Students Then and Now: Giving it Their All on Apple Day

September 28, 2011

When creating the theme for this year’s Apple Day, members of the Class of 2014 found inspiration in Rosie the Riveter, the iconic image that represented the strength of working women during World War II. Now, “Gladys the Riveter” flexes her squirrelly muscles on the 2011 Apple Day T-shirt, with the message of women’s empowerment to “Go Hard or Go Home.”

Apple Day 2010

The students’ theme serves as a reminder of how Apple Day originated and the college community will once again celebrate Apple Day on Tuesday … by pitching in. Students will join the Spencer Center’s in service projects to help our local farms and gardens, paint cheerful fall landscapes on the windows of local shops, or return to the historic family farm of Kara Jenkins ’11 to glean apples to help feed the hungry in Washington, D.C.

President Pamela Fox extended a special invitation to members of the faculty and staff to glean along with the students at Woodbine Farms in Strasburg.

“This is an opportunity to observe beautiful fall foliage in luminous morning light, take a break from daily routine, participate in one of Mary Baldwin’s most cherished traditions, and work side by side with students on a project that’s both fun and worthwhile,” Fox said. “Returning to the orchard on Apple Day is a true bright spot for me personally each fall.”

Apple Day 1948

Organized each year by the sophomore class, Apple Day continues a tradition that was — appropriately — established during World War II, when Mary Baldwin students spent a fall afternoon picking more than 1,000 bushels of apples to last the college through the winter. By 1946, the annual apple-picking ritual incorporated face painting and coincided with the college’s fall picnic. Soon, the campus community referred to the fall festival as Apple Day. Through the years, students used the event to raise money for much-needed campus improvements, to welcome the freshman class, and, eventually, to serve as a day of community service.

“I think it’s one of the greatest traditions here at Mary Baldwin,” said sophomore class president Rebecca Stearn. “I love how we get back to [our] roots. We go into the community and help, we give back to the people that make us Boldly Baldwin women, and we get to have fun at the same time. It’s also a great chance to see students come together. It truly is the best sense of Baldwin a person can get.”

As in years past, faculty, staff, and students will savor a mouth-watering, apple-inspired brunch in Hunt Dining Hall and enjoy a carnival — sponsored by various college clubs and organizations — in the parking lot in front of the Student Activities Center. Alumnae/i will observe the Mary Baldwin tradition across the country by throwing parties, like the one being organized in Arlington for Northern Virginia alums.

New to this year’s festivities, students plan to celebrate “Apple Eve” on Monday night by making s’mores, on what may be the first-ever Apple Day bonfire. Stearn said her classmates, who have sat through long event-planning meetings, have worked hard to make this year’s Apple Day a success. She gave special mention to Amber Ocasio, who conceived of the “Gladys the Riveter” idea, and Olivia Grace, who drew the logo.

“The sophomores have stepped up every time we have asked them to. All the plans and ideas for Apple Eve and Apple Day have come from them,” Stearn said. “What I can’t wait for the most, is to see the freshmen enjoy and experience their first Apple Day here at Mary Baldwin.”