March 6, 2014

Changemaker of the Week: Sarah Day Dayon '15

by Swearer Center

Sarah Day Dayon '15 has been a leading force in cultural dialogue on campus as a Minority Peer Counselor, an active member of the Third World Center, a member of Filipino Alliance, and a leader of its female spoken word subgroup Archipelag-a.

Q: What is your involvement in social change and how did it start?
A: My current projects advocate for voice, mentorship, and student activism. For Brown's 250th birthday, I would love to celebrate student voice, which is something that the different students at Brown, in their time here, have fought for and continue to fight for.

This campus has a historical legacy of challenging its students and having students challenge the institution, and I hope to showcase this through a spoken word poetry event with Archipelag-a. As financial organizer for the Women of Color Collective, we're raising funds to establish an informal mentorship series between students and faculty/staff/alumni, so that they are able to see representations of women of color in academia or in the workforce in the fields they wish to pursue. Inspired by the TWC's strategic planning process and Brown's strategic plan, I'm also hoping to do a senior project or thesis on the recent trajectories of the MPC and WPC programs and the TWC and Sarah Doyle Women's Center as campus spaces.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you've faced through your involvement with these issues?
A: I think the most challenging thing about engaging in social justice work is the idea of "trust intent." Trusting the intentions of others is easy to say, but difficult to put in practice. I believe it is the most important thing someone needs to learn if they want to be a vessel for change.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any college student thinking of becoming a "changemaker"? A: "Speak to the past and it shall teach thee," but also question the history you know. The lack of countless narratives in high school textbooks doesn’t discount the significance of those stories. Though I’m originally from Chicago suburbs, I had no indication of the longstanding history of Filipino Americans in the Midwest until coming to Brown. Strive to see beyond a single story, think critically, and above all else, listen.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?
A: Love should be at the heart of everything you do. If you're not doing the work you're doing out of love for yourself and for others, then you shouldn't be doing it.

Q: What's one surprising fact people might not know about you?
A: I still play Neopets. I often find myself regressing back to my childhood obsessions if I need a break from schoolwork.

If you know a Brown student or alum who is making a difference on campus, in Providence, or around the world, nominate them here to see them featured as Changemaker of the Week.