By Brooke “Pinkerton” Burnett – class of 2020
There are many things that are ‘sweet’ about Sweet Briar: community, academics, and teamwork, just to name a few. They all seem to pale in comparison to the reach of the “Pink Bubble” for which Sweet Briar is known. On campus, the Pink Bubble is the safety of the Sweet Briar community, the school, where everything is seen through literal rose colored glasses. The ‘real’ world’s Pink Bubble is better known by another more common title: Alumnae. Any Sweet Briar woman knows that when she is with an alumna, the Pink Bubble of home returns and just for a little while ,it’s like being back in front of the Bell Tower or lounging by lower lake. Sweet Briar women carry a little piece of home with them wherever they travel.
As a first year at Sweet Briar, I came in knowing that the alumnae saved the school, that through their hard work and their dedication I could come and experience the Pink Bubble first hand. I knew about the ‘Adopt-a-Vixen’ program, and I knew that the alums had been out there just waiting for us. My interaction with the alumnae spanned quite a long time before I even set foot on Campus.
One cold blustery, winter day, I received a phone call, out of the blue. At first, I missed the call, but I immediately returned it, Starbucks in hand and ready to listen. “Hello?”, I said tentatively, really not sure who was calling. What blossomed was a two-hour conversation with an alumna from D.C.. She told me of her life, her travels, how she ended up teaching in Japan to now running her own company. I was so enthused about my future after that conversation. It was all about being empowered and that was the first time I heard the bubble grow around me. I think that conversation alone is what set Sweet Briar above all other schools I had applied to. After growing up thinking I was just another number to be processed through an education system, I was finally Amelia Brooke Burnett. Finally, I could see a future where I would be happy. It all came down to something as simple as a phone call. It changed my world.
The world I reside in now is one of pink and green, and everyday I experience the strength of the alumnae. Nowhere else in the world compares to the relationship with the women I get to experience every day here on campus and when I venture beyond the campus.
One such example was the recent trip to Florida with my team. As I embarked on my first training trip with the Sweet Briar Swim team, I was scared of the miles we’d run and the laps we’d swim. But, I knew I was there with my team and all would be well as long as we did it together. And we did, we spent everyday for six days, training twice a day in a long course pool and pulling muscles and building each other up. But, when we weren’t in the pool, we were relaxing, shopping, exploring, and connecting.
We had dinner with one Alumna, Kari, she has the brightest smile in the world, and the biggest heart I think one woman could handle ( Though, I think all the Alums are like fairies of love and happiness ) along with the magnificent and very funny Monika ( who makes a marzipan pie that is to die for) the younger students ( us ) were regaled with stories of the past and the Pinkertons, known to the current students as Campo. The team made a pseudo-pact that we would bring the old name to light again! It was just amazing learning about the past. When you have the opportunity to interact with ladies like these it just feels like your uncovering a history that isn’t written down; it is some kind of folk-tale passed down from generation to generation and now you’re the keeper. It’s almost magical how important these little details become in shaping your world view. Without a doubt it makes you want to preserve the Bubble and just keep it dear in your heart.
On our ONE afternoon off, the underclass-women went walking around downtown, looking and shopping in every store we considered ‘preppy’. There was one store in particular, Snappy Turtle, that had caught our eye because of the pink and green display in the window. Of course, being the girls that we are, we had to explore. Upon entry, we were immediately met with questions about our school and met two women who were very close with some alumna. One was from MICHIGAN. The Alumna always always always take care of us. At another Alumna dinner, with Cynthia Ottaway, class of 1957, we were treated like queens with a lovely dinner. The girls on my team had discussed coming back to Delray Beach for spring break. Upon mentioning our plans, we were immediately invited to have lunch at the Ocean Club with Cynthia. We were thrilled to return to share more time and stories!
Our alumnae do so much for us and we just love them right back. I hope to one day be as gracious and giving as they have been to us!