Alma Matter and the Meaning of Community

I have the privilege of sitting in an office on the second floor of Milas Hall, looking out on the parking lot which is currently framed by beautiful trees in full foliage. As I sat at my desk looking out the window one day, I got to witness people seeing and embracing those they love and have not seen in a while. I was sharing, at a distance, special reunions that are all part of Family Weekend at Olin, something that was not recorded, was not viewed by others and that everyone gets to experience sometime

As we all know, family has many different elements, and kindness starts in the home. Well, when people are away at college, the campus is their home. 

I worked at the Holy Cross College main library for a couple of years. As a part-time employee, I was invited on a campus tour (that happened to be given by my 5th grade teacher’s son!). During the tour the campus guide, Tommy, mentioned that Alma Mater means “other mother.” I truly never knew this information. Per Google – “Your alma mater is your old school, college or university. It’s generally used as a positive term, implying reverence and loyalty for the nurturing qualities of the institution. Alma mater comes from two Latin words meaning “nourishing or bountiful mother.” 

When I walk around campus and see students I try to smile and say hello, remembering this is their home away from home. We want them to feel welcome and embraced while here—no matter their differences. 

In looking outside, seeing sweet embraces of people reconnecting, I hope that feeling at Olin, along with simple kindness, can flow back into an intimate, interesting, hopefully, welcoming community for everyone