#savesweetbriar

posted on: Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Last month I wrote a piece talking about how proud I was to have been educated at an all women's college. Here I was pouring my heart out onto my keyboard and thinking, "I'm trying to share the importance of a single sex institution so that they will still exist when my own daughter goes to university." I had no idea, at the time, that I might be writing about a place that wouldn't exist in just a few months' time. 

Last night I hosted a panel in central London with a group of four powerful women in the fashion industry. We sat upon our chairs at the front of the audience and we talked about how we got where we are today and what advice we would hand down to the women in the audience. Here's the one fact I forgot to share on the stage, but I had already shared on the page - I was sitting there because of Sweet Briar College. I knew it, I thought it and it made me smile as I spoke with wonderful and inspirational women all around me on the night. 

After closing the conversation for the evening, I had a chance to look at my emails for the first time in four hours, since arriving for the event. My phone had several missed calls and an overwhelming amount of messages on just about every communication portal. 

As I slipped into the back of an Uber to make my way home, I frantically started making me way through the messages, scared that someone had died and I had been on stage talking fashion as it happened. Well, thankfully I hadn't lost a close family member or friend, but something had certainly died as I was chatting about Chanel Hula Hoop bags. At around rush hour time in London, the world was made aware of the closing of Sweet Briar College, my alma mater.

For as long as I live, I'll never forget where I was as I read that the class of 2015 would be the final graduating class of Sweet Briar College. Passing over Portobello Road, I burst into tears and the tears went from complete sadness to uncontrollable rage. How on earth could an institution of 114 years simply close their doors, kicking out students, staff, and faculty? Why were alums not given the opportunity to save Sweet Briar? What would happen to 3300 acres of green mountain land that I had called home for four years physically, and home emotionally for all time? So many questions were rising to the surface, and I soon found that I was not alone in my outrage. Sweet Briar alums had taken to all social networks to declare this only the beginning. The college would not die. We would fight to find a way to keep it alive for future generations.

It all got me thinking even more. What could I possibly do, besides just writing a cheque myself, to help fuel the fire? I had shared my story and laid out for the world, as plain as can be, my pride in having attended Sweet Briar college. But I am just one person. Why not prove to the world that I am but one of thousands of women that have something to say about Sweet Briar college and why it should remain. 

So here I am, calling on the Sweet Briar women around me to take five minutes and share. Leave a comment below sharing your Sweet Briar moment, the reason this place cannot be shut down. Share a memory, a favourite tradition, the reason you decided to go there or what going there did to change your life. Let's allow this to land in the right hands - the hands of an individual who can help to fight for our beloved home on the hill, the bubble, the land of pink and green. 

This story is for you ladies to tell, in the public domain... take it from here and leave your comment below.