CVC, SGA pilot “No-Damage November” program

In an email to the campus community on November 1, the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) and Student Government Association (SGA) announced a new initiative to combat dorm damage. The program, entitled “No-Damage November” will aim to raise money for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter through donations and awareness.

According to the email, students from the Hill have helped out the shelter since its founding “in the basement of a local church, where students volunteered around the clock to keep the shelter staffed.” Through CVC and SGA’s new initiative, Colby students will have the chance to help the shelter again by hoping to contribute to the  $35,000 needed to keep the organization running.

SGA President Michael Loginoff ’16, noted in an email correspondence that “No-Damage November” raises awareness of “issues regarding how we treat our home [on campus] when so many members of our local communities are not fortunate enough to have access to facilities like ours.” In a show of solidarity with support of CVC’s efforts to raise money for the shelWEBexitter, SGA has pledged to match up to $5,000 of donations.

The notion of earnestly acknowledging how members of the College community sometimes mistreat on-campus facilities is part of a conversation that has become increasingly lively over the last few semesters.

Associate Director of Campus Life Kim Kenniston shared the dorm damage statistics for both September and October of 2014 and 2015 with The Colby Echo, proving that while change is happening, there is still much more room for improvement. In an email correspondence, Kenniston stated that those two months of 2014 resulted in $23,052.15 of damage, while $12,763.83 of damage has accumulated so far during the current academic year. According to Loginoff, the fall semester of 2014 proved to be the most severe  of recent years, with about $55,000 of damage. 

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jim Terhune speculated in an interview as to why there might be significantly less dorm damage being committed this year: “I’d like to believe that things are shifting and folks don’t feel like it’s okay to break things.” He also noted that while, to his knowledge, the administration has not adopted new policies this year, the College “started to see a downward trend in damage last year after the Colby Affirmation.” 

Loginoff also echoed Terhune’s thoughts of progress: “Although we still have too much vandalism, we are making progress. It’s important that we continue to move our community forward in the spirit of integrity and respect. We on SGA think a lot of this progress stems from the awareness of the Colby Affirmation and the various positive messaging campaigns, i.e. Be a Mule.”

On the part of the administration, one further initiative to reduce dorm damage comes from the newly restricted key-card access to residence halls on weekends. According to Terhune, this move was made as a result of observations that determined dorm damage is often committed when students are “passing through” dorms, such as Sturtevant or Williams, on their way to the Alfond Senior Apartments. This policy, however, has not been active long enough to determine whether or not it will decrease damage.

Thus far, donations to the CVC and SGA campaign for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter total just $1,345. Donations are encouraged to be made online at: https://www.gofundme.com/ColbyDayShelter

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