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.”