The Lamplighters women’s honorary is entering its 70th year on Hillsdale’s campus, with the selection of eight new members from the junior class.
This year’s class includes Sarah Becker, Victoria Addis, Adelaide Holmes, Mollie Beth Dill, Michelle Reid, Emily Skwarek, Avery Lacey, and Natalie Bodnar. The new members are chosen by the previous class of Lamplighters members based on their leadership, scholarship, character, and service.
“The girls have often provided service to the Board of Women Commissioners, volunteering at fundraising events, including the annual Garage Sale,” Professor of Rhetoric and Public Address Kirstin Kiledal said, faculty adviser to the group along with Professor of Chemistry Lee Baron.
Members are broadly involved across campus, serving as RA’s, playing sports, leading campus organizations, and participating in Greek life.
The group fosters community among many who might not otherwise meet.
“Some of us have known each other throughout our college career. Some have not,” outgoing president and senior Chloe Kookogey said. “It’s nice to have that opportunity to be pulled out of your own major, your own department, your own friend group, and really get to know other women who are doing excellent things for the college.”
Sarah Becker leads the GOAL Community Health Program, serves as the vice president of information for the Pre-Professional Society, plays violin in the Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra, participates in the Collegiate Scholars Program, and volunteers in Hillsdale Hospital’s emergency room. She said she was inspired by others who participated in the honorary before she did.
“I vividly remember looking up to women like Hannah Andrews and Alexis Garcia, who were both Lamplighters when I was a freshman,” Becker said in an email. “I wanted to exemplify what I admired in them: intentionality, dedication, and an incredible gift for encouragement.”
Victoria Addis agreed.
“As a freshman, I remember Kyra Rodi, who so effortlessly lived out the values, and how I admired her for it,” Addis said in an email. “Our actions don’t just affect our lives, they affect everyone around us.”
Kiledal said one of the group’s favorite traditions is the silver charm bracelets that each member wears. They contain an engraved medallion for the current member and 11 previous wearers, and when a charm is removed, the current wearer writes a letter to its owner telling her about her experiences at Hillsdale.
“My bracelet, in particular, bears the name of the three most recent GOAL Program Directors: Lucille Townley, Allison Deckert, and Alexis Garcia,” Becker said. “I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with each of them in some capacity during my time at Hillsdale.”
The bracelets inspire women to pursue excellence.
“It’s amazing being able to look at the bracelets and recognize names of women that I had looked up to when I first came to Hillsdale,” Addis said. “It’s like a yearbook of women that are my ‘aspire to be.’”
Others look forward to the day when they receive their charm back.
“I think the bracelets will be something to cherish for years to come,” Michelle Reid said in an email. “Since they’re returned 10 years after you graduate, it will be really neat to see where life has taken myself and the other women.
For now, the newly-inducted members will communicate with each other to elect their officers, and they said they look forward to the coming year.
“I see Lamplighters as a sweet fellowship between some of the women I admire most on campus,” Reid said. “Because of this, I hope to grow in friendship with them, be challenged by them, and to learn from them. It’s powerful to watch other women love this campus in different ways.”