This project explores the social organization Founding College. Using the interviews of 22 Founding College students I explain the divisions and social boundaries within the college's social landscape. I was able to determine that group affiliation is an important component of a student's identity at Founding College. In terms of social divisions, student interviews reveal a macro social division between the “lightside” and “darkside” sphere of campus. Within each sphere small groups act as microstructures. Social groups at Founding college are categorized as either darkside or lightside activities. Through analysis of interviews with Founding College students it becomes clear that social groups create and maintain boundaries that are rooted in racial and socioeconomic identity. These boundaries led to distinct social experiences for members of different groups. While lightside and darkside was the most prominent division in student interviews, it was largely an aesthetic division, due to the similarities in racial and socioeconomic status on both sides. The most impermeable and isolating boundary is between underrepresented students, such as POC students and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and the rest of the student population. This finding demonstrates the replication of social inequalities within a college campus.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen Ellingson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.