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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 more than 20 important and influential speakers to campus each year to discuss and debate global events as they unfold. Goldfarb Center lectures often anchor a series of events, including panel discussions, workshops, and small group meals with the speaker, faculty, and students.

Civic Engagement Programs   Colby students are engaged with the community in various ways through the center. Approximately 30 courses have civic engagement components through which students work with local organizations whose missions are connected to and inform material learned in class. The Colby Cares About Kids program, in which more than 375 Colby mentors meet weekly with at-risk schoolchildren at 18 sites in central Maine, is a model adopted by other colleges. The student-run Colby Volunteer Center coordinates volunteer work of more than 150 students who serve in local organizations. The CVC also organizes special projects including Colby Cares Day, a city-wide day of service, and the Halloween Extravaganza for area children.

Faculty/Student Research   Through grants awarded throughout the year, the center encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary research among faculty members and students as well as innovative student research. Participating faculty members are appointed as Goldfarb Center Research Fellows, and students are appointed Sandy Maisel Research Fellows. Where possible their work is integrated into other center programs.

The Cotter Debates, Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award in Journalism, Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award   The Cotter Debates bring national and international experts to campus for spirited discussion of controversial topics. The Lovejoy Award honors a journalist whose craft and courage display qualities exemplified by Elijah Parish Lovejoy, valedictorian of the Colby Class of 1826 and America's first martyr to freedom of the press. The Brody Award honors a state or federal jurist whose work recalls the career of Judge Morton Brody, a Waterville resident with close ties to the College. The center coordinates programs around both awards, giving students opportunities to interact with the recipients and national leaders who come to campus to honor the winners.

Visiting Fellows Program   The visiting fellows program gives faculty members opportunities to invite a scholar, journalist, politician, activist, or social entrepreneur to spend a week or more at Colby to work with faculty and students. Each visiting fellow gives a public address and meets with students informally as well as in the classroom.

True Life After Colby and Mealtime Seminars   The center invites recent alumni/ae to campus to discuss career paths in public affairs. The center also sponsors a series of informal gatherings for students and faculty to discuss contemporary concerns and topics of interest, many proposed by students.

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