Goldfarb Center For Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Colby students, faculty, and alumni have a long history of engagement in the local community, on the national stage, and throughout the world. The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, established at Colby in 2003, serves to organize, focus, and leverage Colby's efforts to foster active citizenship at all levels and has launched important new initiatives for capitalizing on Colby's strengths in these areas. 

Through the Goldfarb Center, Colby students make connections between their work in the classroom and contemporary political, economic, social, and environmental issues. Building on Colby's established strengths in the social sciences and interdisciplinary programs, the center provides a structure and a setting in which faculty and students work together to develop creative, interdisciplinary approaches to complex local, national, and global challenges. Students are actively involved in all aspects of center activities--as research assistants, event and conference planners, volunteers and mentors, and civic engagement liaisons.

Goldfarb Center programs include:
Lectures and Conferences The center brings important and influential speakers to campus to discuss and debate important global events as they unfold. Goldfarb Center lectures usually anchor a series of events, including panel discussions, workshops, and small group meals with the speaker, faculty, and students.

Mealtime Seminars The center sponsors a series of informal gatherings for students and faculty to discuss contemporary concerns and topics of interest, many of which are proposed by students.

Visiting Fellows Program The visiting fellows program gives faculty members the possibility to invite a scholar, politician, activist, or social entrepreneur to spend a week or more at Colby to work with faculty and students.

Faculty/Student Research The center encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary research among faculty and students through grants awarded throughout the year to support empirical research. Participating faculty and students are appointed as Goldfarb Center Research Fellows.

The Cotter Debates The Cotter Debates bring national and international experts to campus for spirited discussion of controversial topics.

Volunteer Programs Volunteer programs include Colby Cares About Kids, in which more than 375 Colby mentors meet weekly with schoolchildren at 18 sites in central Maine. Additionally, more than 160 students regularly volunteer with local organizations in partnerships between city agencies and the College. The student-run Colby Volunteer Center oversees numerous special projects, including Colby Cares Day, a city-wide day of service, and the Halloween Extravaganza for children from the area.

The Goldfarb Center and many of its affiliated faculty are housed in the Diamond Building, which opened in 2007. For more information see