Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Students in the Diamond BuildingOak Fellow Jestina Mukoko talks with a studentFreaky Friday 5K
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
Founded in 2003, the center brings faculty and students together with local, state, national, and international leaders to explore creative, interdisciplinary approaches to the complex challenges facing today’s world. Students are involved in all aspects of Goldfarb Center activities: designing, planning, and running programs; serving as research assistants; participating in center conferences; and presenting their own work at center events.

Experience is a powerful teacher, and the Goldfarb Center provides students opportunities to engage in the community, gaining valuable insights and experience in the process. Students connect to the community through civic engagement courses, through the Colby Volunteer Center, and by mentoring local children with the Colby Cares About Kids program. These experiences help forge strong bonds between the campus and the community, making Waterville feel more like home to students and making Colby a stronger partner in the community.

Goldfarb Center Programming
At its heart, the Goldfarb Center is about faculty-student interaction. A wide variety of opportunities, from lectures and conferences to research, directly connect Colby students with many of the issues facing the world today.
  • The center brings important speakers to campus for a yearly lecture series as well as to discuss and debate current events as they unfold. Goldfarb Center lectures usually anchor a series of events, including panel discussions, receptions, and dinners, all of which are designed to enable students to spend face-to-face time with the important leaders and thinkers of our time.
  • Mealtime seminars sponsored by the center bring students, faculty members, and alumni together in informal gatherings to discuss contemporary concerns and topics of interest, many of which are raised by students. Recent seminars focused on the a series of topics on the Middle East with Professor of History John Turner and career path discussions with prominent alumni.
  • The William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate Series brings to campus experts who debate pressing contemporary issues such as the privatization of Social Security and academic freedom in the age of the Internet.
  • Each spring the center brings visiting fellows to the campus to meet with students, to give public lectures and participate in classes, and to work with faculty members on ongoing research projects. Goldfarb Fellows have included past members of Congress and professors from eastern Europe, South Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
  • The center encourages faculty members to plan on-campus conferences dealing with important contemporary issues and enabling students to interact with professionals.
  • To foster collaborative research among faculty members and students, the center offers grants for projects that involve people from different disciplines working with students on empirical research projects. Examples of projects for which students and faculty have received funding include Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles and Social Rights Deprivation in Buenos Aires.
  • One of the principal goals of the Goldfarb Center is to encourage civic engagement and aspirations for public leadership positions after graduation, regardless of a student’s major, profession, or career.
  • The Colby Volunteer Center provides opportunities to have a positive influence on the lives of others through volunteerism in the greater Waterville area and increases awareness of the value of volunteer work as a social responsibility as well as a form of self-development and education.

Opportunities for Support

Donors of Goldfarb Center endowed funds will receive the monthly Goldfarb Center newsletter and annual reports of the Goldfarb Center activities supported by their funds.

Named Fund to Support the Goldfarb Center—$100,000
A named Goldfarb Center endowed fund provides support for all Goldfarb Center activities.

Goldfarb Center Civic Engagement and Outreach Fund—$100,000
A named Goldfarb Center civic engagement and outreach endowed fund provides support for a variety of activities, including community service; Colby Cares About Kids; course development grants for civic engagement and other courses that connect the curriculum to the world beyond the College.

Goldfarb Center Academic Initiatives Fund—$100,000
A named Goldfarb Center academic initiatives endowed fund provides support for an exciting array of academic activities, such as a visiting fellows program; a meal-time seminar program; lectures and convocations; faculty collaboration research grants; student research grants to support local, regional, national, and international projects; and a student fellows program.

Goldfarb Center Fund with a Preference—$100,000
In consultation with the College, donors may express a preference regarding the type of Goldfarb Center activity their named fund will support. The College will allocate their fund in a way that most closely matches the expressed preference.