My name is Emily Westgate and I am a junior concentrating in Public Health; I also plan to enroll in the 5-year Masters of Public Health program here at Brown. I am from New Bedford, Massachusetts and hold my city dear to my heart. When I have any free time, it is usually spent with my family and friends enjoying our time together or at the beach, if the weather allows for it! So far during my time at Brown, I have been involved in a number of public health groups on campus, but my commitment this year focuses on SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) and $ocial Classmates. Being a part of $ocial Classmates has challenged me reflect on my own class background and to understand how growing up in a lower-middle class single-parent family has influenced my life experiences, views and plans for my future. Coming to Brown has not been without its challenges as my home community is far different from the top of the hill in which Brown is located. With that being said, through my work with $ocial Classmates, I feel a part of the change that needs to happen on campus regarding classism and class identity.
Hello there! My name is Danny Echevarria and I am a sophomore at Brown who hails from Brooklyn, NY. I am a $ocial Classmates facilitator and an MPC friend, so discussions of privilege and marginalization played a very formative role during my first year at Brown. I also manage the men’s varsity basketball team and referee intramural basketball and softball. I am of Latino and Afro-Caribbean descent, a first generation college student, and a Roman Catholic, three varying genres of identity that can all be discussed through the lens of class, which speaks to why it’s my favorite topic, I suppose!
My name is Anamaria Meneses Leon and I am currently a sophomore at Brown University and I am deciding on my concentration. My interests include theatre, visual art and conversations about identity. I love a good spirited debate but I consider myself an introvert. Another contradiction would be that I love to make people laugh as much as I want to be serious and thoughtful. I come from a working class background and am currently working on owning that part of my identity among others. I am interested in fighting my own class biases through $ocial Classmates.
My name is Maria Ugarte. I was born in Peru but I live in New Jersey now with my mom and two brothers. I have a kitten named Archer, who is very playful and I miss during the school year. I work for BuDs I like reading books that interest me, ranging from East of Eden to World War Z and Harry Potter, although I never got into the whole Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones craze. I enjoy movies, my little brother and I are always trying to find one that will truly scare us, and it has yet to happen. I just generally enjoy doing a whole range of things, besides the basics. I believe it is important to discuss social class because it is a growing issue in the United States. I believe it is important to discuss because many people have questions about it or have strong feelings about their own class but are too afraid to speak up because of the lack of discourse on the subject. I enjoy talking about class and listening to others stories and perspectives, while creating a safe space for everyone to discuss in.
Hi I'm Kenya. I am a sophomore planning on concentrating in Psychology, but I'm also pre-med. I live in Northern New Jersey. I enjoy listening to music, hanging out with friends, and watching sports. I volunteer at WBRU in the promo and 360 departments. I think social class is an important part of people's identity that is rarely discussed on campus and $ocial classmates provides a great space to have these discussions.
General Body Members
Hello! My name is Wendy Rogers and I’m a member of the Brown class of 2014, proudly representing Pawtucket, RI. I enjoy baking, playing pickup sports with friends, facebook stalking, road trips, and self-reflection. I believe it is important to discuss issues of social class because I had never heard of someone thinking that class was invisible until I came to Brown. My hometown and Brown exist just a few miles away from each other but, for reasons primarily based on class, are totally different worlds. Coming to college was the first time I had ever been surrounded by a group of people who, everyday, were not necessarily reminded in some capacity how money and status had affected their lives. Because of class dynaics and perceptions of class on campus, I worry that everyday I spend at Brown puts me a step further away from where I came. I should not feel like I have to, implicitly or explicitly, compromise my culture and values for an Ivy League education. Drake may tout the wonders of “starting from the bottom” and gaining wealth and status, but I’m concerned about what is lost on that journey.
Matt is a sophomore concentrating in Development Studies . Matt first became involved with $ocial Classmates during the spring of his freshman year when he joined the workshop as a participant, and he is excited to learn from everyone in his $C group when he is a facilitator in the fall. In his free time you can find Matt on an outdoor adventure or obsessing over his new favorite show on Netflix. Matt thinks the discussions that $ocial Classmates generates are important because issues concerning social class impact every community, whether its Brown, Matt’s South Florida home, or the entire country.
My name is Tino and I am a junior concentrating in biomedical engineering. I am from Zimbabwe, the most beautiful country in southern Africa (yes, I am very biased, but I promise it’s true!). When I am not busy with engineering problem sets, I am a research assistant in the Shukla Lab, a physical sciences tour guide and I’m involved in various engineering groups on campus. I also love art, baking and I am slightly (extremely) obsessed with soccer. In Southern Africa, class and race are still very closely linked, which is why I always viewed my experiences through the frame of my ethnicity (my tribe and race). It was only after I participated in social classmates that I began to reflect on how the other aspects of my identity have informed my experience of class. $ocial Classmates provided a safe space for me to voice my opinions and explore some of the issues that have arisen because of social class disparities in our society. I think that it is very important to have open, constructive discussions about social class because it is an issue that greatly impacts all communities.
My name is MinJung Han and I am a junior studying chemistry and science & society. I am originally from Seoul, South Korea, but I lived in Geneva, Switzerland when I was young. I am interested in research, mental health awareness, movies, poker, and taking MOOCs. I decided to get involved with $ocial Classmates because class is an identity that has such a heavy influence on other identities of a person, in addition to their opportunities and limitations in many cases, yet it is one of the less discussed topics at Brown. I hope people will be more conscious about class issues through $ocial Classmates.
I’m Jessica Steans-Gail, a junior at Brown concentrating in Urban Studies. I moved to Providence from Chicago and I spend my free time marveling at how quaint the houses are in New England. When I am not facilitating $ocial Classmates, I write for BlogDailyHerald and I am also a member of Out of Bounds, Brown's only sketch comedy group.
Hey, I'm Brian. I'm a junior from New York concentrating in American Studies. I'll be a $ocial Classmates facilitator this semester. I'm a straight, Jewish, white, male, and if you want to know how these intersect with my class background, you should probably sign up for $ocial Classmates. Brown is filled with conversations about race, gender, and sexuality, but class conversations are few and far between. If you don't want to talk about class with me, we can be in a play together, or cook, or watch TV or something.