Real World


Student leaders offer training for life after college

By Abigail Wheeler '04

Colby students can't complain their needs aren't provided for on campus. The dorms are comfy, the jitney drivers are accommodating, and the dining halls serve up three square and tasty meals a day. But Student Government Association President Derek Taff '04 and Vice President Josh German '04 want Colby grads to have skills that will help make their post-Mayflower Hill lives just as manageable.

The pair's campaign platform for last spring's election included a pledge to help prepare graduates for life after Colby. Their first project has begun to take shape in the form of a book seminar-style course this spring based on A Car, Some Cash, and a Place to Crash: The Only Post-College Survival Guide You'll Ever Need by Rebecca M. Knight, a Wesleyan graduate and stepdaughter of Colby's Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government G. Calvin Mackenzie. Participants will consider tips the book offers and will attend discussions and skill-building classes on topics ranging from car maintenance to retirement planning.

Taff and German aren't going it alone. They enlisted Douglas Professor of Economics and Finance Randy Nelson to sponsor the project. Taff and German plan to augment the book material with guest experts from a variety of fields, including Colby faculty and professionals within the Waterville community. "We've got some great leads that we're pursuing for people who can help us, especially with some of the financial and legal areas," Taff said. "We also pitched it at the Alumni Executive Council, so we may find some more leads from there."

Some topics they hope to cover include banking, credit cards, real estate, insurance and computer skills.

In another initiative designed to help ease seniors into the "real world," Taff and German also have sought SGA funding to bring daily newspaper distribution to the campus to heighten students' knowledge of current events. During February, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Portland Press Herald and USA Today will be delivered to selected residence halls "to see how the program will operate and what kind of demand there will be at different locations such as a small dorm, a big dorm, a dorm with a dining hall and so on. Ultimately, [newspapers] will be in every dorm," Taff said. If all goes well during this free trial run, funding will be provided to make the newspaper program an ongoing service.