Murphy a campus leader through The Bridge, Goldfarb
- Student practices what she preaches
- Trail-blazing senior has a passion for film
- Senior double major enjoys adventure on and off the Hill
Effervescent sophomore Dave Murphy has extended his reach into many areas of life at Colby. From athlete to community advisor (CA) to his work on the steering committee of The Bridge, Dave has had a colorful—and busy—first half of his college career.
The global studies and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major hails from Berryville, Va., where he lives on his family’s beef cattle farm.
Although he’s from the South, Dave is no stranger to New Enlgand. For high school, he attended Proctor Academy, a boarding school in Andover, NH. The school is unique in that it encourages “experiential programs” that encourage hands-on learning in its students.
Dave, who came out as gay during his first year of college, joined the steering committee for The Bridge—the College’s gay-straight alliance—soon thereafter in the spring semester.
Being a leader of The Bridge has “been really cool,” he said, “because I think it puts you in tune and gets you motivated to pay attention to things on campus....to not just go to class, but to really think about the Colby community.”
Of course, he has also found an incredible support group in his peers there. “It’s just the most caring group of people,” he said.
Although he came out to a close group of friends during his senior year at Proctor, Dave said he went back in the closet when he first got to campus. Two of his new friends—who are still his closest friends today—called each other “fag,” which unsettled him.
“I know from years of sports culture that just because you use that word doesn’t mean you’re homophobic,” he said, “but it made me question [whether or not to come out at Colby].”
Once he came out, he said that his friends and his teammates were very supportive.
“It’s been really good, especially compared to high school,” Dave said. “[Coming out at Colby] enabled me to be comfortable enough to come out at home, and that’s really changed my relationship with my parents and my siblings.”
Even though the people at Colby are really caring he said, there is still a very small queer population on the Hill. “Right now The Bridge still matters, and it might be perverse, but I hope that we can get to a place where we don’t need The Bridge.” In the future, he hopes that the queer community is so much a part of the campus culture that, in fact, The Bridge will no longer be necessary.
After his first semester on campus last year, Dave applied to be a CA for a few reasons: he became very close with his former CA, he had filled a similar role in boarding school and he “just wanted to build a good community.” Now he works in East Quad, where he said that he does it for the first-years. For him, being a good CA is about “the little things where you have to be friendly enough and open enough to make people feel comfortable.” He loves his first-year residents, and although he laughed and said he “would like to take credit” for their closeness, the reality is that “they are just a great group of kids.”
Athletics also keep Dave busy, although an ankle injury has held him back from competing with the track and field team again this spring, he is a runner and competes with cross country, as well.
As for being an out male athlete, he said “the track team has been awesome…a really accepting team.”
Running has been a constant in Dave’s life. He said that when he visited Colby as a prospective student, he went for a run on the trails just to see how they were. “It’s important to me to get out into nature,” he said.
In addition, he serves on the student advisory board for the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, where he tries to get speakers to campus that connect his interests in human rights and gay rights with the Goldfarb agenda. Just this Monday, April 16, Dave helped bring speakers from Equality Maine to campus to talk about the fight for marriage equality in the state.
Although Dave will be taking a break from campus to study the European Union abroad in Brussels next fall, he did get to spend some extra time on campus when he interned for the Colby College Museum of Art this past summer. One of his favorite memories comes from a trip he and his friends made to hike Mount Katahdin at sunrise. The view that morning “was beautiful and the sunlight was just coming up…this pit of blackness became little lakes and you could see forever and ever,” he said.
Beyond his Colby activities, Dave said, “I’m obsessed with cooking, that’s what I do at home: I cook and work out and garden.” Then he added, “I also build boats.” He built a sailboat in high school as part of his school’s experiential learning curriculum, and now he is finishing his work on it in his family’s basement so that he can finally get it out on the water. He also loves to water ski.
As the interview came to an end and Dave reflected on his experience thus far at the College, he paused and then smiled, offering some advice to the community: “The best, best date you could ever do is renting out the Colby Outing Club cabin,” he said. “In winter.”