Institutional News, CAPA

CAPA Turns Orange, in Observance of the Goal of Ending Gun Violence

On the evening of June 1, Bennington College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) will be orange, in observance of the goal of ending gun violence.


“Bennington College applauds all who engage in finding solutions to the most urgent problems of our time, including gun violence,” said President Mariko Silver. “As educators, we seek an end to the violence and the fear of violence that is impeding students’ -- especially K-12 students’ -- ability to learn.”  

The College is joining a national observation. The color orange is a reference to its use in hunting culture, the nation’s heritage of responsible gun ownership, and the value of human life. The request for the College to participate came from an alumna.

CAPA was chosen because its mission is to serve as a catalyst, convener, and creative space for social change, and to help design solutions to the urgent social, political, and environmental problems of our time. In this past term, CAPA faculty, students, and visitors have taken on the contaminant PFOA in the region, forced migration, mass incarceration, the rights of undocumented immigrants, educational opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, and more.

"Everyone has a right to feel safe and free from gun violence,” said CAPA director Susan Sgorbati. “At CAPA and Bennington College, we want to create a world that is free from violence of all kinds. We can create the world we want to live in, but we have to work hard to make it happen."

This past March, Bennington College offered a pop-up course, After Parkland: Gun culture, gun violence, and the shifting politics of gun control. The class focused on Vermont state Senate and House bills on gun control. Students examined the differences between the various bills and discussed the reasons for the disagreements over what was passed, engaging with guests and speakers with multiple different perspectives.

“Our After Parkland popup class brought the questions, debates, and new developments into the classroom,” said state senator, director of public policy programs at CAPA, and faculty member Brian Campion, who taught the class. “This course, like all our pop-ups, help our students learn strategies to take on urgent, complex, and contested issues with rigor.”

“Our role as educators is to help our students enter the world as it is, and remake it as they wish it to be,” said Silver. “There are real problems facing them -- facing us -- but, seeing what the upcoming generation’s appetite and capacity to make change, I am filled with optimism for the future.”