The ColleXion is a student organization on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus that emerged within the last year. It focuses on being a source of information and collaboration for students. Though its reputation amongst the student body casts it as strictly an activist group, The ColleXion’s leaders say they hope they’ll be seen as more than that in the coming semesters.
“We’re here to do a lot more than just fight,” Lucciano Thompson, Creative Writing and Literature sophomore and vice president of The ColleXion, says. “The ColleXion isn’t just a fist in the air. We want people to come to us with ideas, come to us with questions, come to us when they need to link up with any other group or person on campus.” While the members and leaders of the group want to creatively come up with solutions for student concerns, this semester they want to introduce a more collaborative aspect as well.
Last year, The ColleXion gained its reputation by holding an open forum as well as a protest on the Quad while perspective students and their families were visiting the campus. The group’s goal was to create an open space for students to voice concerns they felt weren’t being addressed by the administration. Representatives from Black Student Union, Student Life and other campus organizations were present, as well as Santa Fe University’s Interim President Maria Puzziferro. “People who came to our forum, who had been here for years, said it was the first time they’d experienced something like that where members of the student body could just come and express all of the concerns that they had,” Thulani Mason, Contemporary Music Program senior and president of The ColleXion, says.
Because this happened during the earliest stages of The ColleXion’s time as an organization, members say they feel as though students on campus see the group in the wrong light. Thompson says that he doesn’t want the club to be seen as “hot-headed.” The ColleXion is meant to be a last resort for students who have already voiced their concerns with Student Life and administration. “We’re definitely going to advise them to go to Student Life, you know. But then there are situations where 10 or more students are talking about it and most of them went to Student Life and nothing is getting done,” Mason says.
The issues that students have come to The ColleXion meetings with have ranged from sexual and racial discrimination to breaches of privacy. Though the club wants to offer support to everyone, it’s learned how to sift through which issues to take on.
“When we first started, so many students were complaining about things that they absolutely weren’t in the right to complain about. Sometimes you just have to accept that when you’re at a school, a university, a college, there are going to be some rules and regulations that you don’t vibe with,” Thompson says. “At first we were just kind of taking every complaint and wondering how we were going to go at each of them. But then we really had to organize them and realize that one of the biggest, most important things we can do as The ColleXion is not only communicate what the students want from administration, but also communicate what administration requires from students.”
Mason says he wants The ColleXion to be a source of information in other ways as well. He wants to be able to inform students about organizations and other aspects of Student Life that they might not be aware of. “I want to be here to tell [students] how great these groups are, and about how great our group is too,” Mason says. The club hopes to collaborate with other groups on campus as it continues to grow. Mason, who is also a member of the Black Student Union, has already sat in on a Feminist Collective meeting and has been in contact with Student Voice.
In addition to addressing student concerns and spreading information, The ColleXion also wants to act as a place for collaboration. “We’re looking to work as a collaborative unit with the students, we want to help students connect across this campus. Like if a film student needs a creative writing student for a project, for example,” Thompson says. “I’ve seen the work that students produce when they work together. I’ve seen how students can struggle when they don’t work together and they don’t have the help that they need. So, just for the sake of art and for the sake of ourselves, I think The ColleXion has a place here.”
Membership is open to all students, and leaders are always willing to listen to your concerns.
The ColleXion meets every other Friday in Benildus 209 from 7 to 9 p.m.