Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) members proposed an event to promote conversations about socioeconomic class on Bowdoin’s campus. The suggestion, which was discussed at Wednesday’s BSG meeting, was prompted by a study from the Equality of Opportunity Project republished in the New York Times two weeks ago, which disclosed the socioeconomic composition of the Bowdoin student body.

“I think something we’ve talked about a lot is an interest in trying to help facilitate a conversation on class that isn’t happening at Bowdoin at all,” said BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17. “I think that this report is something people are already talking about and it would be a really good jumping-off point.”

Fisher informed BSG that several BSG members would soon be meeting with three economics professors and a member of the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good who are interested in helping to plan the discussion. She also asked for input concerning the format and topics of the proposed event.

Representative At-Large Ural Mishra ’20 presented the results of his meeting with Doris Santoro, chair of the education department, who suggested that BSG facilitate an event in which a panel of professors discuss their experiences of socioeconomic class in college.

Members shared their ideas for facilitating discussion about class, including incorporating an event into first-year orientation and training student leaders to facilitate discussion within their clubs.

“For me the goals would be … making sure that we recognize as an institution the kind of costs that students are incurring to make sure that in the ways we can support students, we are,” said Fisher. “I think we could think about socioeconomic programming events that would raise all of our literacy and language around what kind of class privileges we all exist within and what other people might not have and how we can … be thoughtful of people.” 

Following the discussion, nine members volunteered to form an ad hoc committee to continue work planning and programming on the topic.

BSG also discussed providing funding and transportation for students to attend protests. Last week, Multicultural Representative Victoria Pitaktong ’17 started a Facebook group to help coordinate transportation to local protests. Entertainment Board Liaison to BSG Maggie Rose ’17, though, questioned the administration’s role in informing students about protests.

“I would love if Bowdoin would be more on top of it and more engaging and more motivating, making the school and the students more aware of what’s going on in protests, rather than just BSG saying ‘we can provide vans,’” she said.