There are not many opportunities at The Claremont Colleges to leave thoughts of schoolwork and extracurriculars behind to instead focus on urgent problems facing the world today. However, this is remedied through Sparkathon, a bi-annual design thinking case competition that provides a unique opportunity to do so. At Sparkathon, students from The Claremont Colleges and other local colleges have the chance to use human-centered design, a process that focuses on ideation and user empathy, to work together to propose solutions to some of these global issues. In the past, Sparkathon has tackled hiring biases that stem from using artificial intelligence, and homelessness. In past years, students have credited Sparkathon with “opening their eyes to human-centered thinking and emphasizing that the most important part of any product is the humans using them.” Sparkathon will allow students to learn more about entrepreneurship, network with a panel of judges from the industry, and most importantly, work in interdisciplinary teams to learn to use design thinking to effectively make a difference. At the end of the competition, all participants will submit a PowerPoint presentation and a two-minute video to submit for judging.
Check out the Sparkathon website (link to: https://www.sparkathon.org/news) to see what issues you can help remedy next! Sparkathon, sponsored by Google and BCG Digital Ventures, and hosted by Pomona Ventures and the Hive, will take place at Edmunds Ballroom on April 6th, 2019. There will be $3,000 worth of prizes, free lunch and dinner, and opportunities to speak with mentors and recruiters from Google and BCG Digital Ventures.
By: The Hive Team
My story at the Hive starts three years ago, the spring semester of my first year at Scripps College. To this day, I can’t remember who or what introduced me to the Hive, but I remember embarking on the journey from the back halls of Toll to Seventh Street purely enticed by curiosity. I had heard through the grapevine that the Hive was a haven for “arts and crafts,” which appealed to a side of me that had been thoroughly ignored since going to college.
The gray shell of the Hive does not do justice to the vibrancy and warmth that is insulated within. Immediately upon walking in, I was enamored by the eclectic furniture, low lighting, roller-carts FULL of different art supplies, and the wooden walls that create a home-y cabin-like feel. It was such a stark contrast to the sterile classrooms that I am used to, the deafening silence of the library, or the populated cafes around campus. The Hive, for a lack of a better term, had its own vibe. It was a space where people did not have to socially perform because this space seemed to be defined by those who inhabited it, and not pre-disposed to any one activity, kind of sociability, or productivity.
I loved that. I could just exist without being asked “what’s wrong” because of my RBF or quietness. I did not feel pressured to have a purpose while at the Hive, nothing needed to be checked off a to-do list, nothing needed to be produced, and I did not have to really know what I was even going to do there BEFORE getting there. The Hive seemed to be a place where I could just be present. All moving parts in my life could slow down and come in focus again. I could pick and choose what I wanted to address in my life, beyond just school, and run with it. The Hive was more than just a place to foster creativity, it was a space that challenged the hyper-competitive, hyper-academic, hyper-hyperness of what it may mean to be a student, here, at The Claremont Colleges.
This is not a reflection to bash the academic and social culture here at The Claremont Colleges. That can be left for each person to reflect on. But the Hive offered something different, and I really appreciated it.
The Hive offered a space for me to take refuge after an especially traumatic event in my life. I no longer felt myself in my dorm room, yet all spaces outside of my room felt too loud and claustrophobic for me to be at ease. The Hive was my getaway. I did my homework here, I did my studying here, I did some of my eating here, I did my healing here. I was able to be as introspective as I wanted to be without having to justify myself. I was able to translate the complicated bodily and emotional reactions into something tangible. I do not know what it was exactly that made me feel safe at the Hive, I am still trying to figure it out. But I’m grateful that I had a space like this to help me when I did not even know what I needed to begin helping myself.
Two and a half years after my first visit to the Hive, and countless restorative visits in the meantime, I am now proud and happy to say, I am a Hive student worker! Being part of a team that invests so much time, energy, and thought into literally every detail of the space is inspiring.
A team motivated by creativity, community, collective action, and friendship. I am so grateful to be a part of conversations that center around how to make a communal space a personalized experience for each guest of the Hive, how the Hive can be a thought leader in today’s evolving socio-political culture, and how human-centered design (HCD) can be integrated into our everyday lives. What I thought was just some “cozy” feeling of the Hive, was actually an intricate process of trial and error rooted in ideas and concepts of HCD! I have developed a deep interest in the study area since.
Working at the Hive has been one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences of my college career. It has taught me that there are ALWAYS things to learn and unlearn. Being a student for 90% of my life has put up so many boundaries to imaginative thinking that I did not even realize until working at the Hive. I was so deathly afraid of trying something new or doing something without SOME sort of direction for fear of getting it wrong. At the Hive, I’ve learned that there is beauty in diving straight into the unknown, that there is no better time to start something new than the present, and that having empathy toward others and yourself is key.
I am so fortunate to have seen and experienced two sides of the Hive. It’s really a special place that has something to offer everyone. Hopefully you’ll stop by sometime if you haven’t already! There are workshops if you need a reason to stop by. There are comfy couches and relaxing nooks if you need a break from the hullabaloo of campus. And there are arts and crafts if you want to switch hats and explore something new (or tap into an old habit).
Whatever your reason, the Hive is here for you and for everyone. And whenever you’re ready, the Hive team is ready to welcome you in!
By Kristine Chang
Pomona College’s Asian American Mentor Program (AAMP) held its very first art show at the Hive on Saturday, November 17th, to explore the nuanced and intersectional experiences of those less visible within the 5C Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) community. The event, organized by AAMP’s Diversity Committee, showcased over 40 original pieces of art from students across the 5Cs.
In order to promote the theme of storytelling and community, the Diversity Committee wanted the art show to be a social, engaging event, in which audience members interacted with the art and each other. Kristine Chang (POM’21), a member of the committee, collaborated with Jivika Rajani, the Design and Creative Processes Associate at the Hive, to plan out the general layout and feel of the art show. The show required new ways to display art—several artists submitted original artwork, specifically requesting that the pieces not be taped or hung, so they would remain in pristine condition, and other art mediums (such as videos and zines) couldn’t be hung. While some art was displayed on walls or white boards, much of the artwork was placed throughout the Hive’s uniquely open space on tables arranged to form islands, creating a casual and immersive environment.
To increase audience engagement, the show featured two student performances. Gabby Lupola (PO’21), Dom Aiu Taber (HMC’21), Maris Kamalu (PO’21), Hope Matsumoto (PZ’21), and Kahale Naehu-Ramos (PO’21) from the Indigenous Peer Music Program (an extension of the Indigenous Peer Mentoring Program) performed traditional island songs. Afterward, Sujay Singh (right, PZ’19) sang solo, with Zayn Singh (left, SC’20) as his guitar accompaniment. According to Sujay, “the event was a platform that allowed a lot of students of color across the 5Cs to share aspects of art that represented their identity. I loved feeling comfortable sharing music and appreciated how open the atmosphere was!”
Interactive stations were set up to encourage audience members to create their own art. Andrew Nguy (PO’19) from Tea Circle Club and Binh Nguyen (PO’22) from the Calligraphy Club hosted tables with tea tasting and calligraphy workshops. Andrew states, “The art show was phenomenal. I really cherished being in such a creative and supportive space with my peers. Aside from quenching parched throats, [Tea Circle] also facilitated friendships and bonding as attendees met over tea in tiny cups.”
A key focus when collecting submissions for the art show was accessibility, as many narratives go untold because of their vulnerable nature. The Diversity Committee wanted every APIA staff member or student on campus to feel safe and comfortable submitting work, so artists had the option to remain anonymous. Approximately one third of the submissions were anonymous—artists either dropped off artwork at the Asian American Resource Center or submitted works through an online form. Since traditional art forms tend to be inaccessible without certain training or supplies, the committee invited artists to submit artwork in any format, including journal entries, origami, and pieces of clothing.
AAMP envisions future art shows and initiatives that bring people together in safe, supportive spaces. By centering on underrepresented voices at The Claremont Colleges, the Diversity Committee hopes to foster equity, empathy, and learning. Ultimately, AAMP aspires to serve APIA students, and the art show is one of various programs that promotes a broader awareness of the nuanced APIA cultural identity on campus and beyond. The sense of openness and creative leadership at the Hive further inspired the committee’s vision for the event. AAMP appreciates the support of the Hive and looks forward to more collaborative events in the future!
The event was co-sponsored by the Chinese Student Association, Asian Pacific Islander Sponsor Program at Harvey Mudd College (APISPAM), Asian Pacific American Mentors (APAM) at Claremont McKenna College, and the Asian American Sponsor Program (AASP) at Scripps College.
The members of AAMP’s Diversity Committee—Camille Sanchez (PO’19), Kristine Chang (PO’21), Jacob Noh (PO’21), Tiffany Chen (PO’21), Cody Pham (PO’21), and Soham Khan (PO’21)—spent almost three months organizing the art show and coordinating with various on-campus organizations for funding and publicity.
Over 150 members of the Claremont community, including several members of the Asian American Resource Center, came to support the performances at the art show.
By The Hive
Former president of Pomona College David Oxtoby recently wrote an article about “The Creative College” and how the Hive provides a space for the “spirit of play, improvisation, storytelling, and sharing time” to thrive at the Claremont Colleges.
How can America’s colleges and universities be redesigned to enhance creative outcomes and educate students to be innovative? In an era where educational “success” has been too connected to standardized tests and the development of narrowly focused skills in preparation for particular jobs, how can we prepare our graduates to respond creatively to the complexities of the modern world? Every individual is capable of creativity, and in every discipline—even in our daily lives—we face choices where we can “break out of the mold” and do something different. These creative actions may be small, but with similar contributions from others, they can lead to real change. In the words of Maya Angelou, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Read more about The Creative College and The Hive at the link below!
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