Connected to the main building of Morse Hall, the Office of Community and Multicultural Development (CaMD) is dedicated to cultural awareness and intersectional identity. The office hosts affinity spaces, the CaMD research scholarship, and also serves as a popular gathering space for students.
CaMD’s aim, as outlined on Andover’s website, is to “raise awareness and encourage understanding of differences of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, geographical origin, and sexual orientation.” The office has since expanded on this mission. According to a document detailing the history of CaMD shared by Paige Roberts, Director of Archives and Special Collections, the office was founded in 1988.
Upon its creation, CaMD was referred to as the “Minority Office.” The purpose of the office was to offer support for marginalized students at Andover. Among one of the first milestones of the office was its partnership with A Better Chance (ABC) and Afro-Latinx-American Society (AfLatAm) in the 1950s to ’60s. Both ABC and AfLatAm still exist today.
The first Director of CaMD was described as the “Minority Counselor” at the time, reflecting the terminology used in reference to other parts of CaMD. Cathy Royal was the first to step into that role and was active from approximately 1984-1985.
Claire Wang ’26 found the history of the office to be quite recent. She believes that Andover students should acknowledge the social and cultural issues that prompted the creation of CaMD in 1984.
“ wasn’t very long ago, and I feel like even though Andover is put on such a high pedestal, these things are very real, and it’s important to see the flaws of the school at that time,” said Wang.
In the same decade, more support groups began to take shape on campus, such as the New England Afro-Latino Student Alliance (NEALSA). By 1987, students had received an Abbot Grant for a Black and Hispanic study center in Phillips Hall, and in 1993, CaMD moved to its current location in Morse Hall.
Today, CaMD strives to raise awareness in order to improve awareness and inclusion in the community. To do this the office frequently hosts events on campus such as National Coming Out Day, Holi Festival of Colors, Mixed Heritage Awareness Week, and many more. CaMD is also home to many affinity groups such as Black Student Union (BSU), Asian Women Empowerment (AWE), and Alianza Latina.
According to Adaora Mbanefo ’24, there are some common misconceptions about CaMD. She noted one misconception is that some may assume that, due to the nature of many of the clubs and affinity groups under the CaMD umbrella, the office is only for specific racial groups. Mbanefo emphasized that is not the case.
“[The biggest misconception] is that [CaMD] is only for people of color. There’s really a space for everyone. Yes, you can be a straight, cis-hetero, white male, but you can join Intersectional Feminist Forum [IFFo], or AWARE, an anti-racist group. So, I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that there’s no place for you in CaMD, but there’s a place for everyone in CaMD. And even if there’s not a place now, you can make a place for yourself,” said Mbanefo.
Currently, CaMD accounts for a myriad of clubs and affinity spaces, totaling 27 as of 2021. However, not all clubs were created at once. For example, Alianza Latina, an affinity space for Latine students at Andover, began in the 1990s before various points of inactivity and re-establishment. Since restarting in 2017, the affinity space has been active.
Josh Espinoza ’25, a Latino student, reflected on the presence of CaMD in his life at Andover. He feels that CaMD offers a platform for Latine students on campus.
“The celebration of [Latine] people on this campus is important and I feel like over the past few years there’s been more opportunities for [Latine] students to be more vocal. I feel that so far students have had a stronger presence on campus, especially through Alianza and other affinity spaces. I think that CaMD has definitely played a significant role in celebrating different cultures on campus,” said Espinoza.