Patricia's Story - Dinning Commons

Updated: Apr 4, 2018

Back then, everybody knew everybody in the 70s. I was a housing coordinator in Prescott in the early 80s. It was very different than it is now. The housing operations was the center of the community. My office was open from 8:30 to 4:30. We always had coffee and cookies. Students were constantly in the offices. We knew every student.

When I first came here, there was the House Master at Prescott who lived in what is now the Lebrón-Wiggins-Pran Cultural Center. I ended up being a housing coordinator in every house at Hampshire at different times. Then I was at Dakin for two years. It was demanding, but I enjoyed it. I loved working with students. When I was in Prescott, I'd do breakfast in the morning, nothing fancy.

The Film and photo building changed a lot. It was tiny and got bigger. I started working at the bridge in 2006. When I was hired by Sodexo, my job was cashier at the bridge up until September 2017, they moved me down to the Dining Commons. Then I realized there's a new building I've never seen before outside.

When I was a housing coordinator, I worked in the summers. I was also with Physical Plant. The summer program was packed. My very first job at Hampshire, Marriott hired me to be night supervisor at the Prescott Tavern from 1976 to 1980.

I didn't have any experience with Ken Burns [when he was a student]. He was just a regular student like everybody else. I saw him a lot. Lupita Nyong'o was in Enfield when I was a housing coordinator there. She was very quiet and sweet. Liev Schreiber lived in the dorms. There were some kids who were just dorm kids. He was a quiet guy. He was big in the theater.

I was born in Northampton. I live in Ware right across the street from the Quabbin reservoir. When Hampshire was being built, it was constantly in the news. I had friends who were on the construction crew. I used to bring my kids around and check the progress and how it was coming along. I can remember when they were building Cole, watching it go up. Same with the library. Prescott was entering to watch. You couldn't get very close at the time. I remember thinking how they were going to manage getting it together. It was a very strange structure to watch.

At that time, Hampshire was a real family. I loved getting up every morning and going to work. It was very personal. I remember how whole halls would come into the Dinning Commons and stay for hours. They'd all eat and laugh together. Nobody does that anymore. This used to be the center place. As staff, we use to always get together for lunch. It was hard to find a seat. People would be sitting outside and bringing their plates back in.

When I came here, president Charles Longsworth just left, then Adele Simmons was president for many years. Adele Simmons was here from 1977 to 1989. She was wonderful. Then Greg Prince came. He was a really good president. During the 80s, we had about 900 students. After that we went up to full capacity 1,200 to 1,400 students. I used to be part of the student government called FICOM [now HSU]. Meetings were every Tuesday at 3:30. I organized Halloween parties and then I did Spring Jam. I also did the Graduation dance. It was out of the president's office. It was one of my best times for me and my saddest times because my students were leaving.

Patricia is a staff member at the Dinning Commons and has been working at Hampshire College for over 30 years.

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