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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

TMC and biology department establish grants to honor Lily Glidden

This week, the Tufts Mountain Club (TMC) announced Lily’s Fund for Adventure, a grant which “encourages all TMC members to seek outdoor adventure by partially funding imaginative trips in order to make them financially attainable,” according to the TMC website. The website denotes that TMC is initially looking to raise $25,000 for the fund to create an endowment.

The fund was created in honor of Lily Glidden, a biology major who graduated in 2012 and served as the president of TMC. Glidden led Tufts Wilderness Orientation (TWO) pre-orientation trips and was the captain of the Tufts Women’s Frisbee B-team. Gliddendied in an accident in January 2014 while researching elephants in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand.

Former TMC President Gabe Joseph, a senior, said that “[Lily’s Fund for Adventure] is a grant for TMC members designed to inspire the same sense of adventure and drive for exploration that Lily inspired in others.”

Valerie Cleland, a senior and member of TMC who was particularly close to Glidden, said that the fund is “a way to memorialize our friend; she had an amazing ability to try to do new things.”

Joseph explained that the fund adds more depth to TMC, as members will push themselves to go to the next level in their outdoor experience. “TMC has an incredible ability to bring people outside for the first time," he said.

Cleland added that Lily’s Fund for Adventure makes TMC more accessible for those with and without experience outdoors. “Lily was into getting people who had never gone outside to go …[she] was great at being the spark,” Cleland said.

“The goal is that people from TMC are going out and doing trips … the kinds of trips that when you wake up you want to drop what you are doing and run outside,” Joseph said. He added that the trips that receive funding may be very impressive, but what is more impressive is that most of the people going out on these trips started their passion for the outdoors with TMC.

“These trips will show the Tufts community that it’s attainable for them, too,” Joseph said.

Lily’s Fund for Adventure is not the only award that has been created in her honor. In 2014, Professor of Biology Colin Orians, along with other members of the biology department and Glidden’s parents, created the Lily Glidden Award.

The award, which provides up to $2,500 in funds for research, is given to either an undergraduate or graduate student who “appear[s] to be stepping out of their comfort zone with an experience unlike what they may have previously pursued," according to the biology department website. The website adds that the award is not limited to biology majors.

Orians said he reached out to Glidden’s parents after her memorial service on campus last January to discuss the creation of an award in Glidden’s name. “[Glidden] had quite an impact at her time at Tufts,” Orians said.

He explained that Glidden worked in his ecology lab the summer after her sophomore year as a researcher. He described Glidden as someone who led by example. “[She] was incredibly capable … I was blown away by her as someone who went the extra mile," he said.

“[The Lily Glidden Award] allows students to push boundaries … I think it will be very successful,” Orians said. He explained that both the Lily Glidden Award and Lily’s Fund for Adventure provide important self-teaching opportunities.

Cleland emphasized that it is important that Glidden’s parents are involved in both the Lily Glidden Award and Lily’s Fund for Adventure.

“Each award represents a side of Lily," she said. "There is the amazing and curious biologist, and the badass that inspired others to go outside their comfort zones.”

Cleland and Joseph emphasized Glidden’s unique laugh and caring spirit. Cleland described Glidden as a “super role model.”

Joseph said Glidden was an incredibly inspiring person. “She had this excitement and enthusiasm; she exemplifies why the TMC community is so strong, why it has existed for so long.”

“[Lily] would be smiling,” Orians said.


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