More than thirty-five years ago five of the clubs at Mount Holyoke College, without giving any thought to the selling of Christmas cards, decided to form a special group. The five clubs participating in this group represented students with beliefs that agreed with those of either the Jewish, the fundamentalist Christian, the Mormon, the Catholic or the Baha'i Faiths.
Each club sent one representative to the planned group meetings. Supervision for each meeting came from the woman then running Eliot House, the center for religious and charitable activities on Mt. Holyoke campus. Under the guidance of this faculty member the group initiated an effort aimed at greater interfaith cooperation. One of the first projects undertaken by this group focused on Christmas cards.
At this point the reader has no doubt begun to wonder why an interfaith group would choose to concentrate its efforts on Christmas cards. How would such Christmas cards relate to the different doctrines represented by the five clubs, doctrines to which the students had made a personal commitment?
The faculty supervisor had suggested that members from the five clubs might want to help with the sale of Christmas cards from the United Nations. These boxed Christmas cards delivered a message that was in keeping with the spirit of the interfaith group. The faculty supervisor asked the club representatives to recruit volunteers. She sought students who would sell help to sell the boxed Christmas cards at the College Post Office.
So the representatives then reported back to their clubs, requesting volunteers to sit in the College Post Office and to sell Christmas cards. The President of the Baha'i club immediately realized that the request gave her club a golden opportunity to showcase the teachings of the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith emphasizes unity in diversity. In fact the Baha'i Faith is one of the nongovernmental organizations at the United Nations.
Hence on the day that a table was placed in the College Post Office, and the students had a chance to purchase the U.N. Christmas cards, the number of Christians manning the table did not come close to the number of Baha'is who invited others to buy the boxed Christmas cards.
The enthusiasm of the members of the Mount Holyoke Baha'i Club frequently deceived members of the Mount Holyoke community into thinking that the club had a large and growing membership. It did increase in size between September of 1971 and May of 1973, but this increase only expanded the membership from a mere four students to a total of no more than ten student members.
In December of 1971 and 1972 those ten students chose not to exchange Christmas cards.
Two of them did, however, in December of 1972 volunteer to help with the decorating of a dorm Christmas tree. That December the students in North Rockefeller Hall enjoyed the tree decorations that had been hung entirely with the help of two and only two students, two members of the Baha'i Club.