Successful Quad Riot Results in Mountain Day

Photo by Carmen Pullela '16 | Students celebrate Mountain Day by going apple-picking at Atkins Farm, a local orchard in Amherst.

Photo by Carmen Pullela ’16 | Students celebrate Mountain Day by going apple-picking at Atkins Farm, a local orchard in Amherst.


Olivia Goodman ’14
News Editor

Mountain Day was held last Thursday, Sept. 26, resulting in a collective sigh of relief from a student body who had been eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Just like every year, Smith students’ desperate anticipation of Mountain Day led to intense speculation as to when it would be held. With the first few weeks of school having come and gone, students held the pre-Mountain Day tradition, Quad Riot, last Wednesday night. The parade of student shouting “Kathy! Kathy!” and “Mountain Day!” ended at the president’s doorstep.

One aspect of Quad Riot and Mountain Day was different. This Mountain Day was President Kathleen McCartney’s first as president, and she admitted to being forewarned by a “secret source” as to when the riot would be taking place.

“Of course, I asked a few people about Quad Riot, including alumnae who work on campus, so I had an idea of what to expect,” said McCartney. “But nothing can prepare you for a new experience like Quad Riot. When I first heard the roar of the crowd, I began flicking the lights in my house on and off a few times to excite the crowd. Then my husband, Bill, and I went out on the small second-floor balcony to greet the students, wearing identical Smith sweatshirts. I think the students got a kick out of that!”

Many students advised McCartney to wait for Quad Riot before calling Mountain Day. She decided the Wednesday before at noon to call Mountain Day on Thursday. “It seemed like the entire campus was ready for it. Frankly, I couldn’t wait any longer – I was excited for Mountain Day.”

Students’ Mountain Day activities ran the gamut. Laura Lubben ’16, of Cushing House, commented, “We all hoped it would be on Thursday! It wasn’t a huge surprise but that definitely didn’t make it any less exciting! As for me, I went apple picking with some of the sophomores in my house and then had a picnic at the orchard.”

This year marked Anna Brissie 15’s first Mountain Day spent apple-picking. “A few friends and I went to Outlook Farm and picked apples and ate cider donuts and ice cream, followed by lunch at The Roost where we saw plenty of other Smithies enjoying Mountain Day as well. President McCartney couldn’t have picked a more beautiful fall day to ring those bells!”

Ashley Temple ’14 was away on a pre-planned day trip during Mountain Day, but noted, “I celebrated in spirit! I went to a benefit for the designers of Proenza Schouler in Boston, and then went to dinner with a friend. Even though I missed out on Smith activities, Mountain Day is about taking a break and having fun, both of which I did.”

Tegan Waring ’17 enjoyed her first Quad Riot experience and noted that her prediction of a Thursday Mountain Day was partly due to a comment made by McCartney during Quad Riot. “I had just arrived back on campus and heard the screaming, and began running for the Quad to make sure I didn’t miss anything! During Quad Riot, President McCartney reminded us that yoga would be held on Chapin Lawn the next day at noon. I figured, why would she tell us that if Mountain Day wasn’t going to be tomorrow, or at least very, very soon?”

Waring’s prediction was right, as McCartney did host a yoga session, “Mountain Pose on Mountain Day,” with the staff from Student Affairs on Mountain Day. “Two wonderful students who are certified yoga instructors led our session, and faculty, students and staff practiced together on Chapin Lawn. I had never practiced yoga outdoors before, and it was a powerful experience,” said McCartney, who ended her Mountain Day with dinner at Hubbard House with her husband. She noted, “The food and the company could not have been better.”

The importance of the tradition of Mountain Day stretches far beyond a day off from class for current students. “There is a powerful sense of belonging that we feel when we celebrate a holiday we have constructed,” said McCartney.

“I cannot tell you how many alumnae have shared with me that they miss Smith most on Mountain Day. We announce Mountain Day to our alumnae early in the morning, and many celebrate the day in their own way, sometimes with other Smithies. Traditions are important to communities like ours because they bring us together in a memorable way and connect us with our past as well.”

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