Increasingly, prospective college students say they want a campus experience that will support and foster activism.

In this episode of the college’s hit web series Ask the College Experts, Noelle Chaddock, Ph.D., vice president for equity and inclusion at Bates, explains how prospective students might find such a college, one that creates space for everyone to feel safe, welcome, represented, and heard.

Now in its second season, Ask the College Experts kicked off last year with a dozen episodes geared toward helping prospective students navigate the college-search process. Episodes addressed everything from writing a good college application essay and what to expect from the interview to what “test optional” means.

(Subscribe to the Bates YouTube channel to receive new Season 2 episodes as they debut.)

A campus where students are invested in advocating for human and civil rights benefits all community members, says Chaddock. When students are invested, “I know that my rights as a human are being observed and represented.”

As prospective students look at potential colleges, they should think about the overall climate: “What is it like for folks who are not in the dominant majorities?”

Students should see evidence of activism, Chaddock says. “What do you see on the walls? Who is represented in the pictures on the walls? Are there pictures of activism on the walls?”

Activism among college students is “what moves the country.”

And look for visual evidence that suggests a community that’s doing the “work around making sure that everyone finds a place and a sense of belonging.” Even something as simple as safe-zone stickers on doors can tell volumes about a campus climate.

Keep looking around, at print and digital publications and social media. “Is there evidence of a strong African American and African-descendant community? Who are the professors and who’s represented in promotional literature?”

Activism among college students is “what moves the country, so I need that in my everyday life,” Chaddock says.

“When students are excited about faculty, staff, and administrators being part of that activism, I think there’s a synergy there that brings me joy.”

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