The 2016 – 2017 Lamp­lighters gather for a mixer. Madeline Barry | Col­legian

When the men’s lead­ership hon­orary Mortar Board declined women’s peti­tions for mem­bership, Hillsdale’s women decided to start their own in 1949. Seventy years later, Lamp­lighters remains a body of eight young women in lead­ership roles on campus.

Last week, the women of Lamp­lighters chose rising seniors to fill their shoes. They are: Ellen Friesen, Lucile Townley, Ryan Kelly Murphy, Chloe Kookogey, Abigail Trouw­borst, Nour Ben Hmeida, Rosemary Pynes, and Taylor Bennett.

“It’s pretty exciting because we get to survey the next gen­er­ation of strong, female campus leaders,” senior Allison Deckert said.  

The current senior women are Pres­ident-Vice Pres­ident Andrea Lee, Sec­retary-Trea­surer Rachel Watson, Breana Noble, Madison Frame, Katelyn Bercaw, Jessie Kop­meyer, and Macy Mount.

Townley, the GOAL Program Coor­di­nator, said that she knows some girls but not others.

“It’s very diverse, there’s women from all over campus,” she said.

Kookogey, the man­aging editor of the Forum, said she was totally sur­prised that she was chosen.

“There are a lot of really won­derful girls here and I was def­i­nitely not expecting it,” she said.

Bennett, a vol­leyball player and active member of Inter­varsity, said meeting weekly with the new Lamp­lighters will encourage her to keep pur­suing all of her com­mit­ments well.

The name comes from a suc­cessful 19th century coming-of-age story, written by a woman, Maria S. Cummins, about a young woman, Gertrude Flint. In it, Flint endures the abuse of a guardian, but with a stroke of fortune, she is rescued and raised into a respon­sible, vir­tuous woman.

The Lamp­lighters vol­unteer for the Women’s Com­mis­sioners Sale in the fall, meet weekly for lunch, honor the out­standing sophomore woman with the highest GPA, and host two teas for prospective members and under­class women with out­standing aca­demic per­for­mance.

As a group, the Lamp­lighters have a monthly lunch and wear their bracelets the first Monday of the month.

The grad­u­ating seniors will give each of the new Lamp­lighters a charm bracelet at the Honors Assembly in the spring. The bracelet has 12 charms, bearing the names and ini­ti­ation years of the bracelet’s pre­vious wearers. A new charm replaces the oldest charm, this year, 2005, which gets sent to the owner wherever she is, accom­panied by a letter.

“Having that charm being sent to you would be a good reminder of your time at Hillsdale and how you played a big role in helping people and the com­munity, as well,” Lee said.

Townley had advice for under­class women, based on her own expe­rience looking up to the women of Lamp­lighters.  

“The biggest thing of going through Hillsdale is finding role models and trying to turn those role models into mentors who will help you grow and learn.”

Lee con­cluded with advice for the eight new Lamp­lighters.  

“Con­tinue to do what you’re doing now, get to know the other women that were selected, con­tinue to play your role on campus, because the reason why you were selected is for your service to the com­munity,” Lee said. “That’s why we choose you. Just con­tinue being you.”