Bashel Lewis ’19 is a trendsetter and a trailblazer. The first in his family to go to college or to apply for a passport, Lewis started a blog called COPE to document his journey at Pitzer College and his travels abroad. Through this online forum, Lewis shares both his fashion sense and his life philosophy.
“Up until college, I felt trapped mentally, emotionally and creatively,” he writes. “Hence, I named the blog COPE because every day we go through things, we change, we struggle, we grow, but most importantly we get through it!”
Four years ago, it was Pitzer’s Core Values—especially Student Engagement and Social Responsibility—that drew Lewis to Claremont from his hometown of Atlanta.
“I was heavily involved in my community back home,” says Lewis, who, in the tenth grade, helped found a nonprofit program dedicated to affordable housing. “I knew that Pitzer, where people love to interact with each other, was a perfect place for me.”
Lewis brought his commitment to community to campus. He’s part of Pitzer’s Black Student Union and its First-Gen Club. A diversity intern with Pitzer’s Office of Admission, he served as a resident assistant for two years and as an office assistant with Career Services. He also took center stage and worked behind the scenes in 5C theater productions at Pomona College.
During his sophomore year, he studied abroad in Birmingham, England, becoming the first member of his family to live outside the US. He started blogging about his time in Europe “to show my mom, my aunts, my baby sister, that this is something you can do.”
Whether online or in person, Lewis embraces the role of mentor. He knows the value of someone investing in your success. During his first year at Pitzer, he encountered professors who took the time not only to clarify academic concepts but to check in with him personally.
“They didn’t just see me as a student, they saw me as an individual transitioning from one phase of life to another,” Lewis said. “I thought that was really beautiful.”
Now in his senior year, Lewis is preparing for his next transition. The organizational studies major plans to go into marketing and brand management and will be working for the Nielsen Company after graduation.
Given all he has accomplished during his college career, it’s surprising to hear Lewis say that Pitzer taught him to “stop and smell the roses.”
“College helped me see that life is a continuing process—you learn, you grow, you cope with things,” he said. “I always look forward to the next lesson.”
This profile first appeared in Pitzer College’s alumni magazine, The Participant. Read the full fall/winter edition online.