Bates supports more than 90 student organizations. From the African American society called Amandla! to WRBC-FM, a radio station playing an array of tunes, these groups provide everyday evidence of Bates’ commitment to diversity.
Eleven cultural and ethnic groups are affiliated with the Office of Intercultural Education.
In recent years, Amandla! — which means power in Swahili, a word often used to conclude the speeches made in South Africa by Nelson Mandela — has sponsored: Triad, an all-campus dance that’s one of Bates’ most popular events; a criminal-justice conference; and a performance-lecture by noted hip-hop choreographer Clyde Evans Jr.
Latinos Unidos hosts such events as such as the Columbus Day anticelebration and publishes their own magazine: Solidaridad Latina.
Sangai Asia celebrates the Lunar New Year with spectacular fireworks.
A welcoming campus
Of all Bates’ qualities, multicultural students single out how friendly and welcoming the campus community is. “The people here are really, really nice,” says Trang Tran ’06, of Boston. “And it’s genuine.”
Close bonds with deans are common. “At a small school like this, you really are able to get the help you need,” says Tran.
The friendly staff of the Multicultural Center make it a haven for students of all backgrounds. “It’s like my second home,” says Cynthia Freeman, a Navajo from Cameron, Arizona. Student organizations and activities also help ease the isolation of living in a rural, predominantly white state.
Zak Ray ’07
Zak Ray, co-captain of the 2006-07 men’s basketball team, is one of the coordinators of Amandla!, the campus group for students of African descent. One of the group’s goals is to help Bates attract a more racially and culturally diverse student body — hosting prospective minority students, and helping provide a “surrogate family” for minorities on campus.