Lilly Glidden

This week, the Tufts Mountain Club (TMC) announced Lily’s Fund for Adventure. The grant “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 objective difficulty and applicants’ prior involvement in TMC are irrelevant.” The website denotes that TMC is looking to raise $25,000 total for the fund to create an endowment.

The fund was created in honor of Lily Glidden, a Tufts biology major who graduated in 2012 and the former president of TMC. Glidden was involved in the Tufts Wilderness Orientation (TWO), as well as captain of the Tufts Women’s Frisbee team. Glidden died 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, 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; 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.”

Cleland added that Lily’s Fund for Adventure makes TMC more accessible for those with and without experience in the 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 continued to that the trips that are given 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 Colin Orians, along with other members of the Tufts 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 “appear[s] to be stepping out of their comfort zone with an experience unlike what they may have previously pursued… Awards are not limited to biology majors,” according to the Tufts Biology department website.

Dr. 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,” Dr. 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.”

Dr. Orians recalled a Tropical Ecology and Conservation class he taught that which Glidden was a student. The class, he explained, takes a trip to Costa Rica and conducts research for three weeks. Dr. Orians said the Glidden’s work ethic and passion for biology was extraordinary.

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

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

She added, “Each award represents a side of Lily. 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,” Dr. Orians said.

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Written by Aaron Pomerance

Professional adventurer, writer, a bit of a dreamer

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