About the Oak Student Committee:

The Oak Student Committee allows undergraduates at Colby to become integrally involved in the Oak Institute and its programming.  The students on the committee aid in the planning and execution of the Oak events throughout the year. These students help to welcome the fellow to the Colby community through formal events as well as more casually over shared meals and discussions. The committee members also serve as the primary liaisons between the fellow and the student body. Through participation on the Oak Student Committee, students gain a better understanding of international human rights issues and learn key skills involved in human rights advocacy.

Recent Oak Student Committee Projects:


May 2012: During the final weeks of the semester the Oak Student Committee created an exhibit in the student union introducing the 2012 Oak Fellow, Zandile Nhlengetwa, to the Colby Community.  The exhibit included pictures and information about Zandile and her work in South Africa.





April 2012:

During the first week of April, the student committee helped organize a week focused on the issue of internal displacement.  The student committee hosted a screening of Colby Alum’s Tarini Manchanda ’09 short ten minute documentary titled “Game On,” which focused on displacement during last year’s Common Wealth Games in India.  The student committee then organized a workshop on internal displacement facilitated by the organization Dumela, which was founded by Colby Alum, Escar Kusema.

The student committee also helped organize an official Invisible Children Screening of Kony 2012 Part 1 and Part 2.  The committee advertised the screening as not only an opportunity to raise awareness about the LRA conflict in Central Africa, but also as an opportunity and space to ask critical questions about the video and this type of activism.

March 2012:

For the month of March, the student committee organized a variety of events as part of a month long Immigrant Rights campaign.  The committee organized three lunch time talks with professors from a wide array of disciplines to facilitate discussion from a specific viewpoint on immigration.   The committee also organized a forum for students who have experience with immigration to tell their stories.  This was one of the most powerful events of the year.  To conclude the month, the student committee organized a panel of three Maine immigration rights activists.  The goal of this month was to open up a campus wide discourse about immigration through various perspectives.

December 2011

The student committee helped organize a dinner honoring Fatima and her stay at Colby.  They created a scrapbook documenting her time here and all of the impact she has made in Maine.

November 2011

The student committee planned a screening of “Living Broke in Boom Times” to raise awareness about poverty in the United States.

The student committee also helped plan the lecture and dinner featuring Jesse Leah Vear from the Maine based organization, POWER.  The event, “Poverty in America: An Economic Human Rights Perspective” was one of the most powerful events of the semester.

October 2011

The student committee helped plan the dinner and lecture featuring Anirudh Krishna for the event titled: “One Illness Away: Global Poverty and Human Rights”

September 2011

The Student Committee helped plan Fatima’s initial address to the college for the event titled: “Untouchability and Human Rights: Fighting Poverty and the Caste System in India”

Four student committee members attended a conference at Harvard concerning poverty and the Millennium Development Goals.

May 2011

In the Spring of 2011, the student committee created a display introducing Fatima Burnad, the 2011 Oak Fellow, to the Colby student body. The students created a picture display, and information display, and a banner.

2013 Oak Student Committee:

Leah Breen and Grace DeNoon (co-chairs)
Anna Spencer
Anognya Parthasarathy
Aquib Yacoob
Ariel Oppong
Arjun Sahgal
Cassandra Smith
Divya Bisht
Eleanor Powell
Emma Brown
Gabriela Cortez
Ibraheem Baqai
Javier Monterroso Montenegro
Jennifer Sher
Joy Federich
Katie Allan
Katrina Bella
Katy Lindquist
Kirsten Karis
Lily Crane
Madochee Bozier
Megan Lasher
Nomawethu Moyo
Rubez Ching Lu Ming
Rumbidzai Gondo
Sam Chase
Thabile Ncube
Xuan Du

For more information about the committee, please contact Leah Breen (lebreen@colby.edu) or Grace DeNoon (gadenoon@colby.edu).