The month of November has come to be associated not only with the start of the holiday season, but also with gratitude and giving back in ways that are meaningful to us as individuals. Increasingly research is pointing to the ways that adopting a spirit of gratitude can benefit both our physical and mental health as summarized in a 2018 white paper prepared for the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
In the spirit of gratitude, as I think back on my Russell Sage College experience, both as a student and an alumna, I find myself being grateful for the following:
- The high quality education that I received from faculty who were student centered in their approaches to teaching. It was my interactions with faculty that not only sparked my interest in my major, but that ultimately led to my decision to pursue college teaching as a career.
- Experiences both in and outside of the classroom that allowed me to find my voice, develop confidence, and cultivate leadership skills among my peers. While this was certainly pivotal in my time at RSC, it has also continued both throughout my career and in my service to the RSCAA.
- The relationships that I formed both during my time as an undergraduate and in the years following graduation with alumnae spanning many generations. These continue to develop even today as I interact with alumnae at reunions and other events and also through our work on the RSCAA Board of Directors.
As I speak to alumnae, the things that I am grateful for are not unique to my experience at Russell Sage College; many of you share similar stories when asked about your time at Sage. For me, it is because of these experiences and the desire to ensure that current and future students are able to benefit in the same way that I have given back to Russell Sage, not only financially, but also through opportunities to share my time and talents as well. As the College begins to implement the new Strategic Plan, there will be opportunities for alumnae to be involved in the success of both the College and the Women’s Institute. I encourage you to think about your own experiences at Russell Sage College to identify what you are grateful for and then explore how you might give back to Russell Sage with your time, talent, and/or treasure to help ensure that future generations of students have the opportunity to benefit in the same ways.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season and know that I am grateful for all that you do and will do to benefit Russell Sage College and the Alumnae Association.
Carrie L. Cokely ‘97