Throughout the three-year strategic planning process, students of color expressed their concerns regarding the Center's original name, The Third World Center (TWC). Students revealed that confusion and misunderstanding of the historical and political roots of "Third World" terminology prevented some students in need of such a center from participating in its programs and accessing its resources.
BCSC Name Change
TWC's History of Student Activism
The BCSC makes concerted efforts to engage the Center's legacy of activism. Programs such as the Resistance Tour (re-enactments of key events in the Center's history when students of color challenged the status quo), Activism Series (workshops highlighting various community organizing principles, tactics, and strategies), Legacy Project (student-led initiatives to preserve and highlight the Center's history), and the archive digitalization project (providing electronic copies of primary sources from BCSC's archives) reflect this commitment to honoring the Center's history.
Third World Consciousness
The Center's original name, Third World Center, was one that galvanized communities of color and transformed the campus. Although the term "Third World" may have negative socioeconomic connotations, alumni of color at Brown used the term in the context originating from the Civil Rights Movement. Frantz Fanon, author of The Wretched of the Earth (1961), urged readers to band together against oppression and colonialism, by pioneering a "Third Way" or an alternative to the ways of the first world (U.S. & Europe) and also the second world (USSR & Eastern Europe). When students at Brown first adopted the term "Third World," they used it in the sense of a cultural model of empowerment and liberation. It was also a term that showed solidarity with global communities of color.
Third World consciousness is still meaningful today. The BCSC will continue to honor the Center's philosophical roots through the Resistance Tour, social justice peer educators program, and expansion of the Third World Transition Program.
Name Change Process
The name change was part of the BCSC's overall strategic planning process. After an extensive self-study and comprehensive external review, a strategic planning committee made up of students, staff, faculty, and alumni was formed to develop a new mission, create a five-year plan, and recommend a new name for the Center to President Paxson. To achieve these objectives, the committee engaged in conversations broadly with the Center's supporters and stakeholders through campus presentations, open space dialogues, a Directors Summit, and Advisory Group.
After developing a new mission statement, the committee completed a benchmark study of peer institutions to gain an understanding of the variety of center names across the country. Then, the committee hosted a community forum and distributed a campus survey to solicit suggestions of new names. After reviewing all this information and garnering widespread support from key constituents, the committee submitted Brown Center for Students of Color to the Corporation Committee on Campus Life for feedback and advice, and to President Paxson for final approval.
Third World Transition Program (TWTP)
Third World Transition Program is aligned with the past name of the Center. The strategic planning committee felt that it was appropriate to keep the name TWTP as a way to honor alumni who played a vital role in the birth and development of the BCSC under its former name.