SHOUT week line-up

Enter nearly any campus building and you’ll see one. Glance through the General Announcements or eavesdrop on a conversation in Pulver and there will be one. In fact, you would have to hide themselves in their room and possibly shut the blinds not to see one. Whether they are hanging as posters all around campus or flooding inboxes with reminders, advertisements for SHOUT Week events are everywhere.

SHOUT (Speaking Hearing Opening Up Together) Week is an event series sponsored by the Pugh Community board. “[It is] dedicated to informing the Colby community about the importance of activism and living a life of purpose,” said PCB Chair Victoria Falcon ’15 via email. “SHOUT Week…is a time for students, faculty members, and Waterville residents to come together and reflect with one another on a theme.” This week will mark PCB’s eighth annual SHOUT Week.

The theme for this year is “The Personal is Political.” “To me, that means exploring questions of how do we take causes that are personal to us and turn them into political activity,” said PCB vice chair Laura Rosenthal ’15. “How do we use our personal passions, particularly art, music, writing, and use [them] to make social change?”

SHOUT Week aims to answer these questions through the on-campus events they have scheduled throughout the week. In an effort to reach more of the student body and to get even more people involved, PCB is trying to organize new events that will appeal to a broad range of students. “There’ll be a wide variety of topics and forms of presentations at the events,” said Laura. “That’s why we’ve picked a concert, a lecture, a panel, a workshop….We really try to diversify our own programming to reach other people.”

This year’s keynote speaker will be actor, director, writer and activist George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the television series Star Trek. Takei’s achievements extend beyond the screen, however. He has won several awards for his human rights activism, including the 2012 LGBT Humanist Award.

“We believe that [Takei’s] story is representative of the ability to overcome adversity with perseverance,” Falcon explained. “We hope that George Takei’s focus on using social media to spark conversation about LGBT movements/ rights will help ignite conversation on campus about creating safe spaces for all members of the Colby community.”

PCB runs smaller events throughout the year to promote social awareness and inspire activism in the student body, but none are as universally popular as SHOUT Week. Rosenthal thinks that this may be because students don’t feel engaged with the sociopolitical issues they cover. She sees the event, therefore, as an opportunity for students to make personal connections with these issues.  “I think that what we’re trying to do… is reach as many people as possible by having such a broad topic, but also focusing on what about political society or society in general affects the individual,” she said. “I think we’re taking something that may [not seem] applicable to everyone and trying to make it applicable to every student.”

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