Once a month, a group of my women friends go out to dinner together. Sometimes, only a few of us show up; other times we fill the restaurant. We call ourselves AWE: Amazing Women Eating. Our common bond is that we all live or have lived in the same neighborhood. While the eating is great, it’s the connection with interesting women that draws us to these dinners.
The Smith College Club of Minnesota is more encompassing in its activities and purpose than my AWE group, but in spirit it’s similar. It’s a vehicle for meeting and relating to smart, energetic, and talented women. Our club is all about connections—with classmates from Smith, with alumnae from different years or decades who openly share their energy and wisdom, and with women who have similar interests in work or play. Many of us come to a club salon now and then when the topic is of interest. Others come to our annual meeting. Lots of tireless souls work and reconnect while financially supporting our scholarship fund before and during Smith Day.
Smith Day is the perfect example of and venue for these valuable connections to happen. This year, as in years past, we had department chairs, volunteers, and shoppers from classes in the early 40s up through 2012—a span of over seven decades of Smith women working, shopping, and eating together!
This September, the club hosted its biannual Newcomers’ Event. New members included Leigh Cressman ’06, Elizabeth Ford ’05, Claire Romera ’00, Lara Hamsher ’12 , Samantha Oestreicher ’05,and Maren Delap ’11. Several executive committee members shared club traditions and activities during the evening as a special welcome to the club.
But don’t think you have to be a newly graduated alum or wait for the next Newcomers’ Event to become active with our club. Salons offer an intimate setting for connecting—and not all are as strenuous as our Mississippi River kayaking-against-the-current adventure last summer! At our October 22 salon, for example, 10 club members learned from an expert that you can recycle more than you think. Carol Engebretson, a master recycler and sister-in-law of Ann Carr (’70), shared her expertise on current recycling, future trends, and composting. We proudly recycled, reused, or composted everything we used during the salon!
Our club also provides opportunities to stay connected to and informed about Smith. Current students who benefit from the club’s endowed scholarship fund and Praxis internship funds send us regular updates, recent graduates offer us their insights about life on campus, and members of Smith’s faculty and staff frequently speak at club meetings.
We are always looking for ideas and suggestions for activities or topics that will bring Minnesota Smithies together, around the Twin Cities or elsewhere in the state. Please contact Justina Roberts or me (see our Officers page for contact info) if you have an idea.
We Smith women are amazing, and the more of us who get together, the more fun and rewards we all enjoy. I urge you to get as involved and join us when you can, as often as you can!
Barbara Klaas ’74