So Olin, being a small school with a small community, doesn't actually have all that many resources. Yes, we do have $450 Million in an endowment, so we receive most everything we need for our engineering education, but that doesn't mean we are able to hire an entire liberal arts department (though Dr. Rob Martello might make you think otherwise) or build our own athletic center. In fact, we rely heavily on the resources provided to us by our neighboring schools, Babson and Wellesley Colleges, which are adjacent and three miles away, respectively. We also are connected with Brandeis University, but to a lesser degree.
I'll be talking about Wellesley today, and not Babson, for two reasons. The first is that I absolutely adore the liberal arts, while I only have a healthy respect for business. The second is that, as Vice-President of Student Initiatives, I serve as Olin's ambassador to Wellesley, so I'll be talking about Wellesley as much as I want, thank you very much. (That said, if one of the Olin students reading this would like to send me an article on Babson, I would be more than happy to make it an addendum to this post.)
Wellesley is quite possibly the coolest place ever. Okay, granted, I swoon over old buildings, long traditions, and the subjects of history, philosophy, and theology, but it's more than that. Because they have a lake! Ok, and I suppose it's more than that, too. For me it provides a perfect complement to the modern, technological beauty of the Olin campus and a nice social extension beyond the Olin people I absolutely adore, but with whom I sometimes have too much in common. Actually, the community of Wellesley is great in its own right, as I have found them to be just as passionate and just as driven as the Olin student body, which is comforting and makes our interactions easier. Of course, it is possible that other students might have had different experiences. [Brief note: this post is, as always, my opinion. And, as always, others reading this blog should feel free to post their own opinions in the comments. However, you should know that we will censor (and have in the past) any comments whose tone or subject matter we feel violate Olin community standards or values. Expect a post on this from me soon.]
I suppose I ought to provide specifics of the Wellesley-Olin connection, rather than just adoring the school in general terms:
First, Olin and Wellesley students have the ability to take classes at each others' institutions. I will so be taking advantage of this as much as possible. I'm currently signed up for World Politics next semester, but am on the waitlist of Philosophy of Law. Yay! Last semester almost a quarter of the Olin student body took a Wellesley class. We even had one C/O '07 student, Alex Epstein, petition for and get a shuttle to take students between the schools during academic hours to make cross-registration easier. Wellesley usually sends somewhere between 5 and 15 students our way each semester, but there is a mission this year to bring this number up.
Second, Olin and Wellesley are starting to branch out socially. Wellesley students have been invited to our parties for some time now, and have even started coming, mostly through the efforts of Man Hall, our mock-fraternity, which has probably done more social connecting between the two schools than any other individual group on campus, save SAC. Wellesley and Olin have also started to share clubs. My personal example is the Babson-Olin Catholic Association and the Wellesley Newman center. We've started to hold bi-monthly game nights with each other and at the end of the year Newman lent us their meeting space in the Wellesley Chapel for our retreat, in which a few Wellesley members were even able to participate. I have also heard that the Japanese clubs are talking, that Olin's Open and Wellesley's Spectrum are on good terms, and that Olin is trying to organize a BABOW (Babson, Brandeis, Olin, Wellesley) Frisbee tournament. One of the most exciting interactions was when a few Olin men and women acted and helped out with the Wellesley production of the play Brigadoon. Oh, and sometimes we have dances together, too.
Of course, being an engineer and an Olin student, the next question is naturally what aspects this design can be improved? Well, this summer I've been working with Sarah Beth Shiplett, a member of the Wellesley class of 2009 who loves Olin as much as I love Wellesley, to develop a comprehensive set of goals for the schools' relationship. Primarily, we are looking to increase the social interaction between the two schools through more club interaction and better relations between the Council of Olin Representatives [CORe] and the Wellesley College Government [CG]. We are also pouring much of our effort into increasing the number of Wellesley students aware of the academic opportunities available at Olin, including the Olin Certificate in Engineering, which basically amounts to their earning a minor in engineering from Olin.
And now, as is my wont, I will post some wondrous, happiful pictures of Olin-Wellesley things.
So this one is from one of the BOCA-Newman game nights. Don't be distracted by the one Babson student in the picture (BOCA is a dual Babson-Olin club), even though her jacket is super prominent. The other nine women in the picture are from Wellesley.
This was BOCA's post-retreat dinner. Even though this was primarily a BOCA event, our relations with the Wellesley Newman center are so good that a few of their members felt comfortable enough to attend and contribute to an event that requires a lot of comfort with the people around you. Two are pictured above.
Unfortunately, that's all I have and, despite searching the Facebook photos of previous Wellesley ambassadors (stern glance at Meena), I cannot find any more good pictures from events I've attended. I need to learn to take more pictures. Really, there's more interaction than this. Really.
As always, thanks for reading.
-Jeff Moore, Olin College Class of 2010.