Students of Color at Archer panel provides ‘safe space’


Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

Leader of SoCA Mac Williams ’19 smiling in the village. The SoCA panels goal is to bring students of color at Archer together in a communal space.

The Students of Color at Archer panel [SoCA] held its first official meeting Tuesday, October 11 at X-block. This discussion-based group, which plans to meet three times a year, attracted an estimated 25 students with different cultural backgrounds to the dining hall. 

The purpose of the panel, created by senior Mac Williams, is to create an environment where students of color at Archer can come together.

“It’s meant to be a safe space for students of color,” Williams said, “[to] just provide a space for them to be and interact with other students of color.”

Williams said the main goal of the panel is “to allow people to feel comfortable in who they are and for older students to meet new students.”

When she was a freshman, Williams said she had role models in the Archer community who helped her be more comfortable with her African-American identity.

“Thinking back on my own freshman experience…people like Marcela [Riddick ‘16] and people on the basketball team, on track, on cross-country that helped me feel comfortable with my identity,” Williams said. “I felt like I had the same responsibility to younger students to provide them with the same opportunities that older students did for me.”

Gonzalez said she had a similar older-to-younger-student relationship to Josie Garcia ‘18 that Williams had with Riddick due to their shared cultural background.

“When I first came here, [Garcia] was one of the only Latinas in the upperclassmen and I think that was one of the reasons I looked up to her,” Gonzalez explained. “If I ever had any trouble, I knew that she was one of the people I could go to.”

Gonzalez said she perceives the connection among different grade levels as the main benefit of this affinity space at Archer.

“It’s nice because you get to find different friends from across grade levels where you can really, really talk,” Gonzalez said.

Williams will graduate next semester but hopes to continue her legacy of SoCA.

“I hope this…allows new students of Archer that come in years after me to find their place in the Archer community,” she said.

The next Students of Color at Archer panel meeting will be held towards the end of 2018.