The Community Builders are a Davis Center-trained, peer-to-peer diversity education group. The DC Community Builders work closely with the DC staff and are part of the Davis Center’s effort to provide education for the campus on issues of identity, power, and privilege in order to build a more inclusive community.
Our Community Builders hold student office hours and are ambassadors for the Davis Center across campus. Stop by Jenness House, or whenever you see them, and say “Hi!”.
Meet our 2017-2018 Community Builders!
Name: Sharai Dottin
Class of: 2018
Why I decided to become a community builder: I wanted to make community builders a more visible and accessible resource for students on campus, especially for those transitioning into sophomore year, which I feel can be the hardest year at Williams to adjust to, and those who may be experience many things in a particular way, at Williams and beyond, due to their marginalized identity.
About me: I’m a history major and Africana studies concentrator from Boston, MA. On campus I’m a part of Sankofa, the Black Student Union, Gospel Choir, and for the past two years I worked as a classroom helper for a kindergarten class at Williamstown Elementary School. I’m a Black feminist, pizza addict, twerkaholic, and lover of all things Parks and Rec and Jane the Virgin. While other people have problems with binge-watching Netflix, I have a serious addiction to binging YouTube videos (vegan recipe videos are my current favorite although no, I’m not a vegan :)).
Come talk to me about: Black feminism, dealing with isolation or microaggressions in the entry, adjusting to Williams as a sophomore, effectively dealing with problematic friends and classmates, stress relief, faith, memes, gender politics, trying to complete the Div. 3 requirement, pizza…literally anything!
Name: Kyle Walker
Class of: 2019
Why I decided to become a community builder: I’ve met some of the coolest people I know on campus through Davis Center programming, and I’m so excited to join their ranks this year! My two years at Williams thus far have taught me so much about social justice; I hope to continue that trend as a community builder and to share the lessons I have learned with other people.
About me: I am from Indianapolis, IN, where I reside with my parents, my four siblings, and my kitty Wesley when I’m not at Williams. I am majoring in economics and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Outside the classroom, I am a JA to the Class of 2019 (in the best entry, Dennett 2!), a member of the Concert and Chamber choirs, and a Classroom Helper at Williamstown Elementary School. My interests include cats, garlic bread, music, Stranger Things, and sunsets.
Come talk to me about: feminism, mental health, navigating Williams as a first-gen and/or low-income student, effortless perfection, entry life, queer theory, bread, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, my cat, places to cry at Williams
Name: Blaine Williams
Class of: 2019.5
Why I decided to become a community builder: The community builder position was actually one of the driving factors behind my decision to come to Williams! Sparking dialogue and conversations about diversity, identity, and social justice is extremely important to me, and I wanted to be able to put these interests to use and contribute to the growth of the Williams community by supporting and being a resource for people on campus.
About me: I’m a Los Angeles native studying Economics and Biology, and I transferred here to Williams for a slight change of scenery after spending my freshman year at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. My passions include sunshine, the Knowles sisters, trashy television (#TGIT!), Instagram, avocado toast, and – of course – combatting systemic inequality.
Come talk to me about: What it’s like to be far away from home, adjusting to Williams College life, mental health, self-care, race and/or sexuality/queerness (and their intersections!), “fitting in” and impostor syndrome, being a good/better ally and friend, science, Gossip Girl, existential dread, pop culture, that new album that dropped last week – anything!
Name: Katie Manning
Class of: 2020
Why I decided to become a community builder: Being a queer, mentally ill, first-generation student from a dysfunctional family, I have stumbled attempting to understand all my identities, their intersections, their influence on my perception in society and on my own wellbeing, and their interaction with the other identities of people whom I talk with. Because of my own struggles I work extra hard to ensure that I can be a support, listener, and ally for anyone and everyone else struggling with identity, society, discrimination, and handling issues that lots of people like to shove under the door. I wanted to be a community builder so I could share my compassion and support with others.
About me: I’m a recently declared Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major with interests also in English, Psychology, Environmental Studies, Africana Studies, Spanish….the list goes on. I’m involved with Speakfree, the Mental Health Committee, and First-Gen activities. I have an emotional support dog named Zoey on campus. I love writing poetry and sometimes fiction, reading, journaling, hanging with my friends and dogs, talking about queerness, gender, mental illness, and privilege. My favorite TV show is LOST and I love chocolate with breakfast. Oh, also, I’m from the Southside suburbs of Chicago.
Come talk to me about: being first-gen, low-income, an ally to friends of color and/or friends of various marginalized identities, queer, non-binary, mentally ill (I’m most knowledgeable on generalized anxiety, social anxiety, ptsd, depression, eating disorders, and substance-linked disorders), a member of a dysfunctional family; how to practice self-care or learn what self-care is; discuss privilege and oppression and how they overlap; learn how to better have conversations about identity, oppression, privilege, and social justice; how to quit clubs; whatever else you want!
Name: Alina Lin
Class of: 2020
Why I decided to become a community builder: Every student here at Williams deserves to feel like a part of a community, and that their voices are heard and their issues acknowledged and taken seriously. The Davis Center endeavors to foster such communities and support, and I’d like to do my best to contribute to that.
About me: I grew up in New Zealand, and lived in Australia for a while while attending Sydney Law School before heading over to Williams College. I’m an Econ and Statistics major.
Come talk to me about: Anything and everything! Sometimes the Purple Bubble can feel lonelier than ever, but just know that there are people all around willing to listen.
Name: Leo Lam Haines
Why I decided to become a community builder: As a queer and trans person of color, I have encountered adversity as a result of misinformation and ignorance. These experiences led me to spend my free time creating safe spaces for marginalized youth in my hometown. I also worked to combat prejudice by educating others on the experiences of people like myself through local organizations that held workshops. I’m a community builder because I want to continue educating and supporting my peers while on campus.
About me: I was born in California but learned how to read and write in Barcelona, Spain, and attended high school in Miami, FL. I am queer and transmasculine, of Chinese and Colombian descent, and have no clue what I’ll be majoring in or doing with my life after graduation.
Come talk to me about: Everything!
Name: Bret Hairston
Class of: 2021
Why I decided to become a community builder: When I was in high school (which was literally two seconds ago) I did a lot of the work that the community builders strive to do, and fell in love with it. As a result, I wanted to continue that work through college. Helping people understand their identity, handle issues regarding their identifiers, and anything in between is incredibly rewarding for me. The Community Builders is just the most logical group for me to a part of to keep on helping people and the community.
About me: I am undecided on a major, but have deep interests in both English and Sociology (although these change the more I explore here). I am involved in Frosh Revue, BSU, and Sisterhood. I believe in intersectional feminism, love Lilo and Stitch, read emphatically, and procrastinate by dancing my nights away. Snar is my newest addiction.
Come talk to me about: Any and everything. I’m completely open to talking about most things within your comfort zone. If I don’t have the information or experience to speak on a topic then I will do everything I can to find the right place for someone to find the information they need. Also, feel free to talk to me about mental health, race, gender, religion, ableism, happiness, your favorite color, or any other topic under the sun.
Name: Sarah Hubert
Class of: 2021
Why I decided to become a community builder: I first encountered community builders when I visited for previews and I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of the work being done through them and the Davis Center. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to an “adult” about identity, social justice, or just plain social struggles you’re facing, so being in a student position like the community builders gives me the chance to be a safe and comforting ear for anyone in need.
About me: I was born and raised in southeast Texas surrounded by cows and injustice and have been looking for a way out for as long as I can remember. I’m the baby of my family with two older brothers but I live with my parents, grandmother, and 6 very grumpy cats. I’m prospectively going to major in Sociology (and maybe something else if it catches my attention) and am currently finding my niche in the Williams community. My interests include binge watching shows in languages I don’t understand, all the TexMex in the world, taking picture of trees, and those cute cookie decorating videos on Instagram.
Come talk to me about: Anything and everything, what it’s like to be 2000 miles away from home, intersectional feminism, missing your pets, how to be a helpful ally, a good show you’re currently watching, body positivity, your favorite band, self-care methods, where to get a good enchilada around here (please, someone come talk to me about this).
Class of: 2021
Why I decided to become a community builder: In my own experience, navigating the often interlocked factors of race, sexuality, and income are difficult. I want to help people understand the issues in any way I can. Being a community builder means that I can help create understanding and empathy, both for people who come from historically marginalized backgrounds (like me,) and people who want to learn to be better friends, allies, teammates, and classmates.
About me: I’m originally from Houston, Texas (where it’s 80 degrees in December.) I’m not sure what I’ll be majoring in, but it will likely involve lengthy Foucault readings. I’m currently in Vista, serve on the board of QSU, and write for the Williams Record. I also love writing poetry, traveling, eating food, talking about politics, drinking coffee, and movie marathons with friends. I love to watch shows like Parks and Recreation, Chewing Gum, and Black Mirror when I’m not working or writing a paper.
Come talk to me about: I’m open to talking about anything, but on a personal level I can talk about being a student of color at Williams, LGBTQIA+ issues, navigating the intersectional aspects of your identity, being first-gen, Netflix shows, homework stress, or if just you need someone to talk to about anything.
Class of: 2021
Why I decided to become a community builder: On a small, secluded campus like this, we often overlook the importance of identity in the formation of ourselves and in our relations with others. When something prompts us to consider those factors, unraveling the complexities of race, gender, sexual identity, religion, age, class, and ability (etc.) seems almost impossible. As a community builder, I’ll have an active role in facilitating these conversations on campus, and, hopefully, helping to create a more cohesive and inclusive Williams.
About me: I’m a QuestBridge Scholar from Hawthorne, CA, a low-income, diverse city in Los Angeles County. I have no idea what I want to major in — and that’s okay! I’m currently the Mills-Dennett Representative on College Council (shoutout to MD-1!) and on the Feminist Collective board. I am also part of the BSU, Sisterhood, and WASO. I was in Frosh Revue 2017, and I work with the Admissions Office as an Admissions Ambassador. In my spare time, I like to sleep, make memes, listen to new music, and have pseudo-intellectual conversations. My favorite TV shows are Stranger Things, Arrested Development, Chewing Gum, and Archer!
Come talk to me about: ANYTHING. I am so serious when I say this. Aspects of identity you’re trying to figure out (whether its race-related, ability-related, class-related, sexual orientation-related, faith-related, age-related, or anything else!), how you’re feeling today, your favorite memes, the unshakable feeling of existential dread — all of it is on the table!