Koelsch instills pride at SMC
By MYRA McGRIFF
Saint Mary's Editor
You see her painted face at almost all of Saint Mary's home athletic games. Behind the face paint and large bell adorning her head, though, lays a much larger message, the message of Belles Pride.
Her name is Emily Koelsch and as early as her freshman year, Koelsch saw an opportunity to unite the campus with a sense of pride. When two Notre Dame women called Saint Mary's students "parasites" in a letter to The Observer on Sept. 15, 1997, Koelsch felt it was time to evaluate how much students had invested into Saint Mary's. To improve the college's image, Koelsch tried to get students to focus on the great features of Saint Mary's.
During her sophomore year, she worked to establish Saint Mary's Pride Day.
Koelsch enlisted the help of the Board of Governance to plan the one-day event to encompass the entire student body in an activity.
The student body met on the library green in the shape of a French Cross on Oct. 16, 1998 and an aerial photo was taken.
The next year, Koelsch set her sites even higher.
Koelsch worked with the Student Government Association to create Pride Week, which she said is a time to get "excited" about Saint Mary's. With a host of academic, athletic and spiritual events, Pride Week incorporated every aspect of campus. At the end of the week, Saint Mary's hosted a Notre Dame football pep rally. During that pep rally on Oct. 6, 1999, the mascot for Saint Mary's was unveiled.
"I told them [Notre Dame] we had a mascot and we didn't so I had to come up with one," said Koelsch.
So with help from graduating senior Cindy Traub, Koelsch came up with the Belle Head — an icon she hopes will bring a certain type of excitement to Saint Mary's. Accompanying the Belles' mascot came shouts of "Go Belles!" Combining Pride Week, the mascot and the new cheer, Koelsch feels the student body has a new level of pride for Saint Mary's.
"It gives Saint Mary's women a way to celebrate. It gives us an identity. It also brings the spirit of campus to the front," she said.
This spirit that has trickled down to the rising classes. With Koelsch graduating, her term as the Belles Head is over, but three new women have already filled the position. Junior Annie Knish and freshmen Linda Janke and Desiree Paulin will continue the celebration of a Saint Mary's community as the new mascots.
All News Stories for Friday, May 18, 2001