Not Another Liberal Arts School
Growing up in New Jersey with easy access to New York City, I never envisioned myself going to school in Waterville, Maine. In fact, both my best friend and I enrolled at colleges that we had never anticipated; my friend ended up going to a school in a completely polar location: the South. Besides the fact that her school was located in Tennessee and my school was in Maine, we both believed that we would study at similar institutions.
Both are small liberal arts schools with students bodies of about 1,700-1,800 students; both have the same student-to-teacher ratio; both have similar academic ranking and admission ratings. What could really be so different?
The student body, and thus, everything.
First, there is active Greek life at her southern school. Of course, this difference between schools is debatable; yet despite the dispute, her school supports Greek life and Colby College does not. Unlike the utopian bonding consequence that I had imagined would occur if Greek life was reinstated, the fraternities segregate her campus. While brothers of different fraternities befriend others, they still spend the majority of their time with a primary group of people. They eat, live and socialize with the same bunch. I realize that the Greek system enforces a manifestation of cliques, even if it simultaneously encourages the groups to intermingle. Furthermore, her girlfriends involved in sororities feel compelled to attend events and obliged to hang out with their sisters, even though they do not actually enjoy their company.
At Colby College in comparison, I would be hard-pressed to find a student who has not formed a great, supportive group of friends. Students sometimes overlook the strength of their friendships at Colby. Not to be cliché and corny, but I truly believe that the Colby community attracts friendly students, at least in comparison to other schools. The type of student that comes to Colby is eager to meet others outside of their group of friends.
Secondly, diversity continues to be a major issue at our school. As a minority student, I admit that there have been instances in which, I realize the student body population should improve their knowledge surrounding the issue of diversity. However, at this similarly small campus in Tennessee, I became fully conscious of my Asian-American identity. Standing next to my friend, a boy introduced himself and started conversing with me. Then he quickly questioned why I didn't have a drink in my mind and then hastily joked, "Oh, do you want sake? I have some in my car. We can do sake-bombs together." While I realize that he had been trying to be funny, I was shocked that this stereotype was the first thing he had thought of and had vocalized. Later in the night, I realized that I was the only Asian girl at that house--even though there were approximately 100 people there in total.
The Colby campus may not be the most varied environment, but we cannot neglect that Waterville, Maine, is not a metropolitan setting; this is not New York City. Thus in response, Colby College does endorse multicultural programming especially through outlets like the Pugh Community Board, PCB. "PC" Coffee allows for any student to join in on a campus-wide discussion, in relation to a multicultural concern. In addition, Colby's statistics for the class of 2013 increased in percentage of international students and minority students. At least, there is attentiveness to the multicultural diversity concern on Colby campus and students actively try to continue engage the community to be conscious of such issues.
My adventure to a small liberal arts school in Tennessee reminded me why I call Colby College, home. Our student body is compromised of people that care and strive toward continually enhancing our school. The small and large aspects of our college such as COOT, JanPlan, the Woodsmen team and everything else that Colby students love contribute to our institution. The students are at the root of it all; we make this school, Colby College and it's not just another small liberal arts school. Okay, alright, big blue moon.