About the Oak Student Committee: The Oak Student Committee (OSC) allows Colby undergraduates to become integrally involved in the Institute and its programming. The committee is the primary link between the Fellow and the student body, organizing formal meetings and more casual encounters over meals or through field trips. Even when the Fellow is not present on campus, OSC members help plan and execute Oak events. Through participation on this committee, students gain a better understanding of international human rights issues and learn key skills involved in human rights advocacy.
2014-2015 Oak Student Committee:
Grace DeNoon (co-chair)
Divya Bisht (co-chair)
Javier Moneterroso Montenegro
Katrina von Hahn
Recent Oak Student Committee Projects:
In the spring, the OSC, led by co-chairs Leah Breen ’15 and Katie Allan ’15, hosted a series of formal and informal events that covered a wide range of topics. Events included a lunchtime discussion with Professor Gail Carlson on activism at Colby; a screening of the documentary Wham! Bam! Islam!; a lunchtime discussion with Professor Laura Seay on Rwanda 20 years post-genocide; a Skype conversation with activist John Currelly on development in Haiti; an event entitled Stories Across Borders that provided a space for Colby students to share their stories of immigration; an immigrant support panel with representatives from Hope Acts and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project as well as two recent immigrants; a dinner discussion on the World Cup in Brazil and its effects on human rights in the country; a discussion on Voluntourism; a human rights Open Mic Night; and several dinner discussions on human rights in current affairs in conjunction with Colby’s Amnesty International chapter.
Throughout this semester, the Student Committee organized a variety of events as part of a month-long Immigrant Rights campaign, including three lunchtime talks with professors from a wide array of disciplines to facilitate discussion on immigration, as well as a forum for students who have experience with immigration at which they told their stories.
To conclude a month of meaningful discussion and story-telling, the OSC organized a panel of three Maine immigration rights activists.
In September, the OSC helped the 2011 Oak Fellow, Fatima Burnad, plan her initial address to the college as a part of the event entitled: “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 Millenium Development Goals.
Throughout the semester, the Student Committee helped organize a dinner and lecture featuring Anirudh Krishna for the event titled: “One Illness Away: Global Poverty and Human Rights”, hosted a screening of “Living Broke in Boom Times” to raise awareness about poverty in the United States, planned a dinner and lecture featuring Jesse Leah Vear from Maine-based POWER entitled “Poverty in America: An Economic Human Rights Perspective”, and hosted a dinner honoring Fatima and her work at Colby.