The Office of Alumni Relations is pleased to offer many ways for alumni to stay in touch with each other, and with Colgate! E-mail me with questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Tim Mansfield, associate vice president, institutional advancement and alumni relations. Questions? Contact alumni relations: 315-228-7433 or email@example.com
Hacking difficult conversations
On the bright Saturday morning of March 11, approximately 25 Colgate students and alumni came together in New York City for a common purpose. The goal was to provide support for a student venture, UNRAVEL. Gathered in the spacious, loft-like office of First Look Media, the group utilized their varied backgrounds to propel forward the student project, through a full-day hackathon.
UNRAVEL, co-founded by Jehdeiah Mixon ’18 and Hannah Shaheen O’Malley ’17, creates toolkits that unpack complicated issues for children to work through with adults. Their pilot package addressed consent by using everyday actions — such as friends making a pizza or playing soccer — to draw comparisons about coercing others into activities they don’t want to do.
“I learned a lot of things in college that I knew and experienced at a younger age but did not have the language to express and skills to address,” O’Malley explained. She and Mixon decided that they wanted to create educational children’s books to give children a way to talk about issues like sex, race, gender, death, and privilege.
The duo launched their pilot project last spring, and in less than two weeks, they sold all 120 units, which included a storybook, coloring book, and pamphlet for adults. The toolkits were sold at the Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton Center for the Arts, and online.
“This year, we hope to take our venture to new heights with a crowd-funding campaign and increased marketing efforts,” Mixon said.
To help them achieve those objectives, alumni and students broke into small groups at the Hackathon to write copy for their Kickstarter page, integrate Google analytics and search engine optimization, create social media pages and e-mail campaign templates, and develop a promotional video concept. Alumni came from backgrounds including consulting, entrepreneurship, software engineering, and education.
“The spirit of today is to be collaborative: to learn, teach, share, and build stuff,” said Jeff O’Connell ’94, one of the organizers of the annual event. “There are a lot of Colgate alumni who are doers. They have hard skills and we wanted to utilize that.”
UNRAVEL is Mixon and O’Malley’s project through Colgate’s Thought into Action (TIA) entrepreneurship program, which is facilitated by the help of alumni mentors.
The Hackathon was powered by support from the Digital Business and Technology Professional Network.
— Emma Loftus ’16
TIA has 150 mentors at large, and approximately 25 come back to campus each month to work with students. Are you interested in being involved? Visit colgate.edu/entrepreneurship.
It was a strong showing of Colgate love.
January 13, 2017
Colgate Day — every Friday the 13th — is proof positive of the Colgate community’s love for the Raider’s Dozen. The most recent celebration fell in January, and alumni clubs around the country organized events to proclaim their triskaidekaphilia: 19 clubs hosted 700 people at get-togethers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Folks from coast to coast shared Colgate Day pictures on social media and added to the cache at colgate.edu/project13. Notable celebrations included Colgate Thirteen, Swinging ’Gates, and Resolutions performances in Tampa, Fla.; New York City; and Boston (respectively). It was a strong showing of Colgate love and a perfect way to launch the countdown to our next Colgate Day in October.
Showing Raider pride, clockwise from top left: Karen Aguilar ’20; the Colgate Club of Cleveland; (L to R) Romario Lobban ’18, Tracy Milyango ’19, and Kristi Mangine; and Natalie Smith ’17.
Calling for freedom of expression
Comparing himself to a war correspondent offering his notes from the front lines, Professor Robert Kraynak spoke about “The Intellectual Climate at Colgate: Campus Free Speech in the Age of Safe Spaces and Trump” at a Fairfield County Alumni Club event in March. More than 60 people gathered in New Canaan, Conn., at the home of Dina and Kevin Rusch ’85.
“Our campuses seem normal and productive on the surface, but there is a battle for the soul of the universities in which academic freedom and freedom of expression are at stake,” said the political science professor and director of the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization.
“We are losing the ideal of a ‘legitimate debate’ through rational discourse in which both sides — or all sides — are given a fair hearing, because certain viewpoints are considered off limits or too offensive to discuss,” Kraynak asserted.
Citing recent violent protests at UC Berkeley and Middlebury College, he commented that those events contrast with daily campus life — which, at Colgate, “is fairly reasonable and cooperative.”
Noting that there is uneasiness among minority and international students on campus because of President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban, Kraynak said, “I detect greater anxiety over visa and travel plans, but not a decrease in the numbers of foreign students or participation in campus life.”
At the same time, he acknowledged, “external pressures from new political currents like Trumpism” may produce a backlash — the government may withhold funds from universities that suppress unpopular opinions, creating a cycle of fear and outrage.
So, although political pressures pose threats to the university, he said, it is just as perilous to stifle the freedom of expression. He concluded by asking the audience to help restore “the great ideal of the quest for truth through rational discourse, including all points of view (liberal, conservative, and radical), to our universities.”