Building a Better Blogroll

Lucy the Smooth Fox Terrier surfs the web.We’re trying to build the definitive blogroll for the Class of 1979. We’re not looking for the website of the place where you work. What we want to see are your personal blogs or the websites that you’ve built and currently maintain that reflect you, your politics or your interests. We’re starting with three categories: Community/Volunteer Websites and Blogs, Personal Blogs, and Service/Professional Blogs. Remember, what we’re looking for are blogs and websites that showcase a frequent dose of your writing and your voices. You can access the Class of 1979 Blogroll from the top menu of this site. Check back frequently because we’ll be adding new sites just as fast as we receive them.

Let your classmates know where they can get a daily Internet dose of you. To contribute your blog or website, fill out the short form you’ll find at the Contact Us page accessed through this website’s menu. Type “For Blogroll” in the Subject Line. Then send us your URL along with a brief blurb telling us what your site is about. Let me know which category your blog/website belongs to. Or suggest a new category. (Don’t forget to include the name we knew you by back at MHC if yours has changed.)

Addendum: Just in case you are wondering, that’s my Smooth Fox Terrier, Lucy, proving the famous saying: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Back to Work After Two Decades

coffee cupAt a time when some of us are thinking about retirement or career change, our classmate Amy Beckett is re-entering the workforce after nearly two decades as a stay-at-home-mom. (If you didn’t catch The Washington Post article last April that featured Amy, check it out here.)

Amy never planned it this way, especially since she’d loved her days as a lawyer in Chicago. But Life intervened for 17 years. Now here she is back interviewing, job seeking and struggling with the esteem punishment that goes with it. And she’s right to feel intimidated. She faces formidable odds, as the Post article points out:

With the nation’s jobless rate near 10 percent, long-term unemployment among women ages 45 to 64 has more than doubled in the past year, to 888,000 in February, according to the U.S. Labor Department. And the job market for lawyers is especially difficult, with the National Association for Law Placement reporting the lowest-ever rate of job offers to summer associates, and law firms delaying new hires’ start dates for the first time.

The Post article chronicles the many difficulties Amy faced returning to the workforce, even as a highly trained professional. There is also some good advice for making yourself a more attractive candidate in a highly competitive job market. But yes, Amy did finally land that job.

How many of you are going through or have gone through a similar journey? Leave a comment and tell us how you finally succeeded. Or changed course.

NOTE: There are some great pictures of Amy Beckett in the on-line version of the article. But were so well protected from “poachers” that I couldn’t include one here.

New President

MHC President Lynn Pasquerella, photo copyright: Mary Noble OursHow old does it make you feel that Mount Holyoke’s new president, Lynn Pasquerella, is from the Class of 1980? That means many of us knew her back in the day, some of us were her classmates and dorm mates, heck, some of us even Elfed her!

There’s a wonderful profile of Lynn here from the Mount Holyoke website courtesy of the South Hadley Town Reminder. But aren’t we all more interested in those “Back in the Day” stories? Come on, let’s hear the real stories of the young Lynn Pasquerella. Tell us about the time she ate a whole tray of fig bars at M&Cs, if she played a part in Junior Show and whether she used NoDoz or coffee to stay awake for late night cramming.

And again, congratulations Lynn. You are still a little sister to us!

Lynn : Now and Then.

Lynn: Now and Then. (She's walking on campus with her little sister, Keli.)

Note: Current pictures of Lynn are by Mary Noble Ours from http://www.mtholyoke.edu

Urban Gardening in Chicago

tomatoesDid you catch the wonderful cover story in the latest Alumnae Quarterly? Cultivating a Better World: Farmers & Activists Stage a Plate-Changing Revolution really struck a chord with me as a part-time farmer of sorts. However, the article focussed largely on rural efforts and the work of younger alums. What about our class and those of us in urban or suburban environments? I can think of one: our Class President Cassandra West who is actively involved with Seeding Chicago. She co-founded the project and edits their website, which explains:

The mission of Seeding Chicago is to bring you the stories of out metropolitan area’s urban farmers and the lessons they’re learning in their journeys toward sustainability. We’re also here to be a resource for ideas and information and to introduce you to people just like you who are sowing and cultivating seeds of change.

I urge you to read one of her recent articles about a tour of Chicago area urban farms and gardens. If you are in Chicago and are looking to garden, get involved or support a worthy cause, the post is a wealth of links to various metro area farms and urban garden projects.

Now how about the rest of you? Add a comment to this post and tell us what you are doing.

NOTE: The Alumnae Quarterly also posts a wonderful feature called Web Extras that offer a wonderful list of links and resources related to their cover story at the on-line version of the Quarterly. Find the Web Extras for the farming cover story here.

Share and Share Alike

Blanchard, Mount Holyoke College in Fall. From MHC Pr dept.Never let it be said that the Class of 1979 doesn’t keep up with the times. So let’s integrate our social media! In other words, we’ve set up multiple ways that you can share, keep up with and reach out and touch your fellow classmates. But, as with all things, some venues are more appropriate than others for certain things. So here’s what’s available and here’s how we propose using it.

1. This Blog/Website

We hope you bookmark our class website and make it one of your first stops when you think of checking in on class and friends. This is where we hope we can have the most extensive and meaningful online conversations. The reason we chose a blog format is that we don’t want just to post static pages and articles. We want you to comment and expand on the topic. Hopefully, we’ll find that one article will generate other with different points  of view, reflecting other experiences and offering deeper levels of understanding. We also want this site to be a great one-stop resource for the sites and resources of special interest to our class. In the column to the right, you’ll find many useful links. And don’t forget to check the Blogroll for a compendium of websites and blogs by your fellow classates.

2. Our Facebook Page

Facebook is a great venue for sharing short blurbs about our activities, pointing each other to relevant and interesting links and online articles and generating short conversations. I’m seeing our Facebook page as the incubator for the longer, more in-depth articles on our website. Let’s say  a number of us are posting links to an article on community gardens. From comments, it suddenly becomes clear there are several of us who are involved in such programs and even more of us who are interested in joining in. Bingo. There’s an idea for an article for the blog that could serve as a resource and touchstone for these activities — especially as it applies to us as MHC alums (and we do bring our own spin to things.) I think you see where I’m going with this. Facebook is also perfect for quick squibs on items that might have a short shelf life, might not be appropriate for mention on the blog/website, but are nonetheless important to us. Say, promotions, marriages, birthday celebrations and the like.

3. Our Class Flickr Page

While Facebook allows you to upload pictures, its flexibility is limited. Feel free to upload some photos to Facebook, but our Flickr page allows for more upload options in terms of picture size and resolution, extensive captioning, searching by tags, and creation of groups and sets. Perhaps most importantly, it’s the best way for me to access and repurpose your photos for our website. Which is what it’s all about.

4. Twitter

Okay, maybe here is where I show my age. I do have a Twitter account, but I seldom use it. Actually, my blog uses it as I have an automatic Tweet feature that autoposts a Tweet every time I post. I’ll probably set up something similar for our Blog/Website. But if you have better ideas for how to use Twitter to better communicate and stay in touch with each other, I’d love to hear it.

But regardless how we do it, the important thing is to stay in touch. So get those typing texting fingers going. Get yer Social Media on and let’s build our community!