Beyond the Box
Beyond the Box is a "traveling conference" for student activists attending small liberal arts colleges. The idea for the conference originated in 1996 with a group of Swarthmore students, and in February 1998, they held the first Beyond the Box conference at Swarthmore College. The conference returned to Swarthmore in February, 2006 with the conference theme "Retooling for the Revolution: Dismantling Systems of Inequality on Our Campus, in Our Communities and Across the Nation." The conference theme, workshops, and discussion groups were primarily designed and led by students from Swarthmore and students registered from other colleges attending the conference.
The goal of the first conference was to "bring together people from small liberal arts colleges to talk about issues of diversity and come up with specific plans and ideas. It was designed to be action-oriented, moving beyond just talking."
The name, Beyond the Box, had particular significance for the conference organizers. They were trying to move beyond simply numerical diversity on campus, beyond just getting higher numbers of minorities. The conference was designed to be a place to discuss ideas for increasing institutional support for diversity e.g. increasing the number of faculty of color. In addition, the title Beyond the Box expressed belief that there ware various parts of an individual's identity that cannot be classified simply by putting a check in the standard identification boxes on, for example, admissions forms.
As a "travelling conference," the following institutions have hosted the conference: Wellesley College, Williams College, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, and Barnard College. Past themes have included: Building and Maintaining Diverse Communities on Small Liberal Arts College Campuses in the 21st Century; Redefining Multiculturalism on College Campuses; Community and Diversity: Resolving the Tensions; CommUnity Partnerships: Changing Apathy to Activities; and Identities in Motion.