduating seniors, who wear only white. Each class parades through campus, holding signs and their class banner. Last of all come the seniors, carrying a chain of laurel. When the beginning of the parade gets to Mary Lyon's grave, the alumnae part to form an aisle through which the seniors walk amidst cheers. Seniors then weave around the grave site until everyone surrounds the grave. They then place the laurel on the fence and sing "Bread and Roses," an old suffragette song, while the President places flowers on the grave.
  • Mountain Day: Once every fall, on a day that is meant to be unknown in advance, the President announces that classes have been cancelled. The Mary Lyon bell tolls for five minutes straight at 7 a.m.; that's the signal that you really can go back to sleep. Everyone is free to do what they want for the day. It is traditional to climb Mount Holyoke. If you are there at the right time, the President will be at the top with ice cream.
Urban Legends
  • Ghost stories abound: there is a ghost room in Wilder where a student supposedly killed herself many years ago, there are wraiths that wander the halls of 1837 and the Mandelles, incorporeal beings that pull the fire alarm in Pearsons, and if you're walking at night across the bridge by Willits and you hear someone calling to you, don't look under the bridge-or you'll find a corpse! Mary Lyon used to be buried in her gravesite on campus, but some students from Wheaton College, which she also founded, stole her remains. Mount Holyoke students stole them back, but doubt remains as to whether they really only stole an empty casket, the original thieves having been careful to remove the body.
  • If you walk under the main gates as an undergrad, you won't graduate.
Favorite Things To Do
Take advantage of all the school-sponsored events that occur throughout the year, such as weekly parties in Blanchard, May Day festival, and No-Study Zone (held before finals and hosted by Student Programs. This event features kids' toys and games that will relieve stress and help you relive your childhood), to name a few. Las Vegas Night, held every fall, is always popular, and students have fun coming up with the perfect themed outfit to wear while playing the role of a dealer or gambler for a few hours. There is always the free Spring Concert. In the past features artists have included Kanye West, Hellogoodbye, M.I.A., and India.Arie. If you just want to hang out, try going for the pool table in Blanchard or find a spot on Skinner Green in nice weather and people-watch or chat with friends. There are Adirondack chairs scattered about the grassy areas all over campus. You can always find someone on the computer in the Info Commons or eating in a dining hall. You can work out at the gym, take a walk around Upper Lake or on any of the trails in that area, visit the horses at the Equestrian Center, see a free (for students) showing of a student-run play on opening night at Rooke Theater, watch a Film Board movie screening on the weekend, visit the art museum, go to a party held at a cultural house, grab something to eat at Blanchard and then check your e-mail, burn CDs on the computers in the Info Commons, admire the flowers in Talcott Greenhouse (and possibly get a free plant to take home), sunbathe on Skinner Green in warm weather, build snow sculptures there in cold weather, and skate on the ice skating rink outside Blanchard in freezing weather. The campus is particularly inviting to those who just want to spend some time outside taking in the scenery, although there are plenty of indoor and cultural activities, as well. What you find to do is only limited by your imagination—although you won’t find a lot of hard-core partying on this campus.
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
Following is a partial list of student organizations at Mount Holyoke; there are nearly 200 organizations in total, whose decriptions and contact information can be found at the student organizations Web site.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: Yes

Student Polls

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 19 responses

  • 26% Mountain Day
  • 17% Pangy Day
  • 14% Elfing
  • 11% Class Colors
  • 6% Founder's Day
  • 4% Laurel Parade
  • 4% Disorientation
  • 3% Big/Little Sisters
  • 3% Faculty Show
  • 3% Interfaith Lunch on Wednesdays at Eliot House
  • 3% Drag Ball
  • 1% Canoe Sing
  • 1% Junior Show
  • 1% Ring & Rose Ceremony
  • 1% Drag Show
  • 1% Athletic Events

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 53 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 18 responses

  • 22% Hanging out on the green
  • 15% Walking
  • 13% Everything
  • 11% Grab coffee with friends
  • 9% Studying in the reading room of the library
  • 7% Org involvement
  • 5% Participating in all the stuff at Eliot House
  • 5% Planning field trips with friends off campus
  • 5% Hanging in the dorm for study or movie binges
  • 5% Parties with friends
  • 2% Participating in or attending athletic events

How accommodating is this school to students with physical disabilities?    Based on 18 responses

  • 67% Very accommodating. The school does everything in their power to make sure the needs of every student are met.
  • 33% Pretty accommodating. The school has taken a lot of steps to accommodate the needs of students, but they've missed a few things.
  • 0% Slightly accommodating. The school has taken a few steps to accommodate students, but not nearly enough.
  • 0% Not accommodating. Students with physical disabilities are practically ignored here.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 54 responses

  • 37% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 57% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 4% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 2% I hate my school and have no school spirit.


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