Posted by Alex Hodor-Lee
A collective Anglo complexion and sense of privilege have long oppressed members of the Skidmore Outing Club. This has fostered a very elitist environment, leading minority students to feel uncomfortable at the prospect of joining.
To remedy the social injustice (and assuage their Caucasian guilt) the Outing Club will launch a new program to attract Skidmore students from all shades of the rainbow.
Known as "The Outside Club", the pilot program will help teach underprivileged minority students how to "get in touch with their inner-outsideness." The Outing Club is hoping to shed their image as
a white's only an intolerant and exclusive club.
The Outing Club is one of the largest clubs on campus and its members often measure the size of their walking stick by boasting the number of email recipients on their listserv. However, some have admonished them for their lack of diversity as related to their relative clout on campus.
Others have come to the club's defense, noting that hiking and bird-watching are predominantly Anglo "sports," that Others (employed in the anthropological sense) are not privy to. Moreover, proponents of the club contend that a lack of integration is not a problem specific to the Outing Club, but representative of a systemic issue at Skidmore.
The situation also raises interesting questions about the role of forced integration on campus. Should college clubs, or even the College, be responsible for legislating or regulating interracial interactions on campus? Is it even a big deal?
While some contend that diversity substantively enriches our perspective, ability to collaborate and capacity to learn, others recognize that diversity is simply a descriptive element: a corporate instrument employed in an effort to raise Skidmore's perceived prestige.
In any case, this white man's burden initiative will begin "whenever we get our shit together", wrote one member, who, unauthorized to discuss the program, spoke on condition of anonymity.
A College spokesman remarked, "We're very proud of the College's commitment to diversity and support new initiatives, such as the Outing Club's." The spokesman also astutely pointed out, "diversity and integration are two of Skidmore's most difficult challenges and require hard work and dedication," continuing, "[diversity and integration] certainly can't simply be achieved by writing sententious, satirical pieces in one's pajamas."
It remains to be seen whether this post-colonial endeavor will teach minority students to fish. Most importantly: will these minority students assimilate to the Outing Club culture, becoming as integrated and accessorized as nalgenes on backpacks?
The Outing Club is currently seeking Asian, hapa and mulatto students, in hopes of abating culture shock in this transition period. Students seeking financial aid to cover the cost of equipment can apply for grants through the Cynthia Carroll Opportunity Fund.
Next week: If Pony Club told you to jump off a bridge...