Education Without Boundaries
Since Alexander Crockett's 18th birthday, when he opened his acceptance letter from Goucher College, he has moved states away from his hometown, invested his tireless enthusiasm in a dynamic college community, and became deeply involved in work that will make lasting differences in the lives of others.
Originally from Connecticut, Crockett said he discovered Goucher when his parents were encouraging him to explore colleges far from home. "On paper, as soon as I read about Goucher, I thought 'Wow, this place sounds amazing,'" he said. Positive firsthand accounts of the college from a cousin didn't hurt, nor did its location. "Baltimore was a city that was really fascinating to me," he said.
When Crockett attended an Accepted Students Day at Goucher, he found an unfamiliar man sitting in his seat and chatting with his parents. He scolded the chair-thief only to discover it was Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar. "That's how I met Sandy, and now I'm very close to the president," he laughed. "Just the fact that something like that could happen is something that's very Goucher."
The college's close and welcoming atmosphere is obvious to Crockett. He has been to professors' houses for dinner and has easily became involved in several student groups, from Goucher Democrats to the Social Justice Committee. "I could just feel the positive energy as soon as I stepped on campus ... not only that I was being welcomed, but that everyone wanted me here and actually had faith that I could do things here, and it's yet to disappoint me," he said.
Crockett, in turn, hasn't let the campus community down; he has been an active and engaged part of life on campus and beyond. A political science major focusing on education policy and community outreach, he said Baltimore is a perfect case study in education's triumphs and failures on a large, urban scale. "It's really applicable for what I want to do," he said.
Crockett is working with The Intersection, a nonprofit co-founded by Zeke Berzoff-Cohen '08. The group works with youth, teaching them to advocate for themselves in the community. "It's been really cool to work with a Goucher alumnus who is extremely successful, extremely intelligent, and is willing to work with a student," Crockett said. He believes the experience is helping him learn how to unify disparate groups of people and get things done.
"I had developed a really romantic sense of what I wanted to do to fix the world and help everyone, like a lot of young people do," he said. "When I came here and I really experienced the city, I realized it has so much less to do with me, and it has everything to do with actually organizing people in the community." He's helping plan a forum that will aim to bring together hundreds of residents with elected officials to focus on issues affecting youths.
Crockett cites Goucher's long history of being involved in local social justice work, such as students' involvement in the women's suffrage and civil rights movements. He wants to be a part of keeping that tradition strong. "I think we have the opportunity to be Baltimore's school," he said. "Goucher has the eclectic student interest and passionate students that could make it an ideal candidate to be a big player in Baltimore City."
Crockett, who has an Italian mother and African American father, said he grew up in a smaller, homogenous town, and that Goucher has been the place to really explore his identity and interests. "It's really amazing to be in a place where I can resonate on a different level as a person of color and also as a biracial person," he said. "I can be here and study and have a sense of history and a sense of pride."
He says his parents are always blown away when he tells them about the people he's meeting and the work he is able to do. "It just stresses the fact that Goucher has so many opportunities; it's just taking advantage of them," he said.