Over the summer Mount Holyoke launched its new never fear / change campaign. The college debuted the logo through an initiation video produced by Mount Holyoke’s Digital Content Manager, John Martins, and Clarity Guerra ’09. The slogan, with its “/,” is meant to be open to interpretation and can either be read as Never Fear Change or as Never Fear. Change.
Since its conception, the administration has made a strong effort to integrate the slogan into students’ daily lives. The campus is currently adorned with posters and signs promoting the phrase. Additionally, other sayings such as, “You don’t have to be perfect. Just prepared,” and “Mary Lyon wasn’t afraid of change. Neither are we.” are displayed across Mount Holyoke’s campus.
The College is currently in the process of ordering t-shirts with the new logo to sell at the campus store; many students already received t-shirts at Convocation. At the SGA’s Get the Scoop event on Friday Sept. 6, student representatives handed out glow-in-the-dark spoons with the new motto.
This year, prospective students have been asked what the slogan means to them on Mount Holyoke’s supplement to the Common Application.
The Class of 2017 has been specifically introduced to the campaign through orientation events, such as Orientation 101, Convocation and even the Welcome Back Fall A Cappella Jam. First-years also participated in an event where they wrote goals they want to accomplish while at Mount Holyoke on a fabric ribbon. The ribbon was then tied around Mary Lyon’s grave in order to honor both MHC’s founder, as well as its newest students.
Partricia Vandenberg, the Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, explained the underlying significance of the slogan: “[Mount Holyoke] will prepare you to face the future with confidence. The world is changing rapidly, and [this institution] will equip you to not only embrace change, but lead it,” she said.
Vandenberg elaborated how the branding campaign is meant to embody Mount Holyoke students. “Mount Holyoke women have a long, proud history of leading change in a wide range of fields— medicine, law, science, the arts, government and business, to name a few. The College and our alumnae have also been at the forefront of many social change movements,” she said. “Mount Holyoke women are ‘doers.’ They are smart, strong, hardworking, confident, ambitious, unafraid to challenge the status quo, competent, idealistic, creative and passionately committed to both their own success and working for the common good!”
For President Lynn Pasquerella, the slogan also applies to Mount Holyoke’s roots as a liberal arts college: “The kind of education that we offer students, the liberal arts education, really does prepare students to respond to the rapidly changing world, to be adaptable and flexible, to be prepared to take on jobs before they’ve even been invented,” she said. “We don’t know what the jobs of the future will look like, but with this education we can really do anything to communicate effectively, think critically. So it’s not only to find and face change, but to lead change, to be innovators in our own lives and to take some risks.”
When first released to the public, the campaign was met with mixed reaction from students and alumnae. At first, alumnae worried that this phrase was a precursor to Mount Holyoke going co-ed, which the College later clarified is not the case. Additionally, many students and alumnae dislike the use of the slash, feeling that the slash implied that the slogan was “never fear OR change.”
In general, students have reacted positively to the campaign. “I think [never fear / change] represents courage, because change is something that most people fear. Even I fear change. However, Mount Holyoke College embracing change gives the notion and consolation to students that it is not something to fear,” said Sundus Noeen ’16.
Erum Rahman ’17 expressed how the slogan motivates her: “Mount Holyoke women…give me hope that I can…become a strong [MHC] woman. I believe in this slogan and pray that it [motivates] me to keep going even when it gets hard.”