While Claremont McKenna College hosted its Board of Trustees meetings and institutional board meetings on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, young alumni gathered in the McKenna Auditorium to discuss CMC's social scene.
The fifth-annual Forum for the Future, which invites CMC alumni who graduated in the last ten years to discuss issues regarding the CMC campus every year, provided a platform for alumni to learn about and voice their opinions on the Personal and Social Responsibility Initiative and the High-Risk Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention Program in the context of CMC's social atmosphere.
“The overall feel that I got was that a lot of things have been miscommunicated to our alumni,” said Darrin Roberts, assistant director of alumni relations at CMC and the event's main organizer.
Roberts said that the event began with a presentation outlining the details of the new alcohol policy in order to “educate our alumni as to what the actual policy is and what has changed, if anything, on our campus.”
The forum then jumped into “The Great Conversation,” round table discussions that centered on key elements of and issues with the CMC social scene. While the Forum was focused on young alumni, several current students, like Eli Landman CM '16, helped plan the event and participated in the discussions.
“It was a discussion that definitely needed to happen,” Landman said. “It’s important that students are involved in this discussion as well as recent alums—we’re the ones who really know what this school is like.”
Landman and Surya Sendyl CM ’16 both said that alumni praised the inclusive nature of the CMC social scene. According to Roberts, the forum allowed these recent alums, who remember the school better than most trustees but have more post-college experience than students, to examine policy changes within the larger context of the CMC social experience.
Varun Pari CM ‘16 spoke at the forum about the how over-emphasizing the new alcohol policy equates the CMC social scene with alcohol use. In his speech, Pari argued that the conversation about the CMC social scene should focus not only on alcohol but also on those opportunities unique to the college social realm, like random conversations over laundry.
“There’s a problem because you’re telling people that all social scene is defined through this narrow lens of alcohol,” Pari said.
Many alumni also voiced disapproval of how the administration has framed the discussion about the CMC social scene. For example, Madison Friedman CM ’14 asserted in his speech that CMC's alcohol problem is not as serious as the administration believes.
Notes from the forum, including the speeches and round table discussions, will be compiled and presented to CMC's senior staff later in the academic year.
“This opportunity is important for our young alumni who care about the life of the college and the future of it,” Roberts said. “In comparison to, for example, the Board of Trustees, it doesn’t seem like we have a lot of influence, but they really do.”