For those unfamiliar with the group, participants often describe it as “a safe space to discuss pressing social issues and identities.” The club, started by a former student of the college in the fall of 2008, has seen various student leaders and members. While the faces change, the feeling and sense of community for those who attend remains.

Members of Spectrum, a student-led group.

When the group began, students focused strictly on the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community. These identities are still heavily discussed by Spectrum. However, today students are widening the discussion to include a variety of additional important topics such as race, gender identity, women’s rights, and socio-economic issues. In fact, weekly discussions often include aspects of all of these subjects.

Organization members feel this inclusive progression can be attributed to their studies of human ecology. Spectrum goers are working with a crucial theme known to the COA community as “seeing the world as an interconnected place.” The group, using knowledge gained from COA studies and life experience, draw parallels to various social issues. This allows students to not only broaden and deepen their understanding of social occurrences such as racism and homophobia, but also to seek possible common solutions.

Another exciting addition to the group is what members are calling the “Spectrum Lecture Series.” While the group holds open forums on topics every Monday, the lectures will be a way for students to research topics of interest more thoroughly and present them in a formal fashion. The lecture series will occur every other week throughout the term and will include topics such as body image and queer representation in film.  These talks will be free and open to the entire COA community.

This all-encompassing student organization will be hosting a variety of additional events this winter. So far the events include movie nights, an evening of discussions on the topic of safe sex, and a formal tea party. In addition to these events, Spectrum will continue to hold weekly meetings every Monday at 7 pm in the Meditation Room located on the second floor of COA’s Deering Commons.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend these free events and meetings.