By SARAH GRAMMER
The #SaveSweetBriar cause rejoiced on July 4th 2015, when it was
announced that Sweet Briar College would be offering classes starting
August 27 of this year.
Previously, in March, Sweet Briar College announced that it was
closing at the end of the spring 2015 semester due to alleged
financial reasons. Distraught, many students rushed to find schools to
transfer to after the announcement, while some joined faculty and
alumni in raising money and hiring a lawyer to keep the school open.
According to Sweet Briar alumnae, Danielle Humphrey, an active
supporter of the #SaveSweetBriar cause, “there was no evidence that
could prove what Jones, Rice or their lawyer said about not having any
However, pledges were the main factor in the fight to save the school.
Sweet Briar’s comeback was partially due to the nonprofit alumni
group, Saving Sweet Briar Inc., who was able to collect $12 million in
donations. Many alumni, students and faculty who could not afford to
donate used social media to get the word out, like Humphrey.
“I did what every Generation iY member does to raise awareness,”
Humphrey says, “I blew up social media and every online article about
Sweet Briar that I possibly could.”
Humphrey said she wanted to address “the lies that many articles had
been told to print by members of the pro-closure party,” and share
every, “Sweet Briar thread, video, event and fundraiser possible.”
News that the school would open for the fall semester elicited many
different emotional responses from those who were aiding the cause. “I
didn’t really have a reaction when I found out Sweet Briar had been
saved,” Humphrey says, “I think I was in the ‘am I reading this right’
phase one gets when learning life-changing information via the
Humphrey admits she was worried for a while as to whether or not Sweet
Briar would get enough students and faculty back, but watched as
things seemed to fall into place. Many students and faculty did not
return to Sweet Briar
Autumn Miller, junior creative writing major is one of these students.
Miller transferred to UMW this year from Sweet Briar and says, “The
closing had a lot to do with my leaving.” Miller admits she was too
far into the transfer process to return to Sweet Briar once news came
out that it had been saved.
Miller says she was actually amazed to hear about Sweet Briar’s come
back, but was “glad they were able to pull it off.”
As far as what this means for the future of Sweet Briar and other
small colleges like it, Miller hopes that the situations will be an
example of, “what the right people behind something can do.”
Humphrey also wishes the best to other small colleges saying, “My hope
is that other schools will take what Sweet Briar College has done and
apply it to themselves.”
Humphrey also urges students and alumni to take more of an interest in
their alma mater to ensure that faulty leadership does not bring down
the school they love.