The dialogue about difference and bias at Bowdoin will continue on Sunday, and students and administrators are hard at work to ensure the conversation is not silenced by the end of the school year.

"I Am Bowdoin" leaders have organized a nighttime walk around campus and into town entitled "Belonging in Brunswick," and they are hoping for a strong turnout.

Designed by the student group as a way for students and community members to "reclaim space" in light of the attention that has been brought to the bias incidents on campus and around Brunswick, the event will include designated stopping points along the route where participants are encouraged to "speak their experience and truth," according to organizer Reilly Lorastein '13.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the walk will take participants from the steps of the Walker Art Building, down College Street and Federal Street, to the Brunswick Town Mall, up Maine Street toward campus before culminating with an informal gathering at 30 College Street.

"We are hoping that it [will be] just as powerful as the [March 10] 'I Am Bowdoin' protest," said Nylea Bivins '12, who echoed Lorastein's desire for the event to provide some sort of closure and support for graduating seniors as well as anyone else that has experienced a bias incident. "Bias incidents don't only affect the individual, but the entire community."

Lorastein and Bivins explained that "I Am Bowdoin" has been reaching out to people on campus and community leaders—clergy, members of the Brunswick School Board and other officials—and expect there will be a strong contingent of non-Bowdoin attendees. To that end, they changed the date of the event so that it would not overlap with a school board meeting.

Beyond this Sunday's event, both Bivins and Lorastein expressed optimism that the momentum the "I Am Bowdoin" initiatives have gained so far this semester will continue into next year.

As previously reported in the Orient, the Dean's Office has hired a student to work with Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Leana Amaez over the summer to restructure the first year orientation programming to better prepare incoming students for the realities of difference they will find as students at Bowdoin.

"We're going to definitely move back to a model that is much more...focused on our own student voices and talking about their own experiences," said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster. "I think we'll find that allowing the talents of our own student body to create a program—along the lines of 'Speak About It'—will be much more effective" than bringing in outside groups.

Foster emphasized his belief that any real shift in the campus culture relating to differences of background and identity would be most effective in the long-term if it comes from the students themselves. In the meantime, however, the administration is working to make improvements on campus in the ways that they can.

According to Foster, Central Maine Power Company will be upgrading the street lighting along Bath and Federal Streets adjacent to campus over the next few weeks with the goal of making those areas "lighter, brighter, and hopefully safer feeling." The project should be completed before the end of June.

By the start of classes next fall, Foster said the College hopes to have an electronic "Campus Community Index...up and running." He envisions the mechanism as a resource where members of the Bowdoin community can submit reports of campus or town bias incidents—or reports of positive experiences or observations. Foster explained that the plan would be to make these reports available to the community by regularly sharing posts to the index.

Students and administrators alike are beginning to envision and plan for a summit event in the fall, the goal of which would be to bring together the entire community to discuss issues of difference and bias incidents.

Regarding the March 6 community meeting that took place in response to the March 1 bias incident in Coles Tower, Bivins noted that a common remark after the meeting was that the "people who [needed] to be [there were not]." Planning a larger-scale event would be done with the intention that the "entire campus will be engaged in the conversation, so we'll be able to bridge that gap."

President Barry Mills said that he has spoken to student groups, including "I Am Bowdoin," about the prospect of some sort of summit, and shared his feeling that such a forum "might be an effective restart these conversations" next year. However, there are no official plans in place at the moment. For that sort of an event to be a success, "we have to do it in a very organized way and it has to be done very thoughtfully," said Mills.

Until then, Bivins and Lorastein noted that "I Am Bowdoin" is trying to keep the conversation about difference on campus going through the group's regular meetings, and encouraged those interested in getting involved to contact them or other members of the group.

"In my opinion, it's the fact that we have an atmosphere at Bowdoin that allows for bias incidents to occur, because they are smaller micro-aggressions that go...unaddressed," said Bivins, explaining part of the larger cultural problem that the group is focusing on going forward.

Mills also mentioned that while off campus the other day, an acquaintance mentioned the article profiling out men's tennis coach Colin Joyner '03 and out lacrosse captain Ben Chadwick '11, noting how impressively their advocacy reflects upon the College.

Mills connected the athletic department's advocacy and acceptance efforts to those of "I Am Bowdoin" and other groups.

"As tough as it is to have these conversations, and as uncomfortable as it can make people, the fact that we're actually having them is very, very, very important for the College," he said.