Finances, diversity theme of address
The annual State of the College address drew about 40 community members to Page Commons on the evening of Tuesday, September 14.
Leslie Hutchings '11, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), began the evening by introducing herself and Athul Ravunniarath '11, vice president of the SGA, to those in attendance. She reminded the community of their campaign platform. "We think Colby is a wonderful, wonderful place, but not everyone feels safe, welcome or comfortable here." Their goal this year, she said, is to address this unsafe atmosphere and develop a "cosmopolitan" outlook of the student body. Thus, finalizing a third gender option on campus forms and beginning conversations on social class on the Hill are priorities for the pair this year.
Ravunniarath urged the student body to "hold us accountable"ï¿½offer us criticism," and to utilize the channels of communication that the SGA has to offer.
President William D. Adams picked up the theme of diversity from Hutchings and Ravunniarath at the start of his address. The Class of 2014 "is the most diverse class we've recruited in Colby's history," he said; 24 percent of the class comes from traditionally underrepresented groups. Therefore, Adams enumerated four actions that "are required of all of us" in order to make this year successful and create a safe, welcoming atmosphere at the College: awareness, interest, listening and civility between all members of the community.
Adams spent much of the evening addressing the College's financial situation, which he described as "on the mend" from the recent financial crisis. Although progress is slower than he would like, the endowment is starting to grow again after a 24.5 percent loss in the 2009 fiscal year. He discussed the successes of the "Reaching the World" campaign in detail (see "'Reaching the World' campaign surpasses goal by $6 million" on page 2 for more). In particular, Adams noted the academic benefits-the creation and funding of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement-the addition of several new buildings, including the Diamond Building and Pulver Pavilion, and especially, the "enormous expansion of financial aid" by $50 million, and its benefit to the student body.
On another note, the College has reached an agreement with the State of Maine and the Town of Waterville to repave Campus Drive, the road that runs in front of the Harold Alfond Athletic Center. Though the road still belongs to the state, the College has developed a funding scheme to help finance the fundamental rebuilding of the drive. Construction is slated to begin in June and will continue into the first months of the 2011-12 school year.
Students were invited to bring up their own questions and concerns in an open forum at the end of the event.