Defining Creativity at the 5Cs

On behalf of TSL, we’d like to offer you a belated welcome (back) to Claremont! Whether you’re reading this in print or on our newly redesigned website—which you can visit at tsl.pomona.edu—the important thing is that you’re reading and engaging with challenging, occasionally messy issues. That, in and of itself, is amazing. We salute you, beautiful reader.

And now, moving on to what we do best, which is talk about the news. Possibly the biggest news of the past week was the donation of $25 million to Pomona College by Rick HM ’64 and Susan Sontag PO ’64 for the creation of a 5C Creativity Center. As reported by Kevin Tidmarsh PO '16 on page 1, this gift is the largest single donation that Pomona has ever received.

The creation of a 5C Creativity Center leaves us both curious and skeptical of how the center will grow into a resource for students. $25 million is an unfathomably large sum of money, and we have no doubt that everyone wants to see the money well used.

We also feel surprised by the fact that many students heard of this center only for the first time when Pomona President Oxtoby announced its establishment in a sudden email last week, along with an immediate press release and accompanying front page placement on 5C websites. Many of the students who heard about the center through the press release doubtless would have liked to have been involved in the planning stages.

The bulk of students involved in the planning stages of the center did so by attending a series of workshops on “design thinking” last semester. This doesn’t bode well for students whose concept of creativity doesn’t fit into the design model.

What we would like to see is for the center to present a clear, concrete goal and layout of the center and the services it will provide to students. The center is still in its early stage, the search for a director has just begun, and the energy of the staff and students working in the center is contagious. But the center will live and die by the people who involve themselves in it, and if it is limited to 'design thinking' types, it may be doomed from the start.