Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) has hosted events for No Hate November every year since 2012, ranging from discussion groups and panels to keynote speeches delivered by public figures such as civil rights activist DeRay McKesson ’07 and actor Patrick Dempsey H’13. This year, however, BSG will not invite a keynote speaker and is instead focusing on promoting events hosted by other groups on campus.
Typically, BSG receives a fund for a keynote speaker from the College. This year, according to BSG Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Brandon Cartagena ’21, the administration and BSG concluded that a virtual event with possible low attendance was not a worthwhile investment.
“This year the concern was attracting people to go to that kind of keynote speech,” Cartagena said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “Myself, along with BSG, along with the administration, wanted to reevaluate whether or not that was something that they should put their money into, considering, let’s say you get like 10 people showing up but you pay X amount of money for them to come out. So that was definitely a concern.”
Cartagena also noted that the high volume of virtual programming this month led to BSG forgoing scheduling any of its own events, saying they might compete or overlap others. Instead, Cartagena offered to help the organizers of these events, reaching out when the planning process was already underway.
“I reached out to every group that was planning something and I asked, ‘How can I help, how can I be involved?’ And they already had it all covered,” Cartagena said. “They were just like, ‘Listen, honestly we have it covered, and if you could just promote it that’d be great.’ So I said ‘okay,’ because they don’t have access to send emails to the entire school, whereas I do.”
The money that typically would have gone to a keynote speaker for No Hate November will be redirected toward other BSG events.
“We have a decent amount of money left in the year,” Cartagena said. “And so now we’re just trying to switch gears and see, ‘Okay what can we plan for the student body? If we can’t use that money for No Hate November, where else can we spend that money on?’ So we have a couple of projects in the works that will come out soon. But I promise it’ll be fun and engaging for the student body.”