In the Loop: Spring 2015

on May 14 | in Homepage, In the Loop | by

Hollins community extends support to Sweet Briar

Immediate and heartfelt reaction

SBC-rockIn March, when James F. Jones, Jr., president of Sweet Briar College, announced the college’s plans to close at the end of August, the reaction among Hollins students, alumnae, faculty, and staff was swift and supportive. After Sweet Briar designated Hollins as one of the “teach-out” schools, all of which agreed to make the transition a smooth one for students opting to transfer, the Hollins admission office acted quickly to set up open houses, information sessions, and financial aid appointments. Students painted the Rock to show their solidarity with their Sweet Briar sisters, and SGA President Georden West ’15 posted a letter on behalf of the organization on the Hollins SGA Facebook page. “Our green and gold hearts are pumping pink and green at this challenging time,” she wrote. “We are family.”

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New agreement paves the way for solar energy on campus

Hollins among 15 private nonprofit colleges included

Hollins and 14 other private nonprofit colleges in Virginia will be developing comprehensive plans to implement solar power, thanks to more than $807,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

Sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, the three-year program will help the colleges navigate the complex legal, regulatory, and technical challenges associated with installing solar systems, leverage group purchasing power to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services, and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.

The goal is to create and implement a plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years. This project has the potential to increase substantially the total amount of solar power now produced within Virginia.

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Writing program graduates team up on poetry outreach

A poem of the week in The New York Times Magazine

The New York Times Magazine, whose new design was overseen by editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein M.A. ’02, launched a new feature in February: a poem of the week. For a year, each poem will be selected and introduced by another Hollins writing program graduate, Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91, former U.S. poet laureate. “It’s very exciting that The New York Times wanted to do it, which is why, busy as I am, I felt this was something important to do for poetry in America,” Trethewey told the Emory University News Center (2/19/15). “I’m hoping to introduce the public to poets they may not know anything about, and to poems, even if they generally don’t read poetry.”

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Habitat House

Hollins chaplain Jenny Frazier Call organized a spring break trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Students worked with other volunteers and future homeowners on building the first three houses of what will be a 16-house neighborhood. From left: Call, Victoria “Breann” Oaxaca ’15, Taylor Catron ’17, Kelly Demapan ’17, Maggie O’Leary AH, Noelle Ware ’17, and Proffitt Gurley ’17.

Photo by Jaunell Murphy 

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From fried to fresh

Meriwether Godsey committed to farm-to-table menu

Executive chef Mike Shea and director of dining services Lee McMillan. Photo by Sharon Meador

Executive chef Mike Shea and director of dining services Lee McMillan.
Photo by Sharon Meador

“What? You’re not serving hamburgers and French fries every day? That’s our comfort food!”

That was the reaction nearly a year ago among some students when Meriwether Godsey (MG) became the food service provider for Hollins. A company committed to “fresh, local, and scratch,” says Executive Chef Mike Shea, MG made significant changes to the food served to the campus community—most notably a commitment to providing local produce.

“We have ramped up our menu to include a majority of local produce,” Shea says. “The response we’ve gotten to roasted, sautéed, and steamed vegetables has been really positive.”

“It’s really nice when the girls come up to Mike and say, ‘The Brussels sprouts are awesome,’” says Director of Dining Services Lee McMillan.

McMillan and Shea work closely with a small board of students to respond quickly to requests and concerns. “I go to the student board every week,” says McMillan. “They’re really into local food.” The board routinely visits student senate to give and receive feedback about dining services.

Much of the locally grown vegetables and fruits comes from Produce Source Partners, which sources produce from a variety of local farms. Hollins’ own community garden also provides fresh produce. In return, MG provides compost for the garden.

In addition, Shea and McMillan make every effort to use regionally produced poultry, pork, and dairy products. “I just think it’s really great that the local farmer and the food industry are growing much closer together,” says Shea. “That’s great for the local farms. It’s going to bring their cost down, which gets passed along to us.”

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