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Race, Class, and History of the Pugh: Dinner and Dialogue

On Apr. 21, we are hosting a dinner and dialogue entitled Race, Class, and History of the Pugh. This event will be held in the Pugh Center from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

 To kick it off, we will have a presentation on the infamous 1970 Occupation of Lorimer Chapel by Colby students. This protest was the catalyst for creating the Pugh Center and its various clubs — hence why we chose the Pugh Center as the location for the event. The protest initially began with 17 members of the Organization for Black Unity (SOBU, now known as SOBLU) urging for remediation of persistent white/black racial imbalances and later gained momentum with over 200 students picketing former Colby President Strider’s house with five clear demands: provide black students on campus with proper assistance, hire more black professors, establish permanent classes on race, incorporate discussions of black history and culture in classroom curriculums, and require an incoming first-year class with a minimum of 10 percent black students. This event was essential, as it changed the trajectory of how low-income minority students received financial aid and shifted their experiences on the College’s campus. 

In addition to the presentation, we will be joined by two special panelists, Emily Kwen `24 and Misa Beltran-Guzman `22, who will represent the FLI and QuestBridge organizations, which are parts of the Pugh Center. Beltran-Guzman is the College’s DEI Co-Curricular Program Coordinator, but he works closely with the FLI program too. Kwen is the current Vice President of  the College’s QuestBridge chapter and a FLI Fellow. The panel will discuss how organizations such as FLI and Questbridge have been integral in increasing the social, economic, and cultural capital of low-income minority students at the College. Its intersectional approach aims to increase students’ awareness of the histories of racial and class divisions on the College’s campus while highlighting current student-led programs created to assist and support low-income students. Last, we will introduce an interactive activity that seeks to explore how class and race impact students’ experiences at the College. 

While enjoying delicious food from a local restaurant, participants will engage with discussion questions that will allow them to reflect on FLI and QuestBridge programming and how they work to provide tools for low-income minority students. These tools allow them to be effectively immersed in and beyond the College as a higher institution. 

After the facilitators have asked the panelists curated questions, students will be given the opportunity to ask Kwen and Beltran-Guzman questions in order to increase the transparency between Pugh program leaders’ intents and the students’ experiences. For students who do not belong to either one of these programs, this will be a space for them to increase their self-awareness about their positionality within the College student body while also participating in “service learning.” This event is a chance for students from privileged backgrounds to engage in a community that they otherwise would not occupy. That said, we prompt all to participate. We hope you can join us for a riveting conversation with food!


~ Chanelle Campbell `23, Hwida Sevigny `23, Tullia Mamenga `24, Hadia Killang `25

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