Speaking with alums from the days of Claremont Men’s College can be hit or miss; while some alums are all for the somewhat recent addition of women on campus, there are still those who reminisce about the days of a 100% male college. During last week’s Alumni Weekend, I had an unfortunate encounter with the latter. A friend and I were volunteering at an Alumni Weekend event when an alum from the mid 60’s approached us. He expressed his unhappiness about the leadership and independence exhibited by CMC female students and even went so far to say that “in three years, CMC will be an all girls school.” When my friend and I reacted like any CMC student would, he explained that it is not that males will disappear from the college, but that the strength and independence of the college’s women will “scare off” prospective male students.
The women at CMC are very independent and many have leadership roles on campus. For the past year, Jessica Mao has been the president of ASCMC, this coming year Caroline Nyce will be the Editor-in-Chief of The Forum, and several other women hold leadership positions within organizations and clubs here on campus. While CMC has changed a lot since becoming co-ed in the late 1970’s, most of the world has too. In the United States especially, men and women are much more equal in the work place and society in general than they were forty years ago. CMC prepares all of its students to be leaders in the world. The women at CMC are independent leaders who take their futures into their own hands.
This summer most CMC women have incredibly remarkable plans. No, we are not going to tan all day, by the beach, admiring the adorable boys that walk by. No, we are not dreaming of CMC Campus Celebrity Seth Winterroth’s golden locks. And no we are not going to try to decode the signs we receive from boys in the bedroom. The women here at CMC travel, have internships or jobs, and take summer classes. Hillary Lundberg ’14 will be working at the National Student Leadership Conference in DC for a second summer, while Leslie Hall ’13 will spend her summer as a marketing intern for Success Academy Charter School in New York City, and Clancy Tripp ’15 will be in Chicago working at a literacy and arts non-profit called Changing Worlds.
The women of Claremont McKenna College have clearly achieved a balance that many college students, regardless of gender, have yet to find – we’re members of one of the happiest student bodies in the country and are still serious, intelligent, and self-governing. While some people are not happy with the portrayal of women on this campus, whether it be as crazed, young teenage girls obsessed with boys and makeup, or strong, independent women obsessed with power, we know our identities, and that is all that matters. If anything, the women of CMC need to embrace and appreciate our diverse backgrounds and interests lest we allow people like our lovely aforementioned alumnus to pigeonhole us and portray us in such a distorted and one-sided fashion.