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Doing All She Can, and Then More

Sometimes Muskan Verma (India, UWC Atlantic, Bates College ’21) wonders why she does so much, both on campus and off.

A double major in rhetoric plus film, screen studies and theater, Muskan has been a leading activist at Bates, where she has helped organize demonstrations, sit-ins and lobbying at the offices of Maine’s congressional representatives. She’s been Bates/Lewiston coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, a broad-based effort to combat climate change while creating good new jobs. And she recently joined other students at colleges across the U.S. in starting an initiative called South Asian Students Against Fascism.

“While I still wish I could do more, just doing this helps me sleep at night,” Muskan reflects, adding: “I’m not making myself miserable trying to get things to change all the time. There are inspiring, important things I can find within Bates, especially community engagement.”

She has been a student mentor in two local elementary schools near Bates, an after-school tutor at the Lewiston Public Library, and a volunteer at the local Humane Society. On campus she’s involved with a number of clubs and coalitions, from International Club and the Bollywood club to student theater.

“I’ve always been told to compartmentalize, so my emotions didn’t affect my academics,” Muskan says. “But I’m starting to let myself understand that there will be times when I will have to choose between getting an A, or having a 4.0 GPA, and taking an action, mourn an injustice, or just take a moment to figure out my place in the world.”