PARKER FISKE ’18
Almost two years after the launch of Campaign for Community, those most integrated in the process look on with optimism to the next phases of the plan, which includes a comprehensive redesign of the Cave and various leadership seminars in the spring semester. Grounded in a core message of respect, President Joanne Berger Sweeney launched the campaign in the spring of 2015 with the intention of creating a campus climate hospitable to everyone. The Campaign represents one of the President’s hallmark achievements in her tenure at Trinity. Chaplain Allison Read identified multiple student leadership summits, the redesign of the cave, and the transition by students and staff to “Collegiatelink” as three identifiable successes of the program thus far. At every moment when Trinity students faced unprecedented adversity and challenges, members from the Campaign for Community “answered the call” to help vulnerable students and staff, says Allison Read, the College Chaplain.
Campaign for Community is organized into various working groups that comprise faculty, staff, and administrators. While the Campaign is a Presidential initiative, the goals and agenda come from student leaders working with administrators and staff. The Administrative Working Groups (AWG) began in the fall of 2015 with student leadership training. To date, more than 165 students have participated in training that revolves around improving or addressing five basic principles: social environment, school pride, “Trintersectionality,”academic environment, and sexual assault.
These students channeled that training into a vision of how to reorganize the Campaign in the spring of 2016 and determined which phases of the plan could be implemented immediately and which could wait. The vision and ideals of these dedicated students seem most visible in the Summit Plan, which channels some of Campaign for Community’s core goals such as increased accessibility, environmental sustainability, and engagement with the City of Hartford. However visible the themes of Campaign for Community are in the Summit Plan, the main accomplishments of Campaign for Community are less overt and more nuanced.
The Campaign worked with the Admissions department to increase the number and caliber of international students as well as domestic people of color through comprehensive admissions strategies. The remodeling
of the Cave, about which Read promises students will be hearing more in the coming weeks, seeks to generate more space for community interaction, and the Trinity T-shirts at homecoming evidence Campaign leaders’ goals to promote school pride. Those t-shirts were funded by the campaign itself.
The next step for people involved with the Campaign is to reflect on nearly two and a half years of Campaign for Community and assess the successes and weaknesses. In the coming weeks, a delegation from Trinity will participate in Green Dot Training, a program aimed at increasing bystander intervention. To date, all of the suggestions made by the student-working group on sexual assault have been implemented to the satisfaction of student leaders. A group of faculty, deans, and students are working on a new vision for the Baccalaureate (undergraduate degrees) to align with the visions of Campaign for Community. A further timeline for the Cave remodel should be available in the coming weeks.