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As the deadline for student applications for the Summer 2019 Public Humanities Collaborative approaches, we decided to catch up with Tiara Desire-Brisard ’19 who was accepted into the program last year. Tiara’s project was split into two distinct parts. One piece included working with Professor Chloe Wheatley of Trinity College’s English Department in the Watkinson library’s rare book archive. One example of Tiara’s research was to look at the outside covers and bindings of a poetry book, for example, and compare the outside with what the author was trying to say on the inside. For the community partner side of her project, Tiara worked with Jana Colacino at the Butler-McCook House & Garden to help expand the museum’s constituency, because traditionally a lot of the people who come to house museums are older white women and it was important to staff to expand the constituency of people who have access to the history and knowledge available at the Butler McCook House. Tiara’s research included running focus groups with people of all ages, from elementary school students working at the Ancient Burial Ground to Trinity College students who donated their time to help run focus groups.

When thinking about what made this humanities program unique, Tiara said that a lot of summer programs offered are focused on science or other topics, whereas the Public Humanities Collaborative was a rare chance to work with archival materials and museums. Tiara also said,

“I definitely engaged more with the community than I had. As an English and Public Policy & Law major, most of my work mainly focuses inside the classroom and more about ideological aspects of the world, so being able to connect in Hartford with different groups of people and learn more about the city’s history definitely was interesting. It was also amazing working at the Watkinson Library because there were so many different books and so much to learn about them, so I was able to learn about the different resources we have at Trinity that you don’t always get a chance to interact with.”

Tiara said upon graduating she hopes to be looking toward law school or working for a social justice center where communicating with different groups of people will be vital.

Student applications for the Summer 2019 Public Humanities Collaborative are due on Tuesday February 19th. Students selected for this program will receive a $3500 stipend plus 10 weeks of free housing at Trinity, and they will work 15 hours/week on faculty scholarship and another 15 hours/week with Hartford community partners pursuing public humanities projects. The PHC is a competitive application process, with preference given to first generation, under-represented, and other students with demonstrated financial need, for whom socio-economic status has prevented them from engaging with summer research opportunities. 

See more information at and contact with any questions.



In the video above, Eleanor Faraguna ’21 teaches the Bantam how to properly compost in Mather Dining Hall. Read more about the history of the composting program from Joe Barber below, and take a look at the Compost, Trash, Recycle graphics as well.

The front of house composting program is a collaboration between Trinity College’s Office of Sustainability, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, and community partners at Blue Earth Compost. Originally we started composting in Spring 2015 where we created a partnership between us (the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement), Chartwells, and KNOX, Inc. where we were taking foods craps from the back of the house twice a week for their compost piles. We did this for about 3 years through Spring 2018, and then students in Green Campus were really advocating to take this to the next level because we knew we had reached capacity.

For three years we were doing this out of our minivan— having people people put bins of food scraps in the minivan twice a week to take over to KNOX. It was something, but it wasn’t enough. We knew we needed to take this to another level in order to make ourselves more sustainable, so we started doing some research. Bailey D’Antonio ‘18 was a driving force on this. She did a bunch of research with Facilities to figure out the costs of dumpster pickups at Chartwells and how much it costs to dump that at the landfill, etc. At the same time, she was doing a cost analysis with Blue Earth Compost to see if we could work together to make a cost sustainable program where we could at least break even. She presented her research to the Sustainability Committee, and then started meetings Blue Earth Compost to talk about what it would take to implement the program. Then, in Fall 2018 Trinity College hired Sustainability Coordinator Rose Rodriguez who stepped in to take the lead on the program. Rose’s first step was starting out with composting for all back of house operations in Fall of 2018, with the intention of doing full back of house and front of house composting by Spring 2019, which is where we are now.

One of the pieces Rose has been working on in the front of the house is educating the Trinity community on how to use the compost bins avoid contamination with non-compostable materials. During the first few weeks of the Spring 2019 semester, Rose, the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement, and student volunteers from Green Campus and beyond worked by the compost bins to instruct people on what to compost and what to trash. Check out the informational materials below and check in with Rose, Joe Barber, or Green Campus if you have any questions.

To learn more about the composting program, see Trinity College’s Office of Sustainability website here, view Trinity College’s Sustainability Instagram Highlight, or contact