Three Hamilton students were among some 200 participants who gathered at Williams College for the 2017 Creating Change Consortium (C3 Summit).
The C3 Summit, hosted by a different Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO) college each year, brings together underrepresented students from LADO institutions and pre- or post-doctoral candidates from research universities.
This year’s theme was The Transformative Power of Race in the Academy: Measuring Change, Charting Futures, where participants discussed the priority of diversity and inclusion in the academy.
Opportunity Programs invited Adrian Summers ’19, Andres Aguilar ’19, Sacharja Cunningham ’19 to represent Hamilton at the conference. The summit provided
attendees an opportunity to network with other undergraduate students involved in creating campus change, and to engage chief diversity officers in conversations about sharing information, tools and the best practices for supporting diverse students and faculty at liberal arts colleges.
Students also attended graduate presentations of dissertations and research papers and learned about their academic backgrounds and challenges they face in the university environment. Summers presented on a panel titled Student Voices in Diversity Work: Where and How do Students Contribute to Shaping Goals and Measuring Outcomes. He spoke about how his many roles on campus are connected in a way that helps Hamilton support and retain the under-represented students the College works so hard to recruit.
“I explained how my roles in the Admissions Office and the Dean of Students Office give me access to what incoming and current students want and need to feel supported, and how that informs the programming and advocacy I do with the Black and Latinx Student Union and Student Assembly,” Summers said. “I spoke on how I believe that student-led initiatives on campus can influence institutions to begin transforming into what students want to see. After hearing several students explain their college experiences and ask me questions about Hamilton’s models for diversity and inclusion, I suddenly felt a deep appreciation and pride realizing that Hamilton College seemed further along in its progressive development and efforts.”
Sacharja Cunningham wrote, "I appreciated attending the C3 summit for meaningful dialogue and networking about race in higher education. I felt rejuvenated in the empowering spaces created during the conference with administrators, staff, faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students from all over the country," he said.
“With such a variety of people, I was able to put my higher education career into perspective and return to Hamilton with a sharpened view of how to finish my time on the Hill as well as pursue education beyond my time here. From listening to keynote addresses to talking during meals, I learned from others …. who were committed to forging inclusive campus communities.
“At a session about self-care as a minority within elite institutions, panelists talked about defining and claiming personal, holistic success. I took away advice that highlighted how, despite being on different campuses, our experiences, struggles, and triumphs connected us all.
“Another helpful session was a panel discussion about graduate school. I listened to four students' experiences … about parts of the graduate process that could prove challenging. Since Hamilton is not a graduate institution, I especially loved getting exposure to this group of people who helped inform my future aspirations. This access to people and knowledge from many colleges and universities made the C3 summit not only beneficial for me, but necessary," Cunningham said.