PCB continues to expand student involvement and campus presence
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Across the road from Eustis and Lovejoy is a building housing some of the College's most socially involved clubs. It is the Pugh Center, a part of Cotter Union. Its glass doors and windows are aimed at providing students and faculty with an inclusive and welcoming area to hang out and promote multiculturalism.
The building currently houses 12 clubs and organizations that share the common mission of promoting diversity and multi-cultural understanding on campus.
The Pugh Center is more than a building for Pugh club offices, however; it is an area that hosts many of the College's most popular events including PC Coffee--providing students and faculty with a monthly forum for discussion on social issues at the College--and the annual S.H.O.U.T. weekend, which involve a variety of interactive events and speakers that highlights the importance of diversity on the Hill.
At the Pugh Center, there are chairs, couches and tables on the first floor where students study, talk or hang out after a rough day. Unlike most of the College, the Pugh Center is accessible to students 24 hours a day.
The Pugh Community Board (PCB), overlooks and directs the ways in which the Pugh Center advances the College's goals regarding multiculturalism. This academic year, Sonia Mahabir '11, the chair of PCB, is looking to convey to students that the Pugh Center is open to everybody, not just members of Pugh Center clubs.
Mahabir said PCB is creating more smaller events throughout the year to branch out to a larger pool of students who may not be able to attend the few large events that the center and organization has grown accustomed to hosting in previous years.
Mahabir hopes PCB will be able to encourage more students to utilize the Pugh Center and promote a stronger dialogue on culture and difference on the Hill. Mahabir said she is trying to reach this goal by institutionalizing changes like holding office hours in order to make members of PCB available to students, as well as continuing the success of PC Coffee from last spring.
PCB is also reaching out to students by working in close conjunction with the Student Programming Board (SPB) and the Student Government Association (SGA), by meeting with these clubs and helping to plan events including this past Fall Formal.
"We've definitely gotten our name out more. Even sharing the calendar is an exciting thing because the three big groups on campus working together is a really positive step," Kira Novak '12, the PCB member responsible for contacting club leaders and fostering PCB's relationship with SGA and SPB, said.
This year, the Pugh Center welcomed back two clubs that have been revived after several years of inactivity: Four Winds, an organization aiming to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about Native American cultures headed by Leslie Hutchings '11, and the Women's Group, a club which seeks to provide gender awareness and gender equality for females headed by Heather Elizabeth Pratt '11 and Nicole Ziemlak '11.
On November 11, Four Winds, PCB and the Goldfarb Center will host "Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights in 2009," a lecture that speaks on Indigenous rights as part of Native American Awareness Month.
New to the Pugh Center this year is Gentlemen of Quality (GQ), whose mission is to promote male camaraderie and awareness of male issues.
"I think Gentlemen of Quality is so cool because people are so hard-pressed to find a men's group," Novak said. "A lot of male bonding is done through sports teams, so there are a lot of male students who ask, 'What about me?'" GQ is headed by Mavrick Afonso '11 and Edwin Torres '12.
This year, the Asian Cultural Society (ACS) and the Asian-American Student Association (ASA) have merged into one office and are planning a variety of events promoting Asian culture including putting on the Lunar New Year celebration in February, according to Lyoe Lee '11, head of ACS.
Representatives from Four Winds, ASA, ACS, GQ and the Women's Group, alongside the other Pugh Center clubs, were present Tuesday, November 10 at the Pugh Club Palooza, an open house event where club representatives made themselves available to speak with students, engage in multi-cultural games and activities and enjoy a variety of foods.
The Colby Eight performed as part of the evening's festivities, giving a crowd-pleasing rendition of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." They were joined by other a capella groups throughout the evening.
"The main purpose of the Pugh Club Palooza was just to show everyone that we're here. The Pugh Center is available for every student, and we do fun things. We have a lot of clubs that are very unique and exciting and they can use support. We want everyone to know that PCB exists...and to just have fun with the campus and continue to build community," Mahabir said.
PCB is planning a follow-up Pugh Club Palooza in the spring.
With all changes accounted for, Mahabir nonetheless insisted that the most useful way to improve the Pugh Center, PCB and the sense of community at Colby is for students to speak up and get involved.
"In order for PCB to grow, we need feed-back from other students. We're all very approachable; we want to hear ideas and suggestions on how to make PCB better. Anyone can come to talk to us," she said.
Mahabir said that she hopes to erase any misconception that Pugh Center clubs are exclusive by making clear that all members of Colby can take part in each Pugh Center club regardless of sex, gender, political stance, religion or race.
"You can join any club as long as you have an open mind and you want to learn and you want rapport. All these clubs have exciting mission statements and they want to educate, they want to enjoy, they want to grow. Anyone can go in and anyone can be a part of it."