I won big in the parking lottery of life years ago when I was assigned to the Founders lot in the center of campus. I’m thankful for it every winter when I don’t have to trek to Siberia to find my car. Being a creature of habit, I tend to pull into the same slot nearly every morning. Just so you know, it’s right in front of one of Wellesley’s signature lampposts facing the chapel. It’s mine, so I’ll thank you to keep your wheels out of it.
One morning several years ago, I nosed in and the lamppost had a message for me: REVOLT. I did a double-take, but then realized some student had probably scrolled the word down the pole in crayon. Two years later, the letters have been mostly washed away, but they still have a ghostly presence. Much as I’m not a fan of graffiti, this word somehow fits at Wellesley. After all, Henry Durant led the original revolt—against the 19th-century conventions that painted women as flighty, delicate creatures who needed to be coddled rather than educated—and generations of Wellesley women are better for it.
Revolt comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes: vocal, with signs and chanting; quiet and steady, through a multitude of silent acts and advocacy work; or even internal, just mentally refusing to accept labels and limitations. This past fall from our perches in the magazine office, we have seen many examples: Wellesley students organizing protests over the lack of indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, an alum mom tirelessly advocating to get her disabled child access to education, and a Wellesley physician who traveled to Africa to care for Ebola patients despite worldwide alarm. Flip through this magazine, and you’ll find other members of the wider Wellesley community in revolt of all kinds.
Take Deborah Cramer ’73, a well-known environmental writer who penned our cover story, “Flight to the Arctic.” An expert on the state of our oceans and climate change, Deborah logged more than 40,000 miles following the migration of a small sandpiper called the red knot, the first bird to be put on the U.S. endangered species list because global warming threatens its existence. The book (and article) that resulted are the latest in her efforts to help halt the dire effects of climate change. And then there is her much younger Wellesley sister, Ashley Funk ’16 (“Portrait of an Activist as a Young Woman”). Funk, who grew up in Pennsylvania coal country, sued her home state, seeking increased regulation of greenhouse gases.
But we see revolt in many other ways in this magazine, too. There’s Assistant Professor John Goss (“Small Worlds”), who refuses to buy the idea that science labs have to be “cookie cutter” and predictable. Or poet TJ Jarrett ’95 (“A Call to Write”) who takes on racism in America in her poetry. Or even Sarah Morin Ingersoll ’63, who doesn’t let the fact that she’s in her early 70s keep her from competing in triathlons. In an email to us, she encouraged her fellow alumnae to get out and exercise: “C’mon, grandmas, give me some competition!”
There’s a little REVOLT in all of us, and I’m glad that my lamppost reminds me of that every time I park.