Douglass Legacies Moving Forward: Introducing the Rainbow Pines
Spanning three generations, the Bandel Family has a long and proud Douglass history. Jill Bandel DRC’22, her mother Melissa McElroy Bandel DC’92, and grandmother Patricia Schilling McElroy DC’67 compose three arcs of a Douglass legacy—a unique bond that all three women share.
“Jill always wanted to become a Douglass woman,” Melissa said. “She grew up with so many of us championing our experiences. A love of the school has been ingrained in her, just like my parents ingrained a love of the College in me.”
While following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, Jill is carving out her own story into her family’s Douglass legacy to help meet the needs of current students. Jill recently began “Rainbow Pines,” a community that specifically serves LGBTQIA+ Douglass students. In just one semester, the group has garnered forty members who hold weekly discussion groups, examining queer topics in the news while also sharing available resources.
The group is also invested in examining the queer legacy at the College, highlighting stories throughout Douglass’ 102-year history.
“There’s a lot of queer history here, and part of our mission as a club is to preserve that,” she said. “In the upcoming semester we’re hoping to host alumnae speakers to hear their stories. We want to remember the queer alumnae who came before us.”
For all three women, Douglass has been an important step in accomplishing their dreams.
“The women’s empowerment priority makes a huge difference,” said Melissa. “I feel like I took the self-confidence and strength that I loved as part of my education and passed that down to Jill—and she has totally flown with it too.”
“The College is always evolving,” said Jill. “And each of us studied there during a different era. It’s pretty unique that all three of us have been able to spend our time at Douglass advocating for the issues we care about.”