Name: Amanda Brown
Major: Peace and Conflict Studies Minor: Religion
Hometown: Mendham, NJ
Student Involvement: Konosioni, COVE Team Leader for Head Start and Students for Students, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Thought Into Action, Hindu Students Association, former Panhellenic Council Philanthropy Chairwoman, former Research Assistant in PCON and Psychology
You do so many things on campus, what activity are you most proud of at Colgate?
I’m extremely proud to be in Konosioni because I respect the other Konosioni members too much for words. Being part of such an an inclusive, dynamic, enthusiastic community that respects me the way I respect them is both an honor and a privilege. In terms of my personal growth, I’d definitely say my involvement at TIA because it’s challenged me more than any other activity. I’ve never let my guard down more than I do at TIA — I’m really proud of the way I’ve learned how to walk into a room and admit, “I know nothing about this, but I know I can learn. Can you help me?”
What do you think underclassmen can do to make the most out of their time at Colgate?
Bring yourself to as many corners of campus as you possibly can. This was the goal I brought into senior year and I wish I had started out with it my first semester! Go to a club meeting where you don’t know anyone, bop into every center on campus just to check out what it’s like, hang out in a Broad Street interest house where you’ve never been. I can’t explain how much fuller my Colgate experience grew this year when I pushed myself to regularly explore our social terrain like this. Also, two words: Chapel House. You need to go!
You run a non-profit called Children & Youth First, which is participating in the Colgate Day of Impact NYC Hackathon. Can you tell us a little more about the organization and the hackathon?
I run the US division of Children & Youth First (CYF), which works in tandem with the original CYF Nepal team based in Kathmandu. CYF provides marginalized kids from across Nepal, between the ages of 3 and 16, with a progressive education and safe home at our boarding school Life Vision Academy. We’re different from other boarding schools and NGOs in a bunch of critical ways: we work with a rights-based approach, aka allying with youth for their right to education as opposed to capitalizing on their education for economic development; our organization is locally-founded and locally-led, as opposed to an uninvited Westerner arbitrarily importing their ideas and values into Nepal; and our school teaches critical thinking, creativity and self-expression through arts, and the deconstruction of gender roles. When I was studying abroad in Nepal last year, the founder of CYF (my host mom there!) asked me to launch and lead a US team to bring resources, funding, and attention to Life Vision Academy; I’ve been building a team that now spans from Hamilton to NYC, DC, and Florida (and, shameless plug, we’re looking for interns!) My focus right now is a capital campaign to build LVA’s self-designed dream facility, which will allow the school to finally escape their treacherous rent charges and to open their doors to over 150 new students.
I’ve been working with TIA on this school expansion project throughout the year, and I received an amazing opportunity when the TIA and COVE directors decided to feature it in Colgate’s first hackathon. The hackathon is in New York City over spring break, and it will bring together Colgate alumni, students, parents and friends to work together on a programming and marketing project for CYF. I won’t know what we’re going to create together until we’re all there on Saturday, but I’m super excited and could not be more appreciative that so many people are volunteering their time and capacities for this incredible school. Another shameless plug: like us at facebook.com/cyfusa to see how the Colgate hackathon goes (and much more)!
With graduation coming up, do you have a senior year bucket-list?
I have a list with some of my friends called our Torch List, which is a mix of crazy/sentimental/silly things that at least one of us has to do before we all carry our graduation torches. It’s also called the Torch List because it should definitely be torched once completed, so I’ll leave it at that.
Favorite thing about Colgate:
The people! Everyone (myself included) complains from time to time about a professor, a classmate, or our individual conception of what a “typical” Colgate student is — but what we talk less about is how there are countless incredible, world-changing, mountain-moving individuals on this campus. My favorite thing is how often I meet someone new who changes my life, my heart, or my perspectives, and the fact that there is always another person around the corner doing the same for someone else.