The Campus Culture Working Group is attempting to foster and improve a culture of both diversity and inclusion within the Bates community. Last week, the Bates Student published the first part of its coverage on the Campus Culture Working Group’s most recent findings, pulling data from the NESCAC survey and multiple on-campus sources to address alcohol related and off-campus issues. This week, the Student examines the CCWG’s findings and recommendations to tie together different groups of students.
Commons is the first area that comes to mind, the Group said, when struggling to solve divides in the student body. The Group cited social anxiety and racial divides, among other concerns. Student members of the CCWG mentioned the stratification of groups among students in the “Green Room,” the “Fishbowl,” and the main dining area. The Group came to the conclusion that Commons has natural separations both visually and spatially, but the real issue of preventing students from crossing social lines lies elsewhere in the broader interactions on campus.
The Working Group pinpointed different areas where a balance of inter and intragroup mixing can occur. “[It is] important that our community has space and affirmation for both of those things,” McIntosh said.
The “Working Draft of Recommendations” that the Working Group published states, “some annual campus events continue to separate, rather than unite, the student community…” The CCWG hopes not only to address specific event-related issues but also to take it a step further to foster community development in areas like the Office of Intercultural Education, Chase Hall, the Harward Center, and among athletes and non-athletes.
“While the student community is small, it is still large enough for students to feel they do not know one another,” said the Working Group report. One idea includes class dinners. These would have “assigned seating [to] support students getting to know one another beyond their traditional friendship circle—while having the added benefit of building class identity,” said McIntosh.
Members of the CCWG are working towards a leadership program that will help teach different leaders on campus (athletic captains, club presidents, and others) how to create a more inclusive atmosphere and bridge the gap between cultures.
Furthermore, the CCWG looks to augment the success of the Late at Bates program to include events for diverse interests in addition to those “where alcohol is legally and safely consumed.” The Late at Bates program, implemented winter 2015, has so far been very successful. The Group states that a range of metrics showed high numbers for “creative and innovative programming, high attendance, and promotion of community and conversation across differences.” A second program will help strengthen relationships among students, faculty and college staff, hoping to increase community development. This would include events like the Dinner Table, implemented last semester.
Additional reports from the CCWG will be released in the future as these recommendations become tangible projects.