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How Diverse/Open is the Colby vibe?

morganhilmorganhil Registered User Posts: 393 Member
edited November 2012 in Colby College
One of the questions I have about Colby as the parent of a very bright, seriously intellectual, mixed race pre-frosh is how diverse is Colby in practice? I am not thinking about the demographic numbers, which are what they are but do not speak to the degree of openness and welcome the campus offers. Looking at the book "The Hidden Ivies", the authors suggest that Colby is not so open to diversity and that it's whiter, more preppy/jocky compared to let's say, Wesleyan, Swarthmore or Bates. I would love to see a range of opinions. And let me state at the outset that I have enormous respect for the long-term reputation as a top New England liberal arts college and I assume that a serious student can get a world class education there, no matter what race or income background. I am seeking for an honest, "under the hood" kind of perspective that is detailed, convincing and current to the 2012 Colby campus vibe.
Post edited by morganhil on

Replies to: How Diverse/Open is the Colby vibe?

  • Mules15Mules15 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Colby is working incredibly hard on increasing the openness of the campus. We have a wonderful resource for multicultural students known as the Pugh Center. The Pugh Center is a place devoted to conversations on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. As well as fostering discussions, they also bring in a variety of well known speakers on all of the above topics.

    Personally, as a hispanic student, I have never felt any form of discrimination and think that the people here are especially welcoming to anyone, regardless of their background. Though there are always a few outliers, the Colby community is very open.
  • GDMACKGDMACK Registered User Posts: 101 Junior Member
    From my daughter, a Colby Sophomore:

    Ill be straightforward and give you the facts:

    I am white and upper-middle class.
    Most of my friends are white and upper middle class.
    There is a fairly big population of international students at Colby, but generally it seems that they for the most part hang out with other international students. I have many international friends- two of my closest friends are from Bangladesh and Singapore, and yesterday I worked out at the gym with my friend from Sierra Leone. With these friends, I have had discussions about how it's too bad that Colby isn't more racially integrated, but in these same conversations, we have agreed that like attracts like- people want to be friends with people they have common experiences. I have a Latina friend who did not come back to Colby this year because she did not feel accepted. I have black friends who absolutely love Colby.

    The Pugh center is an excellent resource at Colby. It is the center for diversity, and the home of all minority clubs- for Jews, Muslims, students of Black and Hispanic unity, the lgbtq community... It also brings great speakers. Tonight Bell Hooks is here to talk about race gender and discrimination. Last week I went to a student discussion about the meaning of feminism. Pugh really raises awareness of diversity.

    Most students would agree that the school isn't very diverse but there really are some excellent people and fantastic resources.
  • nineteen121nineteen121 Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    I will have to agree with the above posts.

    My experience is limited but I will share anyway. I spent a day and a half at Colby College. Beforehand, I was thrilled because the amount of diversity had been talked up a bunch. When I arrived, though, I didn't see a lot of racial/ethnic diversity. This is when I realized that Colby boasts diversity in income, thought, political viewpoints, etc as well and maybe even moreso. (I too have heard that Colby is working incredibly hard at incorporating more diversity racially/ethnically.)

    A few of the students that I spoke with, who were underrepresented minorities, told me that they disliked Colby at first...a lot because of the lack of racial diversity. They said that if it weren't for the Pugh Center (the center for clubs etc. as mentioned above), they wouldn't have learned how to love Colby. They love Colby now...as cliche as it sounds...it's true. They genuinely enjoy their time there now. They have a great support system in the Pugh Center.

    At first, I too was turned off by the lack of diversity racially/ethnically. When I sat in on a couple of classes, I fell in love though. The teachers were incredibly exuberant and interested in what they were teaching and there were many interesting discussions between the students and professors due to the intimate class sizes. Overall, I am still applying to Colby College and it is among my top choices. I'm sure your child will fit in at any university. There is a group for everyone - one just has to search for it!
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