In the Light: Salem Hoffman


Salem Hoffman

Senior Salem Hoffman, from New York City, was deciding between St. Andrews University in Scotland and Colgate. As seen through Hoffman’s diverse involvement on campus, it’s clear that he has made Colgate his home. 

Hoffman originally came to Colgate crazy about international relations but became fascinated with peace and conflict studies when he took an introductory course. Now a peace and conflict studies and psychology concentrator, Hoffman explains that he enjoys the blending of other disciplines, like psychology and geology, into the analysis of peace and conflict studies. 

While at Colgate, Hoffman has kept himself busy. During his first-year, he was involved with the Ultimate Frisbee team. Since then, Hoffman has spent most of his free time,  “messing around in the woods” with Colgate’s Outdoor Education program. He has also worked with the Bystander Intervention

Program as a facilitator and intern. 

“It’s a powerful program driven by Colgate students, for Colgate students, with potential to reach the bulk of the student body, and it’s only just getting started,” Hoffman said. 

Hoffman also spent seven semesters with Yes Means Yes, and speaks highly of the program. 

“You’d be hard pressed to find a program like this anywhere else. My life would have been fundamentally different if this program hadn’t been part of my Colgate life.”

Hoffman’s diverse interests are also evident in how he has chosen to spend his summers. The summer after his first year, he worked at Peace Action New York State, an NGO. The next summer, Hoffman worked with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington D.C. 

“It was a powerful experience with a lot of meaningful work. I was able to see a department that was on the frontlines of adopting Obama’s police reforms,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman spent last summer at the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, a program that evaluates students and graduates for their potential to become Marine officers. 

Salem hopes to spend time after graduation traveling, with Japan at the top of his list. When asked what he will miss about Colgate, Hoffman said that he will miss his friends the most, but does not plan on losing any of his Colgate friendships anytime soon. 

Hoffman’s advice to underclassmen is to not get complacent, to never stop trying new things after your first semester, whether that means signing up for random programs. “However you do it, I’d just tell myself to make the effort to hold onto the people that

mattered,” Hoffman said.