Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sweet Briar 2.0: Be a Part of History!

Brooke Linville, creator of and
Sweet Briar superheroine.
Yesterday, June 20, 2015, the office of VA Attorney General Mark Herring announced that mediation has been successful, and that Sweet Briar College would stay open.

The elation brought the story all the way to the top of the trending list on Facebook. We have cried, shouted, sung, and rung the bells on campus. I have never felt such relief. If we can manage this turnaround right, Sweet Briar will remain open for our daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. I am not saying that all of my female progeny have to attend, but I would love leave an incentive in my will for them to apply and interview.

Not that I am complaining, but the question I am now left with is: whence goeth my blog? I had expected to write at least several more empassioned posts imploring folks to help save the school. Now that it is saved - hurray! - what is its reason for being?

The answer that comes to me is recruitment. Sweet Briar will be open this fall, and I intend to keep shouting from the rooftops what a great school this is and why every woman approaching their college years should apply and interviews.

So here's my first reason you should attend Sweet Briar, dear future vixen: our feisty, supportive group of alumnae. When the closure was announced, we had a moment of silence and grief, and then we sprang into action.

On Facebook, we mobilized into groups based on expertise: marketing, law, business, IT/web, etc. An unbelievable alumna named Brooke Linville immediately set up the website that served as the hub for fundraising updates: She has a family and a job, yet she burned the candle at both ends for months to help make our success possible. Countless others like her led the effort in their own arenas, fighting legal battles and raising funds.

Mediation succeeded because these dedicated alumnae found creative ways to call us to action to support our school. There were T-shirt sales, fundraisers, crafts, and events throughout the country. Brooke Linville got creative, setting up contests, unafraid to turn her website into a scavenger hunt for vixens and cows, and even offering to take pictures of herself in a cow costume if pledges on the website got high enough.

Laugh if you want, but here is the Sweet Briar difference: our faculty, staff, and alumnae will do everything in our power to support the success of Sweet Briar and her students. We write letters of recommendation, post job openings, and host students in our homes, schools, and workplaces. We will even overwork and poke fun at ourselves for a cause we believe in. We don't do this out of obligation, but out of a passionate love for this school. Sweet Briar helped us to find our success, and we can't wait to offer a hand of support to the next wave of graduates. This isn't cronyism; this is community. By attending this institution, you enter a meritocracy of sisters. My Sweet Briar sisters have been my confidantes, bridesmaids, best friends, job counselors, and so much more. They are the kindest and most intelligent, hardworking, and motivated women I have ever met. Further, the staff still remember my face and give me hugs when I visit the campus, and my professors still remember me fondly. If I need help, they are eternally there.

Apply to Sweet Briar and be a part of history. This year, we will do everything we can to hold onto what makes our school great, remove what nearly steered her into ruin, and innovate to make her into the finest institution she can be. After your history-making tenure at Sweet Briar, you will be invited into the fold of our sisterhood, and we will do everything we can do nurture you in your future endeavors.

Join us as we create Sweet Briar 2.0!

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