The weekly All College Meeting (ACM) is an integral aspect of governance at COA.  ACM allows students, faculty, and staff alike to share insight and influence decisions on important issues in the college’s community.  

ACM moderator Shlomit Auciello ’17 began the first meeting of the term by posing a question to the group: “What is the point of college?”

Although each person who voiced their perspective came from a unique personal and educational background, several themes echoed throughout the conversation.

Forming connections

“I came to college mainly because I realized the world is very large and I am a very small part of it, and so I [am] here to learn more things about the world… and to meet new people to expand my world.” –Maria Hagen ’17, student

“At COA, in a relatively ideal college environment, you connect with people but it’s less about making connections and more about being connected. […] If there are people with similar interests, it ends up enriching what you get out of college.” –Izik Dery ’17, student

Empowering people to improve the world

“After being in college for more than 20 years if you count teaching… I feel more and more that the purpose of education in general, from early childhood all the way through adulthood to our last breath, is to learn how to exercise our free will… and help others understand and practice their free will in service of the greater good, with courage and humility.” –Bonnie Tai, faculty, educational studies

“I think that the idea that John Dewey had that schools are the way that society lives into the future is central… We should be living in a society that’s trying to produce ethical people… That’s what I think the goal of COA should be.” –Gray Cox, faculty, history and economics

Learning how to think

“College is for learning how to think for yourself as opposed to just absorbing all the things people have given you, learning how to think about your life, learning how to think where thinking isn’t just reasoning… learning how to think when you’re encountering people who are really different from you and ideas and possibilities that are really different from you.” –Karen Waldron, faculty, literature and theory

Establishing life skills

“College is a place to practice the life [you] might want… [and] to practice time management and other skills you might need in your life, not just to make money but for your own quality of life later on.” –Sarah Hall, faculty, geology and earth science

 Nurturing individual freedom and growth

 “When I chose to [spend my last year and a half of high school as a homeschool student], I felt for the first time that I was choosing to grow and choosing to learn… I feel that college is an extension of [that freedom of choice].” –Leah Dova ’19, student

 Addressing privilege and responsibility

 “A lot of people go to school just to get a diploma, but those people [want] a higher quality of life and they [want] to make more money to support their families. College is for a lot of different reasons.  I definitely [feel like it is] a privilege to be here.” –Paige Nygaard ’17, student

 “If you’re someone who has had [this] privilege… what can and should you do… to make particular change in the world about environmental policy or political issues or to help people who haven’t had that education?  […] What is the responsibility for anyone who learns to think in these complex rich ways to the world beyond college?” –Karen Waldron

More questions than answers

As with many human-ecology-centered conversations, more questions were raised than definitively answered.  The meeting did succeed in building a foundation of shared focus and purpose and set an excellent foundation for community governance over the coming year.  

ACM invites everyone to join them every wednesday as they continue to tackle issues relevant to student and community life.