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Community Learning

Last week, we caught up with Kaytlin Ernske ‘20, Sophia Lopez ‘22, and Professor Alexander Manevitz (pictured above) to talk with them about their Public Humanities Collaborative project. The student researchers are assisting Professor Manevitz this summer as he continues to study Seneca Village for his current book manuscript, The Rise and Fall of Seneca Village: Remaking Race and Space in Nineteenth-Century New York City. Seneca Village was a predominantly African American community in New York City during the antebellum period. The neighborhood was a growing free black community with strong social ties, schools, markets, and churches where residents were establishing themselves by buying property and making a sustainable community. Then, the City of New York destroyed that community to build Central Park. This summer, Kaytlin and Sophia have been working to piece together forgotten pieces of the neighborhood and highlight the voices of marginalized New Yorkers that have been lost in the archives. 

Kaytlin and Sophia’s work this summer focuses on using public records to make meaning of what Seneca Village was before its destruction when all the residents were forced by the City to sell their property. They have spent hours transcribing and tagging primary source documents property deeds, petitions, school records, church records, and more. Now, they are beginning to use digital tools to organize these documents and attach meaning and social networks to Seneca Villagers.

Professor Alex Manevitz said the meaning making part of their research are critical to the focus of his book. Much of what exists about Seneca Village in archival records is just small fragments of official documentation such as tax records or census records.

So much of what we know about Seneca Village in terms of what survives in the archival record…. Because they’re poor or middle class, because they’re Black, because they’re on the outskirts of the City, there’s very little of what they produce that survives in the archives beyond 150+ years. But once the City comes knocking and wants to build Central Park, then they’re in the public record… So a big part of this is–How do we get to social lives of these people through these official documents that often seem like soulless data points? How do we tell people’s stories and learn about people’s lives through that? – Professor Alex Manevitz

The meaning making and the social network mapping that the students are doing is work that has never been done about Seneca Village before. In general, information about Seneca Village is hard to find, and what’s easiest to find is extremely negative. Readily available information consists mostly of propaganda pieces that equate residents of Seneca Villagers to garbage, animals, the swamps they live near and more– which was used to justify displacing the entire community.

“I thought it was powerful to see people who for a long time have been disenfranchised and pushed to the edges of society to tell their own stories. Despite that they had to go through a legal process and it’s in these official documents, it actually showed the power of people fighting for themselves — and most people didn’t have attorneys to [write petitions] for them, so when they wrote their documents they were writing about their stories and their needs and refusing to be ignored. – Kaytlin Ernske ’20

Kaytlin, Sophia, and Professor Manevitz explore using data visualization tools to show the social networks of Seneca Village residents

One of the themes woven throughout Kaytlin and Sophia’s work in PHC this summer is considering how histories of discriminatory housing policies inform current day and the future. Throughout the summer, students in PHC have been learning about the different functions of public humanities projects– projects that aim to take specialist or academic knowledge and make it accessible to the general public. In this case, a public humanities project that brings life to the experiences of Seneca Villagers aligns with so much of what we see today. Kaytlin and Sophia both noticed parallels between the destruction of Seneca Village and current urban renewal projects.

I think it’s very important to note how the stories we’re discovering are relevant today. In our time at CT Fair Housing we’re studying urban renewal in Willimantic and we’ve been learning about urban renewal projects in the past and they’re very similar to this, (what happened in Seneca Village). You see marginalized communities being displaced and a city being built, and a huge question that comes up during our work with them is who is the city being built for? That’s still very relevant today and we’re seeing the connections between this and what’s happening in Hartford.” -Sophia Lopez ’22

For the community partner component of their project, they have been working with CT Fair Housing Center to study urban renewal in Willimantic and create a digital tour. They have been making connections between the destruction of Seneca Village, urban renewal in Willimantic in the 1970s, and current day urban renewal in Hartford and the way marginalized populations have been and are being affected. 

Overall, Kaytlin and Sophia have said this summer program has provided them an opportunity to do intensive research

they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.

“I think I’ve gained independence as a researcher. Before it was papers where it was like get the research done quickly and in by the paper’s due date. But now I have more time and I have a mentor who is able to show me what real effective research looks like.” – Kaytlin Ernske ’20

 

This project is a lot bigger than anything I’ve worked on before. When I’m writing a paper for school my information doesn’t really go beyond articles I can find with Google Scholar, but this is an introduction to new types of sources, concept mapping and piecing together information. It’s a completely new approach. I’ve never experienced anything like this.” – Sophia Lopez ’22

Although the Public Humanities Collaborative summer program is just 10 weeks long, Professor Manevitz says the work Kaytlin and Sophia have been doing this summer contributes to a much longer lasting project. He hopes to continue working on the book manuscript, publish, and ensure that all the information is public. The goal is to have the databases Sophia and Kaytlin are working on online so that researchers and the general public can see the stories of real people who lived in Seneca Village– as a counternarrative to the easily accessible negative propaganda that is accessible now. These databases will be an invaluable resource for future researchers.

 


The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) is a summer research opportunity that brings together students, faculty, and individuals and organizations in Hartford to work on public humanities: the study of how people interpret stories of our human experience. PHC is a component of Trinity College’s Summer Research Program funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, funds 16 students per summer. To learn more, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/phc or contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

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Community Learning, News, Urban Ed

On Thursday, June 27, over thirty Trinity students and staff, HMTCA and other local public school teachers, and community partners gathered at the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research to learn about how they can use oral histories to create social change in their communities. We were led by guest facilitator Fanny Julissa García, a Honduran American oral historian contributing work to Central American Studies with a focus on applied oral history and social justice. Fanny explains, “Oral history is about meeting people where they’re at and allowing them to tell their stories.”

Oral history projects can be a daunting task if you’ve never done one before (or even if you have!). To introduce participants to the challenge, Fanny passed out an example of one of her first projects titled “Show Me Your Hands,” where she collected and archived life histories of Central American refugee women detained in the United States. Fanny said,

“I documented these stories with photos of women’s hands, and I took these photos using my iPhone. You don’t need fancy equipment to begin a project like this and there are simple ways to maintain anonymity. I also decided to present these in a booklet rather than have them sit in a library somewhere because I knew my participants would never walk into a huge library and ask to see their oral history. I needed to make sure it was truly accessible.”

Participants described a range of oral history projects they are interested in or already working on, including: telling the stories of black elders and sharing those within a family, working with young people in a classroom setting and allowing freedom of expression, imagining and understanding Hartford and Willimantic neighborhoods before urban renewal and displacement, destigmatizing abortion, and more. These projects from students, faculty, community partners, community organizers, teachers, and local artists encompass family storytelling, school work, academic research, grant-funded projects, and community organizing strategies. We were especially happy to see students and community partners in the Public Humanities Collaborative attend and discuss their projects. Our interests shaped the events of the day, forming the foundation of how and what Fanny taught us about oral histories. 

Rose Reyes, Willimantic Councilwoman ; Kaytlin Ernske ’20 and Sophia Lopez ’22, Public Humanities Collaborative students; Arvia Walker, Political Organizer; and Jasmin Agosto, Community Partner at Hartford History Center.

One of the first key points Fanny discussed was the importance of staying true to the “heart” of your oral history goals. She asked participants to write down their overarching social justice goal for their projects and share them with a partner. She encouraged us to always be asking–“What is my intent? Where is the heart of this for me?”–as we continued on through our projects, allowing the heart of our goals to lead the project. 

Throughout our time together, participants asked deep, insightful questions about how to collect and share stories ethically. How do you address the complexities of big, hard issues like immigration in a single interview? How do we minimize the possibility of re-traumatization during interviews? What does ethical storytelling and story collecting look like, especially when end products might look the same in spite of different collection processes? Fanny shared her expertise as someone who has waded through these kinds of questions throughout her work. In particular, she talked about how important an ethical process of co-creation is for oral history collection, especially in consent processes (see resources below). Fanny also gave participants the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with each other’s work through small group workshops of each other’s projects. All participants were willing to dig in and sift through the complexities of these projects and the difficult questions that come up in this work. 

Toward the end of the day, Fanny encouraged everyone to think about the future of their projects. She explained, 

“Oral history should not end at collecting and archiving. How do we engage a specific community and the general public with these stories? Why do these stories matter for generations to come? How can they be used to educate futures?”

When we are using oral history storytelling for the express purpose of creating social change, we must think beyond the archive. Stories kept in a box in a library or even in a public database can’t do the work of creating change. Changemaking requires that we build in plans for sharing stories within our current communities and the general public as well as how they can be shared as histories with future generations. 

To close the workshop, Fanny reminded us of the importance of what we had done together and who we are in community with each other. Toward that end, she recreated an exercise by Adrienne Maree Brown, New York social activist and educator and author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. Through this exercise, we left grounded in our shared stakes in the movements for social change and the power of co-creation. 

Thank you to Fanny Julissa García for her time and thoughtfulness in creating and offering this workshop for us!


If you would like Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change to visit your group, organization, community center and/or class for a workshop on the use of oral history for social change, please send an email to fanny@oralhistoryforsocialchange.org. Please also check Groundswell’s website at www.oralhistoryforsocialchange.org for updates on upcoming online classes and resources!

For some basics on how to get started with oral history and engage participants ethically:

Oral History Association: Principles and Best Practices

Sample Informed Consent Form

Example Projects:

Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018

Forced Trajectory Project, a multimedia project using oral history to document the longterm effect of police brutality on families and communities

Unfinished Sentences: A Collaboration to Preserve the Historical Memory of El Salvador’s Civil War 

 

 

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Community Service

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College congratulates Beatrice Alicea on her promotion to Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement, effective July 1st, 2019. Beatrice initially began working at Trinity in January 2017 as the Program Manager for the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program (JZ-AMP), in collaboration with Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy. In her new role as Assistant Director, she will spend half of her time training Trinity students to plan and operate youth mentoring programs, and the other half on student leadership development for community engagement programs. Each year, about 25 percent of matriculated Trinity undergraduates participate in student-led co-curricular programs through the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. 

Beatrice grew up in Hartford and East Hartford, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Joseph, and her Master’s of Social Work (with a concentration in Community Organizing) from the University of Connecticut in Hartford. Prior to Trinity, she worked with a range of other organizations in the city, including the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Compass Youth Collaborative.

“I strongly identify as a Latina and I am a first generation college graduate,” she explained in a recent CHER newsletter. “I take pride in these identifiers because it has shaped who I am, and has allowed me to connect with the students I’ve worked with in the Hartford school system.”

“For the past two and a half years, Beatrice has been an able and competent leader of J-Z AMP,” said Joe Barber, Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement. “Therefore, we are quite pleased that she has chosen to take on this new role. By applying the fuller range of her considerable knowledge, skills, and talents, Beatrice will play an important role in strengthening and growing a number of Trinity’s ongoing community engagement efforts.”

CHER Director Jack Dougherty added that “we look forward to the ideas, energy, and initiative that Beatrice brings to our community engagement team.” Contact information for all members of the CHER staff is available at http://cher.trincoll.edu/contact

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CHER News

Leer en español

Trinity’s Public Humanities Collaborative Announces Teams for Summer 2019

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of Trinity’s Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, brings together students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. From the large pool of applications, PHC selected sixteen students to work on eight faculty and eight public humanities projects. Each PHC team includes a Hartford-area humanities partner (such as a museum, library, cultural institution, or related organization), a Trinity College faculty fellow, and 2-4 student researchers. View the full list of Summer 2019 teams on our blog.


Community Learning in Hartford: End of Semester Wrap-Up

Each semester we offer Community Learning courses where students work with community partners in mutually beneficial relationships on a variety of projects. Take a look at some of the highlights:


Liberal Arts Action Lab Announces Fall 2019 Projects

After 13 proposals were submitted by Hartford community partners, the Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed four teams of Capital Community College and Trinity College students to work on research projects in Fall 2019.

  • Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) asked, “What is the prevalence of small multi-family properties in targeted Hartford neighborhoods that are owned by absentee landlords?”
  • Active City asked, “What is the participation in formal and informal recreation and youth sports in Hartford and how can we increase participation in organized youth sports?
  • Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness asked, “How can we update our curriculum and improve outreach to schools about the estimate 5,000 youth who are experiencing homelessness in the state?”
  • Lilly Sin Barreras asked for retrospective research, “What went well and what went wrong during the relocation of refugees to Hartford after Hurricane Maria

Trinfo.Café Launches Student Leadership Initiative

The Spring 2019 semester was busy at Trinfo Café! Program Manager Ari Basche and Director Carlos Espinosa have been committed to moving Trinfo into being a broader use community space and decided to launch a new Student Leadership Initiative for Spring 2019. In addition to the students’ general duties for teaching computer literacy classes to adults and youth and staffing the facility, Ari and Carlos challenged the 15 student workers to take the lead on planning accessible and relevant community events at Trinfo.Café. Take a look at our recap of the semester on our blog.


HMTCA-Trinity College Partnership Welcomes Martina McCrory as New Summer Science Program Director

Every year, Trinity College hosts the HMTCA 10th grade Summer Science Academy. This year, we are excited to welcome Martina “Doc” McCrory who will lead as the Director of Science Education for Summer Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates program, which will run from June 3rd- July 19th. Read more about Dr. McCrory on our blog.


Trinity Alumna and HMTCA Teacher Zuleyka Shaw is A Finalist for Teacher of the Year at the Hartford Public Schools

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research congratulates HMTCA Teacher and Trinity alumna Zuleyka Shaw ’06 who is one of three finalists from a pool of more than 40 teachers for the Hartford Public Schools Teacher of the Year honor. According to the Hartford Public Schools, a teacher of the year must be tenured and “must exhibit exemplary teaching skills, show commitment to the belief that all children can learn and must be active in community and humanitarian efforts.” Read more about Zuleyka on our blog.


CHER Reports: Measuring Community Engagement
in Hartford

In 2016, Trinity College adopted a new mission statement that emphasizes three words: Engage, Connect, and Transform. But exactly who engages with communities outside of Trinity’s gates? Are these participation rates representative of the college demographics at large? Take a look at our most recent community engagement report and our Carnegie Application to learn more.


CHER Director: Jack Dougherty
CHER Communications & Data Assistant: Erica Crowley
Community Learning Director: Megan Faver Hartline
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
   JZ-Academic Mentoring Program Coordinator: Beatrice Alicea
Liberal Arts Action Lab Director: Megan Brown
   Communications and Program Assistant: Morgan Finn
Trinfo.Cafe and Office of Community Relations Director: Carlos Espinosa
   Program Manager: Arianna Basche
Urban Educational Initiatives Director: Robert Cotto Jr.

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Trinfo.Café

When we think of Trinfo Cafe, we’re usually thinking of a computer space just off campus at 1300 Broad Street, but the Spring 2019 semester has marked the beginning of Trinfo’s evolution– Program Manager Ari Basche and Director Carlos Espinosa have been committed to moving Trinfo into being a broader use community space. As part of that commitment, they decided to launch a new student leadership initiative for Spring 2019. In addition to the students’ general duties for teaching computer literacy classes to adults and youth and staffing the facility, Ari and Carlos challenged the 15 student workers to take the lead on planning accessible and relevant community events at Trinfo.Café.      

“We would challenge the students to think: how can you make the program universal and accessible? We wanted them to think outside of their own experience– about how the event would be relevant not only to their immediate perspective as a Trinity student but could be also be useful and interesting to people in the community.” – Ari Basche, Trinfo.Café Program Manger

This student leadership initiative builds off a number of successful events hosted by student-community groups such as M.O.C.A. (Men of Color Alliance) and Hartford Iron Poets (#ICYMI check out this recap October’s Open Mic Night hosted by Hartford Iron Poets at Trinfo). Throughout the semester there were 8 student-led events.

Bea Dresser ’22 and Mary Meza ’22 leading a community garden meeting and composting workshop.
Professor Sergio Pint-Handler was invited by Silvia Nunez and La Voz Latina to host the discussion called “Café Con Leche: Crisis in Venezuela.”

The students were also encouraged to think about other student groups or classes they have been a part of that may be of interest to the community. The Paint Night and Cafe Con Leche were both examples of professors coming and sharing their knowledge with students and community members at Trinfo. For example, Mariana Perez and Cody Maldonado approached Professor Joseph Byrne in Studio Arts to help run the Community Paint Night and La Voz Latina reached out to Professor Sergio Pinto-Handler to lead the Crisis in Venezuela discussion. 

Imani: Trinity’s Black Student Union hosting a discussion at Trinfo about the relationship between Trinity College and Hartford.

Some of the student led events have planted the seed for future collaborations between CHER programs and other departments on campus or in the community. For example, Carla Concha and Caitlyn Linehan’s resume workshop grew out of their experience as student workers in both the Office of Student Success & Career Development and at Trinfo Cafe, which has led to conversations between departments about how to provide career skill building to the both Trinity community and Hartford residents. Another event that led to ideas for the future was Trivia Night. Carlos and Ari noticed that one of the community members who came to the event was receiving some help from a Trinity student on translating the trivia questions into Spanish which sparked the idea of offering a Bilingual Trivia Night in the Fall semester.

Overall, Ari and Carlos said they were so impressed with the leadership students showed them and the preparation and planning they put into each event. We’re looking forward to the lineup of Fall events!


To learn more about Trinfo Café visit trinfocafe.org or drop in at 1300 Broad Street, Hartford, CT.

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Community Service

For the Community Learning component of our Educ 350: Teaching and Learning seminar in Spring 2019, we guided nine Trinity students on designing and leading math and science workshops for 4th thru 8th grade students in Hartford schools. Trinity students created web portfolios of their workshops, featuring inquiry-based curricular materials, video clips of classroom learning, and their personal reflections on what worked and what they would revise for next time. Thanks to the teachers and coordinators who generously welcomed our Trinity students into their classrooms: Kristen Crawford (math teacher at ELAMS elementary school), Amy Dougan (science teacher at McDonough Middle School), Adam Smith (math teacher at Environmental Science Magnet School), and Beatrice Alicea (program manager at the J-Z Academic Mentoring Program with Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy).

Joseph and Allie teaching
Joseph Orosco ‘19 and Allie Reifler ‘21 with McDonough Middle School students.

Joseph Orosco ‘19 and Allie Reifler ‘21 built connections between food webs, population ecology, and biodiversity for Ms. Amy Dougan’s 7th grade science class at McDonough Middle School. See Joseph’s web portfolio for his lesson that drew parallels between population ecology and computer games that require users to manage scarce resources. See Allie’s web portfolio for her lesson that made biodiversity networks in the faraway Galapagos Islands more tangible by using yarn to “string” together students to represent interdependent relationships between different species.

Lexi Julia and Todd teaching
Lexi Zanger ‘19, Julia Burdulis ‘21, and Todd Kawahara ‘22 with Environmental Science Magnet students.

Lexi Zanger ‘19, Julia Burdulis ‘21, and Todd Kawahara ‘22 invented geometry lessons for Mr. Adam Smith’s 6th grade math class at Environmental Science Magnet at Mary Hooker School. See Lexi’s web portfolio for her lesson on measuring surface area to “prank” Mr. Smith and cover his desk in wrapping paper. See Julia’s web portfolio for her lesson on calculating the area of triangles and parallelograms for students to create their own imaginary zoos. See Todd’s web portfolio for his lesson on estimating the volume of the Traveler’s Tower in downtown Hartford.

Anne and Jess teaching
Anne Valbrune ‘21 and Jess Semblante ‘21 with ELAMS students.

Anne Valbrune ‘21 and Jess Semblante ‘21 paired up to lead a series of math workshops for Ms. Kristen Crawford’s 4th grade class at the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS). See Anne’s web portfolio for her lesson on representing fractions and decimals in numerical and pictorial formats (which led students to debate whether 0.8 and 0.80 were the same or different). See Jess’s web portfolio for her lesson about acute/obtuse angles, shapes, and symmetry across three hands-on learning stations.

Rafael and Gisselle teaching
Rafael Villa ’21 and Gisselle Hernandez ’22 with JZ-AMP students at HMTCA.

Rafael Villa ‘21 and Gisselle Hernandez ‘22 created math and science workshops for the JZ-Academic Mentoring Program with 8th grade students from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, led by Beatrice Alicea. See Rafael’s web portfolio for their lesson about designing water rockets, which asked students to build different fins and nosecones to test how these variables affected the height reached by their rockets. See Gisselle’s web portfolio for their math and art lesson that taught concepts of rotation and translation to create tessellations.

Learn more about this Community Learning experience from the instructor’s perspective on Jack Dougherty’s personal site.

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Urban Ed

Every year, Trinity College hosts the HMTCA 10th grade Summer Science Academy. Funded by a National Science Foundation grant (NSF-TEU), the program features a national group of undergraduate students majoring in science as teachers for the HMTCA classes.

This year, the summer program will feature a veteran teacher in a new role. Previously serving as an HMTCA science teacher and summer mentor, Martina “Doc” McCrory, Ph.D., will lead as the Director of Science Education for Summer Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates Program, which will run from June 3rd to July 19th.

In this new role, Dr. McCrory will teach the science pedagogy course and will be the direct supervisor for undergraduate interns and mentor teachers for the NSF-TEU and HMTCA science program. Her knowledge about science, teaching skills, and enthusiasm is a major addition to the HMTCA and NSF/TEU summer science summer program at Trinity.

Bio: Martina “Doc” McCrory, Ph.D.

Dr. Martina McCrory is a seventeen-year veteran science teacher who began teaching in the New Haven Public School System in 2002. Prior to her tenure as a secondary educator, she taught collegiate level chemistry and participated in academic research at Dillard University and Spelman College.  She is currently a teacher at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, where she teaches Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Early College Experience (ECE) Chemistry.  Martina is the Junior Class advisor and has served as National Honor Society Committee Member and as mentor teacher. Martina earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Physical Organic Chemistry from The University of Mississippi, and has a Sixth-Year Degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. She is an active member of her church family in which she teaches the Pre-K classes and serves on the Youth, Marriage, and Media ministries.  Martina was also honored in 2010 when she was named the Early College Academy of Columbus Teacher of the Year.

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Urban Ed

HMTCA Teacher and Trinity alumna Zuleyka Shaw ’06 is a finalist for the Hartford Public Schools Teacher of the Year honor. She is one of three finalists from a pool of more than 40 teachers of the year nominated by each individual school in Hartford.

As a tenured science teacher at HMTCA, Zuleyka has been also involved with the restorative justice program and a number of other schoolwide programs. She has also had a role in the NSF-TEU summer science program at Trinity College. (See biography below for more about Zuleyka.)

According to the Hartford Public Schools, a teacher of the year must be tenured and “must exhibit exemplary teaching skills, show commitment to the belief that all children can learn and must be active in community and humanitarian efforts.” As one of three finalists, Zuleyka recently had a lesson recorded and she submitted written response to the finalist selection committee.

On May 23rd, the Hartford Public Schools will host a banquet in honor of all teachers of the year for each school in the district. And the winner of the teacher of the year competition will be announced as well.


Bio: Zuleyka Shaw, Trinity ‘06

Zuleyka Morales Shaw was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and grew up in New Britain.  Ms. Shaw received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Trinity College and continued her studies at The University of Connecticut where she received a Masters degree in curriculum and instruction.  Ms. Shaw was inspired to become an educator after working as a tutor in an adult education program at a local college.

Ms. Shaw has been teaching in Hartford for 10 years and she has spent the last 5 years teaching 8th grade science at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy where she serves as team leader.  Ms. Shaw is passionate about social justice and empowering students.  She has worked with students including the Gay Straight Alliance and the Restorative Justice group to facilitate programming that improves the culture and climate of the school community. During her time at HMTCA, Ms. Shaw has also facilitated professional development sessions on the topics such as differentiation and restorative practices.

Ms. Shaw enjoys planning experiential learning opportunities through field trips.  Her students have had the opportunity to visit the Freedom Trail in Boston, the Springfield Museums, and a weeklong trip to Washington DC.

Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time in nature, taking walks with her family, and traveling.  Ms. Shaw lives in Newington with her husband and 2 daughters.

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Community Learning

This semester a team of Community Action Gateway students Karolina Barrientos ’22, Olivia Louthen ’22, and Coleman McJessy ’22 partnered with Health Equity Solutions, an advocacy organization that promotes policies, programs, and practices that result in equitable health care access, delivery and outcomes to ensure every Connecticut resident can attain optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

Healthy Equity Solutions does a combination of grassroots and grasstops organizing including advocating for statewide legislation related to health equity. This Spring, the students focused on reproductive healthcare access as a component of larger health inequities, especially in the way that disparities disproportionately impact Black mothers and babies. A reproductive health policy  that HES identified to support their mission was S.B. 1078 An Act Concerning Doula Coverage Under the Medicaid Program.

To simultaneously expand their knowledge on reproductive health and to support the organization’s advocacy efforts, students wrote a white paper about the bill…

Download (PDF, 143KB)

Created a one-pager highlighting the benefits of covering doula care– to be used for lobbying legislators…

Download (PDF, 103KB)

AND produced a trifold brochure for Health Equity Solutions to use when conducting workshops and engaging community members.

Throughout the semester, students were exposed to the various layers that come with insurance law, healthcare access, and the very specific issues related to reproductive healthcare. When reflecting on their project during their final presentations on campus, the students discussed some of the background readings and films they had watched to learn more about reproductive health in the United States and how disparities especially impact women of color living in low-income and/or historically medically underserved areas like Hartford. When talking with presentation guests, they were able to connect specific stories they had read about or heard about to the policy they were working on with their partner.

When it comes to protecting and expanding access to reproductive healthcare, advocacy organizations in Connecticut like Health Equity Solutions are setting examples for states around the country. Congratulations to the students for providing well-researched and effective tools to their community partner during a fast paced legislative session.


In the Community Action Gateway, first-year students learn how to create community change with community activists, neighborhood organizers, government leaders, non-profit directors, journalists, and social entrepreneurs in Hartford. If you have questions about the Gateway, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

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Community Service

What does it take to win an issue campaign in the Connecticut State legislature? This semester, a team of Community Action Gateway students (Sophia Lopez ’22, Richard Perry III ’22, Leah Swope ’22, and Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ’22) partnered with Blue Ribbon Strategies and the Unlock the Vote Campaign to support S.B. 25 An Act Restoring Electoral Privileges to Felony Convicts Who Are Currently on Parole.

Their project consisted of three parts:

  1. Researching criminal disenfranchisement laws in key states around the country
  2. Creating infographics for lobbying efforts and attending public hearings and press conferences at the State Capitol
  3. Garnering grassroots support for the bill in Hartford through conducting and transcribing interviews.

In their policy research, students found that it is estimated that about 6 million Americans are barred from voting because of felony disenfranchisement laws— but Connecticut is one of a handful of states with legislation pending to change that.

 

The team created an infographic (pictured below) about S.B. 25 that was used when lobbying legislators. Students worked in the classroom to think about communications projects related to legislative advocacy— Who’s the audience? What are the tested messages, phrases, or buzzwords community partners are using? What action do we want the legislators to take, and is that clear in our content?

Two of the messages that students identified were important to their community partners were 1) felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact Black Americans (coming from a long history of disenfranchisement laws that have their roots in the Jim Crow South) and 2) New England is the only state that currently disenfranchises parolees. 

For the final component of the project, students conducted and transcribed interviews with Hartford residents as well as Trinity College students on their thoughts regarding felony disenfranchisement. Throughout the semester, students were able to get first hand experience inside the Legislative Office Building and the State Capitol with their community partners to experience the policy research, media strategy, public testimony, lobbying, and communications components that are necessary to run an issue campaign like this. Additionally, they were able to provide their community partners with an immediately useful infographic as a tool for pushing the bill forward and creating social change. Congratulations to partners at Blue Ribbon Strategies on your work this legislative session and we hope to see this bill get across the finish line!


In the Community Action Gateway, first-year students learn how to create community change with community activists, neighborhood organizers, government leaders, non-profit directors, journalists, and social entrepreneurs in Hartford. If you have questions about the Gateway, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

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CHER News

In April 2019, Trinity College submitted our 2020 application for Community Engagement Classification to the Carnegie Foundation. This self-study report examines whether community engagement is sufficiently institutionalized, and documents our current processes, measurable outcomes, and overall impact. Read more about the Carnegie Classification application process at https://www.brown.edu/swearer/carnegie.

Professors Jim Trostle and Jack Dougherty co-authored Trinity’s application, with the assistance of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER), institutional research staff, Dean of Faculty Tim Cresswell, and many others at Trinity. We will learn if our application was accepted in December 2019.

We have made the full text of our 69-page application publicly available on the CHER website to make community engagement more transparent for the Trinity community and our Hartford partners.

Jack Dougherty
Director of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER)
Trinity College, Hartford CT
http://cher.trincoll.edu

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Community Learning

In 2016, Trinity College adopted a new mission statement that emphasizes three words: Engage, Connect, and Transform. But exactly who engages with communities outside of Trinity’s gates, and are these participation rates representative of the college demographics at large? In late spring 2018, the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) was created to strengthen educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and students, staff, and faculty at Trinity College, and to evaluate campus-city relationships. This report focuses on faculty and student participation rates in CHER programs: primarily Community Learning courses, and secondly, co-curricular activities sponsored by the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, and Trinfo Cafe. Key findings include:

  • Faculty offered around 20-25 Community Learning courses, with total enrollments ranging around 280-440, each semester during academic years 2015-19.
  • 22 out of 32 (or 69%) of academic departments and programs in which students can major at Trinity College have offered Community Learning courses during academic years 2015-19.
  • About 18 percent of full-time faculty taught one or more Community Learning courses during academic years 2015-19. But participation varied by gender, with about 23 percent of female faculty versus 13 percent of male faculty, though this pattern fluctuated by faculty status.
  • About 62 percent of traditional undergraduates in the Class of 2018 completed at least 1 Community Learning course during a typical four-year period of study at Trinity. Furthermore, 25 percent completed 2 or more CL courses, and 11 percent completed 3 or more CL courses. But about 36 percent of traditional undergraduates did not enroll in any CL courses.
  • During any given academic year between 2015 and 2019, traditional undergraduates who enrolled in at least one Community Learning course ranged from 21 to 28 percent.
  • Female students participated in Community Learning at higher proportions (29 percent) than male students (21 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
  • Students of color enrolled in Community Learning courses in higher proportions (34 percent of Black students; 30 percent of Hispanic students; 27 percent of Asian students) than White students (23 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
  • Students with need-based financial aid enrolled in one or more Community Learning courses at a higher proportion (27 percent) than students without financial aid (24 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
  • First-generation students enrolled in one or more Community Learning courses at higher proportions (32 percent) than non-first- generation students (25 percent), on average, for each of the three years that Trinity has collected this data from 2017-2019.
  • About 25 percent of traditional undergraduates participated in co-curricular community engagement (specifically Community Service and Trinfo.Cafe) in 2017-18. When we combined participation in curricular programs (Community Learning courses) or co-curricular programs, about 43 percent of traditional undergraduates participated in at least one or more of these in 2017-18.

Since this report is limited to CHER programs, we invite other Trinity offices to share data with us to help gather a more comprehensive picture of community engagement.

See details in the full report below.

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CHER News

Rakan Alzhaga ’22, Dasha Maliauskaya ’22, Wendy Salto ’22 and Dr. Megan Faver Hartline with community partners in Make the Road CT: Hartford Community Organizer Mirka Dominguez, Executive Director Barbara Lopez, and parent organizers in Madres Guerreras. Photo reposted from @MaketheRoadCT Twitter.


This semester, a team of Community Action Gateway students worked with Hartford Community Organizer Mirka Dominguez at Make the Road CT to analyze Hartford, West Hartford, and East Hartford School Districts. Make the Road CT “works to support immigrants to be active in their communities and to lift themselves out of poverty through legal and support services, civic engagement, transformative education and policy innovation.”

This semester, Rakan Alzhaga ’22, Dasha Maliauskaya ’22 and Wendy Salto ’22  in Dr. Megan Hartline’s “Building Knowledge for Social Change” course researched schools in Hartford, West Hartford, and East Hartford to answer the question, “How well is your kid’s school doing in educating them?” Students presented slides for their final presentation in the Digital Scholarship Studio…

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They also provided a full analysis report…

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… As well as a set of infographics that organizers at Make the Road CT will use to engage parents in their parent committee and to show Hartford Board of Education members when they meet with them.


In the Community Action Gateway, first-year students learn how to create community change with community activists, neighborhood organizers, government leaders, non-profit directors, journalists, and social entrepreneurs in Hartford. If you have questions about the Gateway, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

 

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Community Learning

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of Trinity’s Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, brings together students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. Through this program, students have the opportunity to engage with multiple methods and contexts for creating new knowledge in the humanities by participating in small teams that work on faculty scholarship, on partners’ public humanities projects, and meet regularly to learn about community collaboration and digital tools. From the large pool of applications, PHC selected sixteen students to work on eight faculty and eight public humanities projects with each student receiving a $3500 stipend as well as summer housing during this 10-week program. The Public Humanities Collaborative is coordinated by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning at Trinity College

Hartford Organizations’ Public Humanities Projects:

Coltsville National Historical Park, “Coltsville Through the Years”

  • Community Partner: Andrew Long, Management Assistant
  • Trinity Students: Kaylen Jackson ‘21 and Yisbel Marrero ‘20

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center, “Urban Renewal in Willimantic, Connecticut

  • Community Partner: Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator
  • Trinity Students: Kaytlin Ernse ‘20 and Sophia Lopez ‘22

Connecticut Historical Society, “Transcribing and Digitizing Archival Materials of Joseph Johnson

  • Community Partner: Andrea Rapacz, Director of Exhibitions and Collections
  • Trinity Students: Carlson Given ‘20 and Emma Sternberg ‘21

Hartford History Center, “Voices of Migration / Voces de la Migracion

  • Community Partner: Jasmin Agosto, Education & Community Outreach Manager
  • Trinity Students: Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo ‘21 and Brenda Piedras ‘21

Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, “Female Trailblazers: Hartford Jewish Woman Who Made A Difference”

  • Community Partner: Estelle Kafer, Executive Director
  • Trinity Students: Tanuja Budraj and Fede Cedolini ‘22

TheaterWorks, “Community Engagement at TheaterWorks”

  • Community Partners: Taneisha Duggan, Producing Associate
  • Trinity Students: Manny Rodriguez ‘20 and Hendrick Xiong-Calmes ‘22

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, “Developing Context and Content for Afro-Cosmologies exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture

  • Community Partner: Anne Butler Rice, Georgette Auerbach Koopman Director of Education at the Wadsworth, and Frank Mitchell, Executive Director of the Amistad Center
  • Trinity Students: Remi Tupper ‘20 and Kyre William-Smith ‘21

West Indian Social Club/West Indian Foundation, “Migrant Zero, Chain Migration, and Black Flight

  • Community Partner: Fiona Vernal, West Indian Foundation Board of Directors, and Beverly Redd, West Indian Social Club Leadership Team
  • Trinity Students: Esther Appiah ‘21 and Ali Kara ‘20
Trinity Faculty Research Projects:

Aidalí Aponte-Avilés and Christina Bleyer, “Voces de la Migración: Archiving and Sharing the U.S. Latinx Experience in Hartford

  • Trinity Students: Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo ‘21 and Brenda Piedras ‘21

Thomas Lefebvre, “Transatlantic Food Database

  • Trinity Students: Kaylen Jackson ‘21 and Yisbel Marrero ‘20

Alexander Manevitz, “The Rise and Fall of Seneca Village: Remaking Race and Space in Nineteenth-Century New York City

  • Trinity Students: Kaytlin Ernse ‘20 and Sophia Lopez ‘22

Nick Marino, “Podcasts as Oral History: LGBTQ Life in Hartford

  • Trinity Students: Manny Rodriguez ‘20 and Hendrick Xiong-Calmes ‘22

Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, “Food, Wine and Empire

  • Trinity Students: Tanuja Budraj and Fede Cedolini ‘22

Maurice Wade, “Building an Online Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought

  • Trinity Students: Esther Appiah ‘21 and Ali Kara ‘20

Chloe Wheatley, “Renaissance Literature in the Watkinson

  • Trinity Students: Remi Tupper ‘20 and Kyre William-Smith ‘21

Hilary Wyss and Christopher Hager, “Hidden Literacies Symposium and Website

  • Trinity Student: Carlson Given ‘20 and Emma Sternberg ‘21

For more information on the Public Humanities Collaborative, including how you can propose a project in the future, contact Director Megan Hartline.

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Trinfo News

Congratulations to Professor Serena Laws, Trinfo.Café, and all the students that were enrolled in “CLIC 290: Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” this semester! Last night, our colleagues at the Village for Families & Children sent us the most inspiring message about the course:


Take a look, the number of tax returns done at Trinfo Café this year – AWESOME number, especially for their first year!

-The Village for Families & Children

 

Photo by Abby Woodhouse, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, The Village for Families & Children.

For the Community Learning component of the course, students were trained as IRS-certified tax preparers at Trinfo.Café on Broad Street. The average returns they were giving to families was $1400 and $3800 for families with children– and that’s compared to an average yearly income of $18,000 for the clients served. Instructor and Site Coordinator Serena Laws said, “I’m very proud of all the work we’ve done this year and I’m excited to find ways to expand next year.”

And #ICYMI take a look at our video recap of the course below.


This semester, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science Serena Laws has been teaching “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” and piloting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Trinfo.Café where students have been trained as IRS-certified tax preparers. Despite only being open a few hours twice a week, Professor Serena Laws says the VITA site at Trinfo.Café has already filed over 100 returns.

The average return we’ve been giving is $1,400, and for families with kids the average return has been about $3,800. Our clients have an average yearly income of about $18,000, so this is a huge boon to their income for the year. – Serena Laws, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science, and VITA Site Coordinator

For the academic component of the course, students are learning about the history of tax credits, how it compares to other methods of delivering social benefits, and the tax code in general.

“I think learning about the credits and then actually getting to see in practice how they contribute to the refund that people are getting and hearing their reactions to it is a lot more valuable than just learning about the history of the credit itself. It’s giving us an understanding of how this really affects people.” – Amanda Hausmann ’21

The pilot tax clinic at Trinfo.Café is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by the United Way and The Village for Families & Children. The program generally serves people who make less than $55,000 a year, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers.

Alex Tomcho ’19 assists a client with tax returns at the VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café. Photo by Nick Caito.
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Community Service

This is a repost from trincoll.edu, May 8th 2019. Photos and writing by Mark Hughes, Trinity College Advancement.


“We’re about to have an innovation,” Trinity College student Hunter Moore ’21 announces to the room.

Hunter is working with Steve, a student at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). They are about 15 minutes into a science exercise involving a marble and some foam tubing. Hunter and Steve are part of the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program (J-Z AMP), which connects students from Trinity as mentors to middle school students from HMTCA.

It’s Thursday and the students and mentors have a treat: Aoife Ryle, a visiting educator from the Connecticut Science Center, is on hand for a lesson on motion and inertia built around roller coasters. The object: build a “roller coaster” for a marble with tracks made of halved, 2-inch foam tubing and masking tape. The marble must be able to run all the way down the finished coaster, which must include two loop-the-loops. It is not as easy as it sounds—marbles fly across the room as students try to perfect their method.

Talia, Michael, and Yaviel show off their triple-loop marble coaster.

Next to Hunter and Steve, Crystal and her mentor, Miranda Wheeler ’21, progress steadily. Their coaster has a high, rounded loop and they are beginning to construct a second loop. On the other side of the room, Michael and Yaviel, working with their mentor, Talia Lewis ’19, have taken a different approach to the problem. Rather than build their coaster perpendicular to the wall, like everyone else, Michael and Yaviel have embraced the daring strategy of working parallel to the wall. They decide to go all-out with three loops.

The Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program has been a mainstay of Trinity’s community engagement since 2001. Supported by generous annual grants from the Marie and John Zimmermann Fund, the program pairs Trinity students with middle school students from HMTCA for academic enrichment activities throughout the year. This 2018-2019 academic year, the Zimmermann Fund’s generous support of J-Z AMP amounted to $40,000. The fund has directed almost $1.5 million to support J-Z AMP at Trinity and has been recognized on the college’s Wall of Honor, reserved for those individuals, businesses, and organizations that have had institution-wide impact at Trinity since its founding in 1823. The fund has also supported similar programs at Yale and Sacred Heart University with equal generosity.

Nell O’Rourke ’19 and Nashyla’s marble coaster on proud display.

J-Z AMP aims to follow students from sixth grade through middle school. For students who remain with the J-Z AMP, the consistency and support are beneficial. The program helps students who teachers have identified as needing extra support to establish a more solid academic footing. Ideally, the program matches one Trinity student as mentor with two HMTCA students, forming a unit in which the middle-schoolers learn and support each other.

Each student-mentor team contends with its own challenges with the roller coasters, which they diligently work through together. For example, Cherron’s team tackled their challenge by thinking outside the box. Rather than a loop-the-loop, he has put a twist in his track. But the marble keeps flying off, rolling through the desks and across the room. Ryle asks a few leading questions, and Cherron adjusts the angle of his track. Now, the marble’s momentum is better directed and it zips down and into the target cup with a satisfying plunk.

One by one, the teams demonstrate their coasters. Most succeed, though some need a couple of attempts. “Next time, I want to make it twice as big,” Yaviel announces after the marble makes it all the way through his record-setting three loops. For Yaviel and others, J-Z AMP has created an environment where experiments like this can take place, and in the process, students develop greater drive for academic achievement.

Physics is no big deal for this group of Trinity mentors and HMTCA students. Pictured: Summer Tate, Miranda Wheeler ’21; Nell O’Rourke ’19; Talia Lewis ’19; Carrie Morgan ’19; Crystal; Michael; Beatrice Alicea; Aoife Rylem; Hunter Moore ’21; kneeling: Nashyla and Yaviel.

Trinity mentors involved get the benefit of connecting with their surrounding community. In addition, the mentors can apply their liberal arts education to problem-solve in a classroom environment, learning how to engage the students, and make creative solutions to convey the messages of the curriculum. For some mentors, they will develop ongoing relationships with the students in their mentoring cohort, who may be in the program for multiple years as Trinity mentors progress with their own education and involvement with J-Z AMP.

Following the marble experiments, Beatrice Alicea, who coordinates the program for Trinity, gathers the mentors and students to discuss a quote from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” and how it applies to their successes and failures that afternoon. They will no doubt encounter bigger challenges than a marble roller coaster ahead, but they will have the guidance of their Trinity mentors to help them along the way.

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Urban Ed

Chemistry and Community Learning? We can’t think of a better combination! This semester, Professor Michelle Kovarik implemented a Community Learning component to CHEM 312, a lecture and laboratory course that covers the principles and practice of instruments for quantitative and qualitative chemical measurements.

For the Community Learning component of the course, Kovarik and her students took advantage of the overlap between their instrumental analysis curriculum (the soil analysis lab) and the 6th grade science curriculum at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). During the semester, Trinity students worked in groups to gain hands-on experience with the instruments learned about in class, and helped 6th grade students in their analysis of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous in soil samples.

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After analyzing the soil with the 6th grade students, Trinity students then brought the soil samples back to campus for a more sophisticated analysis by ICP-MS. Then, Trinity students were asked to report their findings back to their 6th grade partners. To help them understand, the Trinity students created infographics for the 6th graders.

Brianna Crawley ’19, Jessica Duong ’19, Sarah Donahue ’20, and Nikki Andersen ’20 created the below infographic detailing metal elements than can impact plant growth.

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Another group of students created this infographic to explain how manganese, copper, lead, and chromium impact plant growth.

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At Trinity College we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

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Urban Ed

Photo: Student instructors Kyre Williams-Smith ’21, Trea Mannello ’20, Morgan Hallow ’19,  and HMTCA community partner Carrie Keena after a Latin in the Community lesson.


During the Fall semester, Lauren Caldwell, Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Classical Studies, put together a pilot program to lay the groundwork for a Spring offering of LATN 203 “Latin in the Community,” a 0.25 credit opportunity for Trinity College students. In the course, Trinity College students are exposed to both the study of Latin and community outreach work with local schools, and for the Community Learning component of the course, they have implemented a Latin curriculum for middle-school students across the street at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Professor Caldwell introduced ten students — Ardyn Allessie, Morgan Hallow, Rachel Kyriakides, Trea Mannello, David Marottolo, Cassidy Schiff, Nicole Singh, Mary Tursi, Erkin Verbeek, and Kyre Williams-Smith — to the Paidea Institute’s middle-school Latin curriculum called “Aequora: Teaching Literacy with Latin.”

The Paideia Institute partners with over 45 sites at colleges, universities, schools, and community organizations in the U.S. to bring the Aequora curriculum to middle and elementary school students, and thanks to Professor Lauren Caldwell, one of those sites now includes the partnership between Trinity College students and the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) middle-school students in the Latin Club. Lauren says that she envisions this course as a start to creating a pipeline for middle school students who are interested in Latin and Classics. Because the Aequora curriculum is trilingual, all vocabulary lists are provided in English, Spanish, and Latin so it compatible with the World Languages program at HMTCA, in which all students take Spanish.

Designing the Course

In order to make this Community Learning course successful, Professor Caldwell ensured in its design that there be a place for everyone in the partnership. 

Through a unique structure that includes both student instructors and student curriculum design consultants, the instructors have been able to take feedback from HMTCA middle-school students and their teacher and consult with the curriculum design consultants and Professor Caldwell about how to best use the Aequora curriculum in a way that meets HMTCA students’ interest.

The curriculum design consultants, Ardyn Allessie ’19 and David Marottolo ’22 have been critical to the success of the program– they have researched and prepared supplemental course materials, including a Latin bingo game and an ancient Greek alphabet activity, when the middle schoolers showed enthusiasm for Latin vocabulary and expressed curiosity about the Greek language.

In Fall 2018 the student instructors were Ardyn Allessie, Rachel Kyriakides, David Marottolo, Cassidy Schiff, Mary Tursi, Erkin Verbeek. In Spring 2019 student instructors were Trea Mannello, Morgan Hallow, Nicole Singh, Kyre William-Smith and Arden Allessie and David Marottolo transitioned from instructors in Fall 2018 to curriculum design consultants in Spring 2019.

Overall, the Community Learning component of this Latin course is unique in Classics– taking the study of the ancient Mediterranean world beyond the walls of the college classroom was a new experience for most of the Trinity students, and it offered HMTCA students the opportunity to learn Latin in a way may not have otherwise had the opportunity to do. 

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Download (PDF, 39KB)


Thank you to Professor Lauren Caldwell and Carrie Keena at HMTCA.

At Trinity College we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, or you believe your course should be designated  as a Community Learning course, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Service

This past Saturday, the Trinity Homelessness Project held a necessities drive at the Hartford Stop & Shop, and collected 153 pounds of food donations! All food collected went to Hands On Hartford, which will be distributing the food to food insecure children as part of their Backpack Nutrition Program.

Through the Backpack Nutrition program, Hands on Hartford provides backpacks containing four meals, drinks, and snacks to kids in Hartford. Although many kids receive free or reduced price lunch at school during the week, the weekends can present a struggle. The program also provides fresh fruit, nutrition resources, and school supplies.


To learn more about the program, visit http://www.handsonhartford.org and follow Trinity Homelessness Project on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you to student leader Kyle Fields and Director of the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement Joe Barber!

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CHER News

Come Work with Us: Apply for Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement by Friday May 24th

We’re hiring a full-time Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement (CSCE), to join our Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) team at Trinity College. Help us recruit an outstanding professional to help develop Trinity student civic leadership and strengthen partnerships between campus programs and Hartford’s diverse communities. Review of applications will begin Friday May 24th 2019: https://cher.trincoll.edu/assistant-director-csce-2019/


HMTCA-Trinity Hip Hop Collaboration with Internationally Renowned Choreographer Amirah Sackett  

This semester, Rebecca Pappas organized a collaboration between Trinity College, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, and Amirah Sackett, an internationally renowned B-Girl who explores Muslim identity through hip hop dance. Amirah worked with Jacqueline Kromash ‘19, Gaby Gomez ‘22, Sarah Zhu ‘22, Nicole Saltzman ‘22 and an HMTCA student to prepare a hip hop piece for the 14th Annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival as well as the Spatial Harmonies Spring Dance Concert coming up on Friday April 26th and Saturday April 27th. The collaboration, funded by an Urban Educational Initiatives grant, also brought Hartford residents and students of all ages together for a series of Master Classes at HMTCA and Trinity. Check out photos on our blog: https://cher.trincoll.edu/hmtca-trinity-amirahsackett/


Drop in at the Liberal Arts Action Lab Digital Poster Fair Monday April 29 3-5:30pm

Please join us Monday, April 29th for the Liberal Arts Action Lab Digital Poster Fair at 10 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT. This event is free and open to the public.  Drop in anytime between 3-5:30 pm to see the results of Spring 2019 Action Lab research projects by student teams from Capital Community College and Trinity College:

  • Culinary Careers: Billings Forge Community Works asked, “How can we improve training programs for entry-level food workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs?”  Student research team: Juliana Ankomah, Stephanie Brooks, Sonjah Dessalines, Nelson Neo, and Yinestra West.
  • Latinx Theater: Hartford Stage asked, “How can we connect with Hartford’s Latinx arts community to expand partnerships and programming?” Student research team: Joyce Figueroa-Pomales, Jennifer Medina, and Jackie Monzon.
  • Student Success: The West Indian Foundation asked, “How can we improve the integration of West Indian Children and Families into Hartford-area schools?” Student research team: Shantal Birungi, Allen Bowin, Sydney Pagliocco, and Elizabeth Rousseau.
  • Cove Connection: Riverfront Recapture asked, “What would Hartford residents like to see in a park and trail system?” Student research team: Dawn-Marie Amaro, Lexi Butler, Kirstin Fierro, Brielle Jones, Sarah Lawrence, Kevin Torres.

Community Partners and Trinity Students Attended Workshop by Michelle Day on “Trauma-Informed Community Engagement”

On April 4th, the Community Action Gateway opened its classroom to community partners for a public workshop on “Trauma Informed Community Engagement,” led by Dr. Michelle L. Day. Like many of us doing community engagement work, Michelle understands the importance of acknowledging the pervasiveness and impact of trauma on individuals and communities. Much of the discussion focused on ways to minimize retraumatizing practices and to promote resilience, respect, connection and power-sharing in the communities we are living and working in. See slides on our blog: http://bit.ly/TraumaInformed19


Students, Faculty, and Community Partners Celebrate GreenFest on the Main Quad

The 2nd Annual GreenFest took place on April 14th on Trinity’s main quad. The day included speeches by Dr. Amber Pitt, Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, Hannah Kessel ‘22, Amelia Huba ‘22, and Trinna Larsen ‘20, performances by Hartford Hot Several Brass Band, mason jar decorating with The Fred, and Sustainability Trivia with the TreeHouse. Plus, community partners at Blue Earth Compost staffed the waste stations! Thank you Sustainability at Trinity College, GreenCampus, and all the other groups involved. See the photo gallery and read more on our blog: https://cher.trincoll.edu/greenfest2019/


Community Garden Kicks Off at Trinfo.Café on Saturday April 27th

Trinfo.Café’s Community Garden kick-off event is Saturday April 27th 10am-1pm. Currently 85% of plots are full with a mix of residents, Trinity faculty and staff, and community groups serving youth. The remaining plots will be open on a first come/first served basis and residents who sign-up for plots are ensured half a bed from April to October; Watering cans, tools, and some seeds are available if you do not have your own. Learn more by calling (860) 297-2127 or visiting trinfocafe.org.


Hartford Real Estate Research Symposium

Dr. Emily Yen’s students in “The Politics of Real Estate” Community Learning course will present their research projects on May 2nd from 5:30-8PM in Hallden Hall on Trinity College’s Campus. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Celebrate Undergraduate Short Films from Around the World at the 8th Annual Trinity Film Festival at Cinestudio May 4th

Admission is free with a Trinity ID or any student ID. General admission is $15 and $10 for Seniors. Find more information at www.trinfilmfestival.org

 

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Urban Ed

This semester, Rebecca Pappas organized a hip hop dance collaboration between Trinity College and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy. Trinity College’s Theater and Dance department invited hip hop choreographer Amirah Sackett to create a dance piece for the 14th Annual International Hip Hop Festival and the Spring Dance Concert. Amirah, an internationally renowned B-Girl who explores Muslim identity via hip hop dance, brought new perspectives and energy for hip hop to campus.

Through a grant offered by Urban Educational Initiatives, Rebecca decided to expand the partnership and invite students at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) to learn and perform alongside Trinity College dance students. At the start of the collaboration, guest choreographer Amirah Sackett and Trinity College Visiting Lecturer in Theater & Dance Brandon Couloute (pictured right) offered a series of hip hop Master Classes open to the public at Trinity and HMTCA. Brandon provided basic hip hop training to Trinity College students, HMTCA students, and Hartford residents.

The turnout to the Master Classes included Trinity College classes, HMTCA students, and Hartford residents– a perfect lead in to the International Hip Hop Festival. If there’s one thing that brings together the Hartford and Trinity College communities it seems to be hip hop.

After arriving on Sunday March 24th, guest choreographer Amirah Sackett ran 3 hour intensive rehearsals from 7-10PM for 5 days straight at Trinity Commons with her dancers Jacqueline Kromash ‘19, Gaby Gomez ‘22, Sarah Zhu ‘22, Nicole Saltzman ‘22 and a student from HMTCA. We were lucky to get a sneak preview of the performance and grab a few photos of rehearsal. At the end of the week, the dancers debuted their performance “Barzakh” at the 14th Annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival on March 29th– and yes, the crowd loved it.

Over the next few weeks, Brandon Couloute will continue to prepare the dancers for their second performance in Trinity’s Spatial Harmonies Spring Dance Concert, which is free and open to the public on Friday April 26th and Saturday April 27th. We hope to see you there.


Thank you again to Rebecca Pappas, Brandon Couloute, HMTCA, and Urban Educational Initiatives for making the academic collaboration possible.

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Community Service

Happy Earth Day everyone! Today we’re taking some time to reflect on the ways #BantamsGoGreen at Trinity by taking a look back at the 2nd Annual GreenFest 0n the Main Quad. The festival included speeches by Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Dr. Amber Pitt, Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, Hannah Kessel ‘22, Amelia Huba ‘22, and Trinna Larsen ‘20, performances by Hartford Hot Several Brass Band, Jake McKelvie & the Countertops, and Fleet. Amidst the music, there were also a number of student organizations with information, activities, giveaways, and food.

Hartford Hot Several Brass Band performs

Nat Bush ’19 and Doris Zhang ’19 welcomed the crowd with t-shirt giveaways, The TreeHouse offered Tree-via, Hillel offered pita and hummus, Amnesty International facilitated letter writing on human rights issues, Pauline Choquet ’19 of The Fred provided mason jar decorating opportunities, and so much more!

  

 

In conjunction with the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, “The Coop” (Trinity College’s thrift shop) ran a voting
competition during GREENFest to determine which community organizations would receive donations from this year’s proceeds. With eight organizations in the running, each GREENFest attendee was given two votes to cast. The four organizations with the most votes were the Immigrant Bail Fund-Fondo de Fianzas de Immigración, Keney Park Sustainability Project, Kenway’s Cause, and Cinestudio! Each of these organizations will receive a donation from the Coop.

Plus, we had to give a special Instagram shoutout to our very own Joe Barber in the Hartford Hot Several Brass Band…

GREENFest was sponsored by Green Campus, the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, Amnesty International, Barnyard, Blue Earth Compost, TREEHouse, Habitat for Humanity, Hillel, Trinity Homelessness Project, WGRAC, College Democrats, Environmental Science, The Fred Pfeil Community Project, S.A.I.L., SGA, WRTC, and VoterLabs.

Photo credit to Rose Rodriguez. To learn more about Sustainability at Trinity College, see Trinity College’s Office of Sustainability website here, view Trinity College’s Sustainability Instagram Highlight, and take a look at the *NEW* Sustainability at Trinity College Facebook page!

You can also contact Trinity’s Sustainability Coordinator Rosangelica.rodriguez@trincoll.edu for more information.

 

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Community Learning

On April 4th, the Community Action Gateway opened its classroom for a public workshop on “Trauma Informed Community Engagement,” led by Dr. Michelle L. Day. In her presentation, Day, who researches at the intersection of trauma-informed care and higher education (particularly writing pedagogy and community-engaged teaching and research), addressed key barriers and opportunities for implementing trauma-informed principles and practices in community spaces. Both because of the importance of this topic and that one of its central tenets is the importance of training everyone, Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning and Professor in the Gateway, chose to open up the class and invite anyone interested to attend.

Michelle began by asking participants why they were interested in learning more about connections between trauma-informed practice and community engagement. First to speak were some of the Community Action Gateway students and mentors who said that this information could help them be better partners in their current community projects, including: lobbying efforts to restore voting privileges to people on parole, researching sexual health education practices, and working with LGBTQ+ youth who are overrepresented in DCF care, unstable housing, and juvenile justice systems. Community partners who attended noted their work with survivors of sexual violence and domestic violence, the effects of poverty and racism, and more.

The driving question of the workshop was: “Why does trauma-informed care matter in community engagement?” Michelle, the students, and community partners in the room discussed how nearly everyone is a survivor of trauma, and some communities and individuals are disproportionately impacted. Michelle noted the importance of always assuming that survivors are present when planning and implementing community engagement work. We live in a world where: Adverse Childhood Experiences affect nearly two thirds of the population (CDC and Kaiser Parmanente); 20 people are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner every minute (CDC); and about 19% of men and 15% of women have experienced a natural disaster in the United States (SAMHSA). In community engagement work, including here at Trinity, we are so often working with people who have high levels of trauma on an individual and community level that we need to be using trauma-informed practices in our projects. Michelle helped us talked through ways that trauma-informed practices are crucial for ethical community engagement.

Michelle’s perspective is unique because, like many of us doing community engagement work, she does not have a clinical background but understands how important it is to acknowledge the pervasiveness and impact of trauma on individuals and communities. Much of the discussion was around ways to minimize retraumatizing practices and promote resilience, respect, connection and power-sharing in the communities we are living and working in.

Throughout the workshop and in conversation afterward, the perspectives of our community partners, many of whom use trauma-informed care in their daily work, brought so many different perspectives and insights on this topic that helped us all learn about new ways we can use these practices. We were thrilled to be joined by CHER Advisory Board member Linda Martinez, C.J. Boggs Bernier Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor of YWCA New Britain, Yadira Rivera from East Hartford CONNects, Laura O’Keefe of The Village for Families & Children, Shwetha Jayaraj who works with HPD Not Safe For Women, Joel Rivera from Hartford Working Cities Challenge, and Rebecca Lemanski of Middletown WORKS, and others.

Throughout the workshop, we talked about the parallels between trauma-informed care within community spaces and trauma-informed community engagement from higher education institutions, with many raising complex questions ranging from individual interactions to systemic problems.

Tiana Starks ‘21 (pictured to the left) asked, “What about the language we use? What words are you using when you’re out in the community and how to people want to be talked to/about?” For example, how do we use the words “victim” or “survivor” when talking about sexual violence? Thinking about how we as individuals can use language that promotes resiliency and lessens the possibility of retraumatization is important, both in community engagement settings and in our daily lives (as we remember how important it is to assume that survivors are always present!).

Community member Shwetha Jayaraj and Eleanor Faraguna ‘21 asked, “How do you educate institutions on trauma-informed teaching and engagement?” We talked about a range of institutions–Trinity College, Hartford Police Department, local social service organizations, the schools–  and discussed how you can find allies in these places and start working to create change that incorporates trauma-informed practices on and off campus.

Overall, the workshop offered all of us space to learn, discuss, and think through how trauma is a part of the work we do and how we can make sure to incorporate trauma-informed care into our everyday lives. Thank you to Dr. Michelle L. Day for her time and thoughtfulness in offering this workshop! Below you can find resources on Trauma-Informed Principles (slide 19), Mental Health First Aid, Active Listening, Self-Care Planning, and Structured Ethical Reflection (slide 24).

Download (PPTX, 2.93MB)

Interested in partnering on a community action project  with faculty and students at Trinity College? Or learning more about public events hosted by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research? Contact Megan Hartline, Director of Community Learning, to learn more.

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Action Lab

Please join us Monday, April 29th for the Liberal Arts Action Lab Digital Poster Fair at 10 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT. Drop in anytime between 3-5:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Come see the results of Action Lab student team research projects:

Culinary Careers Project

  • Question: Billings Forge Community Works asked, “How can we improve training programs for entry-level food service workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs?”
  • Students: Juliana Ankomah, Stephanie Brooks, Sonjah Dessalines, Nelson Neo, and Yinestra West

Latinx Theater Project

  • Question: Hartford Stage asked, “How can we connect with Hartford’s Latinx arts community to enhance and expand partnerships and programming?”
  • Students: Joyce Figueroa-Pomales, Jennifer Medina, and Jackie Monzon

Student Success Project

  • Question: The West Indian Foundation asked, “How can we improve the integration of West Indian children and families into Hartford-area schools?”
  • Students: Shantal Birungi, Allen Bowin, Dawn King, Sydney Pagliocco, and Elizabeth Rousseau

Cove Connection Project

  • Question: Riverfront Recapture asked, “What would Hartford residents like to see in a park and trail system?”
  • Students: Dawn-Marie Amaro, Lexi Butler, Kirstin Fierro, Brielle Jones, Sarah Lawrence, and Kevin Torres

This event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served. Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested. Contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown or call (860) 297-5166 with any questions.

We hope to see you there!

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CHER News

Join us Thursday May 2nd for the Hartford Real Estate Research Symposium. Urban studies students enrolled in Dr. Emily Yen’s CTYP-211 “The Politics of Real Estate” Community Learning course will present their research projects on Hartford-based stakeholders. In the course, students examine the political, social, and economic dimensions of real estate in Hartford and New York– specific topics included growth machine politics, rent control, gentrification, tenant organizing, and Business Improvement Districts. For the Community Learning component, teams of students conducted and transcribed an interview each with a Hartford person involved in real estate issues.

Event: Hartford Real Estate Research Symposium
Date: Thursday May 2nd, 2019
Time: 5:30 PM-8:00 PM
Location: Dangremond Family Commons — Hallden Hall
Trinity College
300 Summit St.
Hartford, CT 06106

Hors d’oeuvres will be served from 5:30-6:30 PM during the poster session, and a catered dinner celebrating the community partners’ work and the students’ research will follow.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/F6LWxuro5LkwcdAo6

Guest parking is available outside Hallden Hall near Austin Arts Center or along Summit Street. See the Trinity College campus map for instructions: https://map.trincoll.edu

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Community Service

Come work with us! We’re hiring a full-time Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement (CSCE), to join our Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) team at Trinity College. Help us recruit an outstanding professional to help develop Trinity student civic leadership and strengthen partnerships between campus programs and Hartford’s diverse communities. The Assistant Director will report to the Director of CSCE (Joe Barber) and collaborate with other CHER program leaders.

Apply online at https://trincoll.peopleadmin.com/postings/1900. In your cover letter, connect your goals and experience to the mission of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, which is part of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (http://cher.trincoll.edu). Review of applications will begin Friday May 24th 2019. See text of job posting below.

 

The Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement is a full-time grant funded position that will develop Trinity student civic leadership in collaboration with the Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement (CSCE). About 50% of the time will be spent training students to plan and operate youth mentoring programs (such as the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program), and about 50% on programming and student leadership development for community engagement (including Greek organizations and other student groups). The Assistant Director will report to the Director of CSCE , and collaborate with other leaders in the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER).

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Train student leaders to plan, communicate, and operate youth mentoring programs, such as the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program (JZ-AMP) after-school program with middle school students from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), a city-suburban public magnet school.
  • Advise about half of the student-led organizations for civic engagement (including Greek organizations on service and philanthropy programming)
  • Serve as primary contact for community service requests
  • Manage some student employees
  • Work with students to organize some Community Service annual events
  • Coordinate communications (including newsletter, social media, web content) with CHER

Minimum and Desirable Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Experience working in youth mentoring, higher education or non-profit sector desired
  • Experience with diverse neighborhoods across Hartford desired
  • Fluency in Spanish desired
  • Experience with digital media (WordPress, digital photography or video) desired
  • Will require working some evenings and weekend hours with Trinity student organizations.

Special instructions: This is a grant-funded full-time, full year, benefit eligible position. In your cover letter, connect your goals and experience to the mission of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, which is part of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research ( http://cher.trincoll.edu ). Review of applications will begin Friday May 24th 2019.

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CHER News

Photo: Jaymie Bianca ’21, Rebecca Pappas, Danyel Hudson ’20, Gisselle Hudson, Max Eichner ’20, and Kayla Pena ’20 take a class trip to University of Hartford Art School. Not pictured, Erick Pena ’20.


What does art mean to you? According to a collaborative vision board created by Rebecca Pappas’ Arts in Action students, “Art sings to the masses of people,” “art is the child of imagination and reality,” and “art is the sword against absurdity.”  These answers were included in the collaborative vision board created by Arts in Action students which is now on display at the University of Hartford Art School’s exhibit READING ROOM: Urgent Pedagogies, an immersive and participatory exhibition built through collaborative processes with students, artists, and faculty at the University of Hartford and beyond. The Arts in Action course is based on the assumption that the arts do make a difference that is often underestimated in our cultural value system, and students examine the role that arts play as active agents in a community.

Collaborative vision board created by Fall 2019 Arts in Action students Kimberly Alexander, Nat Bush, Andrew Connor, Julianne Freeman, Hannah Hain, Guillermo Hercules, Gisselle Hernandez, Claire Pritchard, Sabrina Shu, and Sarah Vazquez.A pivotal part of the course includes hands-on work in the community where students choose an arts organization in Hartford to observe and volunteer with for the semester. Their assignments include collaborative projects such as the vision board as well as site visits to their community partner organizations and a final class presentation including a public writing component where they reflect on their experiences. Claire Pritchard ’20, who partnered with Charter Oak Cultural Center said,

 

I took the bus more times this semester than I had in all my previous semesters at Trinity combined. I was headed downtown to Charter Oak Cultural Center for the hands-on part of my Arts in Action class. Without my Bantam Bus Pass, I would’ve stayed on campus all semester…I’ve gained confidence from this experience, in that I feel like a part of something. Everyone was excited to hear I was taking a class that required me to go into the city and engage with people. It was like both the city and the students were craving connection, but we students had been blind to the obvious solution, which is to get out there.

Sarah Vazquez ’19 who worked with Hartford Stage said,

The partnership Trinity College has with Hartford Stage is one of the main reasons I chose to attend this school for my undergraduate education. I can confidently say that without exposure to this robust theater education program my career path and goals would be vastly different than what they are today. One of the key concepts that my summer at Hartford Stage taught me was that you must trust yourself in your creative and leadership processes.”

Gisselle Hernandez ’22 partnered with the Connecticut Historical Society:

“During these observation hours we met with somebody that identifies as a folklorist and she explained to us what she decided to research. She told us how she started talking to women around Hartford and how many of them had stories about why they came to the United States and how they were all refugees. Although they all spoke different languages and had different stories, they all had one common thing that brought them together: knitting.

This semester, Rebecca Pappas’ is also teaching the Community Learning course “Arts in Education” (THDN 272), which is a companion course to Arts in Action. We tagged along with the class when they visited the University of Hartford Art School to see the Arts in Action vision board as well as full exhibit.

Max Eichner ’20 observes one of the participatory displays that asks, “What is Justice?” Observers write their answers on sticky notes and attach them to the piece.

 

Through the semester, Arts in Education students have been learning about the ways arts are taught and used in studios and classrooms and what it means to be an artist and an educator. For the Community Learning component of the course, they have also been in residence at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

To see how Rebecca Pappas built Community Learning components into the Arts in Action course, take a look at her syllabus here.


At Trinity College we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, or you believe your course should be designated  as a Community Learning course, contact Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu

If you are interested in featuring your Community Learning course on our website, contact CHER Communications & Data Assistant Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

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Community Learning

Alex Tomcho ’19 assists a client with tax returns at the VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café. Photo by Nick Caito.

This semester, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science Serena Laws has been teaching “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” and piloting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Trinfo.Café where students have been trained as IRS-certified tax preparers. Despite only being open a few hours twice a week, Professor Serena Laws says the VITA site at Trinfo.Café has already filed over 100 returns.  Serena Laws said,

The average return we’ve been giving is $1,400, and for families with kids the average return has been about $3,800. Our clients have an average yearly income of about $18,000, so this is a huge boon to their income for the year. – Serena Laws, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science, and VITA Site Coordinator

For the academic component of the course, students are learning about the history of tax credits, how it compares to other methods of delivering social benefits, and the tax code in general. Amanda Hausmann ‘21 said,

“I think learning about the credits and then actually getting to see in practice how they contribute to the refund that people are getting and hearing their reactions to it is a lot more valuable than just learning about the history of the credit itself. It’s giving us an understanding of how this really affects people.” – Amanda Hausmann ’21

The pilot tax clinic at Trinfo.Café is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by the United Way and The Village for Families & Children. The program generally serves people who make less than $55,000 a year, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers. To accommodate larger numbers of clients, the pilot program has expanded their hours. The last day to file taxes is Monday April 15th and you can schedule an appointment by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.211ct.org. The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic is located at Trinfo.Café, 1300 Broad Street, Hartford.

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Action Lab

Do you want to make a difference in the city? The deadline to apply to join a Hartford Research Team in the Fall 2019 Liberal Arts Action Lab has been extended to Monday April 8th. In the Action Lab, Hartford community partners define problems facing the city, and collaborate with 4-6 person teams of Trinity College and Capital Community College students and faculty to research and publicly share possible solutions. Trinity students earn 2 Trinity credits and cross-referenced Action Lab courses count toward majors in Ed Studies, Human Rights, Public Policy & Law, Urban Studies, and some other majors on a case by case basis. Fall projects to apply for are:

  • Hurricane Maria ProjectLilly Sin Barreras asks for retrospective research on what went well and what went wrong during the relocation of refugees from Hurricane Maria to Hartford. Project team will meet Thursdays, 1:30 – 4:10.
  • Absentee Landlord Project: Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance asks for research on the prevalence of small multi-family properties in targeted neighborhoods that are owned by people who do not live in the city to help them strategize about community development plans. Project team will meet Tuesdays, 1:30 – 4:10.
  • Youth Homelessness ProjectCT Coalition to End Homelessness asks for help updating their curriculum and improving their outreach to schools about the estimated 5,000 youth who are experiencing homelessness in the state. Project team will meet Wednesdays, 1:15 – 3:55.
  • Youth Sports ProjectActive City asks for research that will help them increase participation in organized youth sports in Hartford. Project team will meet Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 7:10.

Students should apply by Monday April 8th at https://action-lab.org/apply/students/ and contact Professor Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu, with any questions.

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Community Learning

New Course for Fall 2019
MATH/POLS 128: Mathematics and Redistricting
Professor: Kyle Evans on Tu/Th 2:55-4:10pm

Gerrymandering examples from the Wash Post

Are you interested in why our legislative district maps are shaped the way they are?
The shapes continue to be influenced by mathematics and policy and will be back in the limelight following the 2020 U.S. Census and the decennial cycle of redistricting.
This course will investigate the ways in which people are grouped into districts and the impact the shapes and districts have on our elections, elected officials, and representation. Topics will include the mathematics of election forecasting, the U.S. Census, data analysis, redistricting laws and policy, and the geometric analysis of maps. Cross-listed with Political Science, and cross-referenced with Public Policy & Law and Community Learning.

This is also a Community Learning class and students will have the opportunity to learn from and interact with Connecticut legislators and policy makers who have produced and experienced new maps through redistricting cycles in Connecticut.

Note: This course is permission-only.
Interested students: To apply for the class, complete the survey by clicking this link http://bit.ly/MathPols128

The deadline to submit the survey is Friday, April 5th by 12 noon.
If you are selected for the class, a PIN will be emailed to you by the end of Sunday, April 7th.

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CHER News

Leer en español

Seeking Students and Faculty Sponsors for Fall 2019 Hartford Research Opportunities

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research invites individual students, teams of students, and faculty sponsors to collaborate with Hartford community partners on meaningful and timely community-based research projects. Opportunities are available through two programs: 1) Community Learning Research Fellows and 2) the Liberal Arts Action Lab.

Apply for any Fall 2019 Liberal Arts Action Lab proposal at http://action-lab.org/apply and contact Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu with any questions.

Apply for Fall 2019 Community Learning Research Fellows, with possible partners below, at http://cher.trincoll.edu/fellows and contact Laura.Holt@trincoll.edu with any questions.
Do you have specific students that you recommend apply for these opportunities? Are you interested in becoming a faculty sponsor for a project? If so, please contact CHER Communications & Data Assistant Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu. Find more information on both programs here and mark your calendars that applications are due March 31st.

Trinity College Students Offer Free Tax Preparation Services through Pilot VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café

Trinity College students in Professor Serena Laws’ CLIC 290 course “Tax Policy & Inequality in Hartford” have been trained as IRS-certified tax preparers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) pilot program at Trinfo.Café. Read this story by Katie Cort ‘19 about how the students are connecting their learning about tax policy with this program and meeting a real need for no-cost tax preparation in the community. The pilot tax clinic is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by United Way and generally serves people who make less than $55,000, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers. Appointments (in English or Spanish) can be made by calling United Way’s 2-1-1 line or through the website 211ct.org. See more information about the VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café, 1300 Broad Street, by clicking here.


Trinity YDSA Chapter Hosts Bail Out Bake Sales with the

Connecticut Bail Fund

The newly formed chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America has partnered with the Connecticut Bail Fund to fundraise and educate the Trinity College community about Connecticut’s cash bail system and the disproportionate impact that system on low-income residents. In a Common Hour Event back in November, students learned that in legal theory bail is supposed to incentivize court appearance– it’s not supposed to be a punishment. But, the average bail for a person in Connecticut is $120,000. So, YDSA members hit the ground running— they took turns hosting bake sale tables, flyering on campus, and knocking on faculty doors to spread the message. Read more on our guest blog post by Brooke Williams ’19.


Join us April 4th for “Trauma-Informed Approaches to Community Engagement”: Open Class with the Community Action Gateway and Michelle L. Day
Please join the Community Action Gateway for an open class. This one-time event will be hosted by Michelle L. Day, Doctoral Candidate, Rhetoric and Composition Ph.D. Fellow, Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research, University of Louisville. Michelle Day will discuss how trauma-informed approaches are crucial for ethical community engagement, address key barriers and opportunities for implementing trauma-informed principles and practices in community spaces, and leave participants with suggestions and resources. This event is free and open to the public, and will likely interest Faculty members interested in community engagement as well as Hartford community partners. Thursday April 4th, 3:00-4:15pm, 1st Floor 70 Vernon Street, Hartford, CT. Find more information and RSVP here.

Join us for our Spring 2019 Workshop: “Writing with Community Partners” at UCONN Conference on Teaching and Writing on Friday April 5th

The “Writing with Community Partners” workshop will take place during The 2019 UConn Conference on the Teaching of Writing at the Hartford Public Library on Friday, April 5, 2019 from 2:00-4:30 pm. Faculty, students, and community partners will learn about pedagogical and organizational strategies to create reciprocal partnerships that engage students in active learning beyond the classroom and help community organizations reach their goals. Register at the UConn Writing Conference website by March 28th. Find more information here.

The 14th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival is March 29th-March 31st

The 14th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Fest will be held March 29th-March 31st in Mather Hall on Trinity College’s campus, headlined by OSHUN. This festival brings together hip-hop artists, academics, activists, and fans from dozens of countries. Students and Hartford residents will have the opportunity to attend performances, film screenings, workshops, lectures, and panel discussions throughout the weekend. Find more information and the schedule here.

Community Paint Night at Trinfo.Café 

March 25, 2019 from 6-8pm. Professor Byrne, from the Visual Arts Department at Trinity College, will lead the workshop and teach attendees how to paint a landscape through acrylic paint. Supplies will be provided. Snacks and refreshments will be served.

The Hate U Give Film & Discussion
At Trinfo.Café. Wednesday March 27th from 5- 7 pm. Trinity College’s Black Women’s Organization is presenting Movie Night @ TRINFO Cafe! There will be free popcorn and snacks and a wonderful featured popular film that you don’t want to miss out on.


SINA seeks nominations for the 2019 SINA Neighborhood Service Awards. SINA recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Hartford’s southside neighborhoods. Nominees may include community volunteers, fire fighters, agency board members, social workers, store owners, teachers, and more. Nominate online at www.sinainc.org/nsa2019.


Be sure to contact us!

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Community Learning
Please join us for an open class with the Community Action Gateway “Building Knowledge for Social Change.” We invite community partners and members of the public to join us for a special presentation by Michelle L. Day, Doctoral Candidate, Rhetoric and Composition Ph.D. Fellow, Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research, University of Louisville.
 
Michelle Day will discuss how trauma-informed approaches are crucial for ethical community engagement, considering the statistically pervasive presence of trauma (especially at sites popular for engagement projects). She will address key barriers and opportunities for implementing trauma-informed principles and practices in community spaces, leaving participants with concrete suggestions and resources adapted from social work literature.
 
This event is free and open to the public. Thursday April 4th 3-4:15PM, 1st Floor, Center for Hartford Engagement and Research, 70 Vernon Street, Hartford, CT. Street parking for guests is available on Vernon Street.
RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/k3NcIlkBYyQAGwjE2
 
This event is sponsored by the Office of Community Learning.
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Community Service

Pictured: TrinYDSA members Brooke Williams (’19), Samuel Bryan (’20), Nat Bush (’19) delivering funds and fresh baked cookies (not pictured) to CT Bail Fund co-directors Brett Davidson and Ana María Rivera-Forastieri.


Members of the newly formed Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter spent their inaugural semester fundraising for the CT Bail Fund. Through a combination of in-kind donations, proceeds from baked good sales, and profits from purchases from the on-campus thrift store The Coop, students raised a total of $1,000 for the Bail Fund.

The CT Bail Fund is an organization based in New Haven, whose mission is to free low-income Connecticut residents post bail to avoid pre-trial incarceration. In an informative public talk organized by TrinYDSA in November of last year, CT Bail Fund Co-Director Brett Davidson explained how the existence of cash bail criminalizes poverty and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable Connecticut residents. “Even people who self-identified as being very politically involved and progressive were surprised by what we learned that day,” said event organizer and YDSA co-president Brooke Williams ’19.

YDSA members imparted that wisdom to the Trinity community as they walked into Mather hall last semester. YDSA members regularly signed up to bake dozens of batches of cookies and muffins, and then took turns tabling outside of Mather or knocking on professors’ office doors to sell these desserts while simultaneously educating members of the Trinity community on how cash bail criminalizes the poverty of working-class communities of color here in Hartford. “When I was tabling, I learned that most people are really willing to help out and donate once they put faces to issues like mandatory sentencing and excessive bail,” said member Tiara Desire-Brisard ’19 of her experience tabling for the Bail Out Bake Sale.

Overall, the Bail Out Bake Sale project was a successful debut for the students of YDSA. Members learned from experienced community organizers in Connecticut while implementing their own massive fundraising project from the ground up. “I learned a lot about how capitalism intersects with the criminal justice system, and I also perfected a recipe for chocolate chip muffins,” summarized YDSA Co-President Tessa Reading ’19.


To get involved with YDSA, contact Brooke.Williams@trincoll.edu or Tessa.Reading@trincoll.edu.

And, in case you missed it, check out our blog post from November’s Common Hour with the CT Bail Fund: https://cher.trincoll.edu/ctbailfundcommonhour/

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Trinfo.Café

Serena Laws and Alex Tomcho ’19 assist with tax returns at Trinfo.Café. Photo by Nick Caito.


Trinity College students in Professor Serena Laws’ CLIC 290 course “Tax Policy & Inequality in Hartford” have been trained as IRS-certified tax preparers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) pilot program at Trinfo.Café. If you missed it, make sure to read this piece by Katie Cort ‘19 about how the students are connecting their learning about tax policy with the program and meeting a real need for no-cost tax preparation in the community. The pilot tax clinic is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by United Way and generally serves people who make less than $55,000, people with disabilities, and offers tax preparation services to Spanish and other language speakers.

The dates/hours for free tax preparation at Trinfo.Café, 1300 Broad Street are listed here:

– Monday 3/25 11am-4pm

– Friday 3/29 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

– Monday 4/1 11am-4pm

– Wednesday 4/3 3pm-6pm

– Friday 4/5 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

– Monday 4/8 11am-4pm

– Wednesday 4/10 3pm-6pm

– Friday 4/12 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

To schedule an appointment, dial 2-1-1, visit www.211ct.org or come to Trinfo.Café in person.


Estudiantes de Trinity certificados por el IRS están disponibles para ayudar a los miembros de la comunidad a preparar sus declaraciones de impuestos estatales y federales, sin costo. La clínica es una de varias ubicaciones de Asistencia Voluntaria de Impuestos sobre el Ingreso (VITA) en Hartford coordinadas por United Way. VITA generalmente sirve a personas que ganan menos de $55,000, personas con discapacidades y contribuyentes que hablan un inglés limitado. Serena Laws, profesora visitante de Trinity en Ciencias Políticas, coordina a los estudiantes voluntarios en el sitio como parte de un curso de Iniciativa de aprendizaje comunitario.

TRINITY VITA TAX CLINIC, Trinfo.Café, 1300 Broad Street, Hartford.

– lunes 3/25 11am-4pm
– viernes 3/29 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
– lunes 4/1 11am-4pm
– miércoles 4/3 3pm-6pm
– viernes 4/5 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
– lunes 4/8 11am-4pm
– miércoles 4/10 3pm-6pm
– viernes 4/12 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

Para programar una cita, marque 2-1-1, visite www.211ct.org, o visite a Trinfo.Café en persona, 1300 Broad Street.


Thank you to Serena Laws, Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Trinfo.Café Carlos Espinosa, Program Manager at Trinfo.Café Arianna Basche, and CHER Director Jack Dougherty for making this pilot program possible.

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CHER News

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research invites students and faculty sponsors to apply for either or both of two competitive Fall 2019 research programs: Community Learning Research Fellows and the Liberal Arts Action Lab.

In the Community Learning Research Fellows students collaborate with a Hartford area-community partner and a Trinity College faculty sponsors on a research or creative project. Collaborations with community partners can happen one of two ways: (1) if you are already planning an independent study, internship, community-learning course, or senior thesis/project with a community partner, you can apply to join the .5 credit Research Fellows weekly seminar where you can discuss your research with an interdisciplinary group of students (2) Alternatively, we have community partners who are seeking student researchers and you may apply to work with one of them, while also participating in the .5 credit weekly seminar. To be eligible, Trinity students must be rising sophomores, juniors or seniors, who have already completed a Community Learning course or participated in a community engagement project while studying abroad. Possible partners/projects for Fall 2019 include:

In the Liberal Arts Action Lab, Hartford community partners define projects facing the city and collaborate with teams of students and faculty from Trinity College and Capital Community College to research and publicly share solutions. Students must be available to enroll in two Action Lab courses: LAAL 200 Action Research Methods in Hartford (for all students on Monday afternoons, around 1-4pm) and an LAAL 201 Hartford Research Project team (6 students, meets either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoons, around 1-4pm, or Wednesday evenings, around 6:30-9:10pm). Both will be taught by the Action Lab Director, Megan Brown, at our downtown campus, and successful students will earn 2 Trinity credits, which is the equivalent of 6 CCC credits. Cross-referenced Action Lab courses count toward Trinity majors in Ed Studies, Human Rights, Public Policy & Law, and Urban Studies, and some other majors. Fall 2019 Action Lab proposals include:

To apply for the Community Learning Research Fellows visit https://cher.trincoll.edu/fellows and contact Professor Laura.Holt@trincoll.edu with any questions. To apply for the Liberal Arts Action Lab visit https://action-lab.org/apply/students/ and contact Action Lab Director Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu with questions.

The application deadline for both programs is Sunday March 31st.

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Trinfo.Café
A new pilot program hosted at Trinfo.Cafe is training Trinity College students in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to assist in preparing both federal and state income tax returns for Hartford residents at no cost. The tax clinic is one of several VITA locations in Hartford coordinated by United Way and The Village for Children and Families. Generally, VITA serves those who make less than $55,000 a year, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak limited English.

Read the story in its entirety here:
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CHER News

Congratulations to the Hip Hop Digital Stories Team! The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CHLO) has granted an Award of Merit to the Hartford Hip Hop Digital Stories project.

Trinity College students Cody Maldonado ’20 and Yasmin Affey ’19 with Hartford Hip Hop Pioneer Rick Torres.

The Hip Hop Digital Stories archive was created through a partnership between Trinity College Professor Seth Markle’s INTS 344 Global Hip Hop Cultures Community Learning course and community partner (and Trinity Alum) Jasmin Agosto at the Hartford History Center.

Students received training in digital tools such as Audacity as a part of their coursework and training to create digital stories with Hartford Hip Hop Pioneers.

 

INTS 344 Global Hip Hop Cultures is a Trinity College seminar course that explores the link between hip hop, youth identity formation, and politics. For the Community Learning component of the course, students were introduced to hip hop through an oral history and digital storytelling based curriculum where they created videos with Hartford Hip Hop pioneers of the 1980s and 1990s.

When deciding on the award, a CLHO board member said, “these are the kinds of programs we need more of…” We agree!

You can learn more about the Global Hip Hop cultures course here and in the video below. Also, you can view the full set of digital stories that students created on the Hartford History Center’s playlist here.

Trinity College Professor Seth Markle and students in his INTS 344 Global Hip Hop Cultures reflect on their experience in creating videos with Hartford Hip Hop Pioneers of the 1980s and 1990s. Filmed in Feb 2018.

Professor Seth Markle said, “This course was more than about getting a grade. This was about making a contribution to the community through this digital archive that they created. It was challenging, but in talking to them I think they were able to see a side of Hartford they were never exposed to or knew about… they really understood the importance of the project.”


Please join us and the Hip Hop Digital Stories team in celebrating the CLHO awards on Tuesday, April 16, 5pm at the Mark Twain House for a free awards ceremony.

** If you are a community partner interested in partnering with Trinity College, please contact CHER Communications & Data Assistant erica.crowley@trincoll.edu. If you are a faculty member interested in adding a Community Learning component to one of your courses, please contact Community Learning Director Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.

 

 

 

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CHER News

Matthew Rivera ’20 and the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA) at Trinfo.Café for the 13th Annual Welcome Back to School Cookout. Source: @menofcoloralliance Instagram.


The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research would like to congratulate Matthew Rivera ’20 on being named a Campus Compact 2019-20 Newman Civic Fellow!

The CHER team recommended Matthew, a sociology major, for the leadership in civic engagement he has demonstrated as the co-president of the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA); his work with Dreams Empower CT and its Ice Cream for a Dream program; and his work to promote Lime bike-sharing with the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement.

As a Latinx first-generation college student from New York City, Matthew has made an impact on Trinity College’s long-standing community engagements with Hartford residents and organizations. His approach to leadership encourages fellow students to grow stronger together inside the campus by forging relationships outside the campus… Matthew impresses us with his intelligence, maturity and developing sense of leadership, which focuses on “changing the culture” through collective action and community engagement.” – President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College

Matthew has been a student leader deeply committed to social change during his time at Trinity. He has put time into understanding the root causes of social issues and has contributed to bridging Trinity with communities across Hartford. As part of this work, Matthew has shown a deep commitment to creating spaces for human connection and asking people about their dreams, such as the Ice Cream for a Dream program.  Matthew’s understanding of shared leadership and building organizations for social change has created a strong foundation for the work of MOCA and Dreams Empower CT to live on beyond his graduation. 

Through my work with MOCA (Men of Color Alliance) I learned that community service is much more than just service and giving back and often times the value in community service lies beyond what is tangible. As we prepare for these community service trips we remind ourselves that although we are there to serve,  we must show that we value the people that we are serving by engaging in conversation and learning more about them. We carry this precedent at any and all events that we are apart of because we love our community and want to show each person the love that we have for them on a personal level. – Matthew Rivera ’20

Congratulations again to Matthew and we look forward to seeing the work continue! You have been a force at Trinity in growing new leaders both on and off campus.

View Matthew’s profile on the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows page here.

 

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OCR News, Trinfo.Café


On Trinity’s Local Community webpage, you can learn more about Trinity’s local engagements and read the latest issue of our quarterly community newsletter, Broad Street Happenings. Inside, you’ll find highlights of the academic and volunteer work Trinity College students are doing around the city. The newsletter also lists activities on campus that are free and open to the public. We hope you have a chance to read about the work students are immersing themselves in.

 

Enjoy!

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Feeling Prepared for College: Evaluating the HMTCA-Trinity College Partnership

Since 2011, the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy and Trinity College have offered an early college program. Director of Urban Educational Initiatives, Robert Cotto Jr., has released an evaluation of the HMTCA-Trinity College partnership highlighting the experiences of over 100 survey and focus group participants including HMTCA students and alumni, HMTCA staff, and Trinity College faculty. Key themes included preparedness for college work and classroom interaction, comfort with navigating a college campus, and ideas on how to broaden and strengthen the partnership and promote educational equity in programming. You can read more about the partnership and evaluation report here.


#NoMoreSlumlords in Hartford: Common Hour with Christian Activities Council

Last month, we brought organizers Pastor AJ Johnson, Joshua Serrano, and Ms. Teri Morrison of the Christian Activities Council to Trinity. In the video above, they talk with students, faculty, and other Hartford community partners about the #NoMoreSlumlords campaign in Hartford, where 6 resident leaders in Clay Arsenal organized to eradicate millionaire absentee slumlord Emannuel Ku from Hartford. In Fall 2018, Leah Swope ‘22, Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ‘22, and Renita Washington ‘22 in the Community Action Gateway partnered with Christian Activities Council to help them create a video calling on faith leaders in the metro-Hartford area to take action on social justice campaigns like this one. This semester, Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline is teaching the Community Action Gateway “Building Knowledge for Social Change” course where students are partnering with Make the Road CT, True Colors, Blue Ribbon Strategies and the Unlock the Vote campaign, and Health Equity Solutions. Read more on our blog here and stay tuned for updates on their Spring projects.


Blue Earth Compost Brings Front of House Composting to Mather Dining Hall

The start of the Spring 2019 semester marked the launch of front of house composting in Mather Dining Hall on Trinity College campus. This program is a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement, and community partners at Blue Earth Compost who have worked together to create a sustainable program. In the video above, listen to Eleanor Faraguna ’21, Sustainability Coordinator Rose Rodriguez, and the Bantam for instructions on how to properly use the compost bins. Learn more about the program on our blog here.


Trinity Students Help Hartford Residents with Tax Returns at Pilot VITA Clinic at Trinfo.Café

IRS-certified Trinity College students are available to assist members of the community with preparing their federal and state income tax returns, at no cost. The pilot tax clinic is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford coordinated by United Way and generally serves people who make less than $55,000, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak limited English. Trinity Visiting Professor in Political Science Serena Laws coordinates student volunteers at the site as part of a Community Learning course. To schedule an appointment, dial 2-1-1, visit www.211ct.org or come to Trinfo.Café in person. The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café, located at 1300 Broad Street, is open Mondays 11:00a.m.-3:00p.m. and Fridays 10:00a.m.-1:00p.m. through April 15th, 2019. 


January Experience of Living, Learning, and Outreach (JELLO) Week of Service Was a Success

Last month, a dedicated group of students participated in the January Experience of Living, Learning, and Outreach (JELLO) in Hartford where they organized the Night Fall studio, cleaned Cinestudio, Grace Episcopal Church,and the Church of the Good Shepherd, and picked up furniture and household goods for folks moving out of homelessness with Journey Home. This annual week of service began 10 years ago with the Chapel Council, and today JELLO is a year round community service organization based in the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement. Learn more about JELLO in this piece by Sophia Gourley ‘19.


Anita Davis, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Stops at Trinfo.Café on Campus-Wide Listening Tour

Anita Davis, Trinity College’s new Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, made a stop at Trinfo.Café this month to hear student workers discuss their experiences on campus and working in a community space like Trinfo. You can read more about the college-wide listening tour in the Trinity Reporter here.


Join us for our Spring 2019 Workshop: “Writing with Community Partners” at UCONN Conference on Teaching and Writing on Friday April 5th

The “Writing with Community Partners” workshop will take place during The 2019 UConn Conference on the Teaching of Writing at the Hartford Public Library on Friday, April 5, 2019 from 2:00-4:30 pm. Faculty, students, and community partners will learn about pedagogical and organizational strategies to create reciprocal partnerships that engage students in active learning beyond the classroom and help community organizations reach their goals. Register at the UConn Writing Conference website by March 28th. Find more information here.


The 14th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival is March 29th-March 31st

The 14th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Fest will be held March 29th-March 31st in Mather Hall on Trinity College’s campus. This festival brings together hip-hop artists, academics, activists, and fans from dozens of countries. Students and Hartford residents will have the opportunity to attend performances, film screenings, workshops, lectures, and panel discussions throughout the weekend. Find more information here.



CHER Director: Jack Dougherty
CHER Communications & Data Assistant: Erica Crowley
Community Learning Associate Director: Megan Faver Hartline
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
   JZ-Academic Mentoring Program Coordinator: Beatrice Alicea
Liberal Arts Action Lab Director: Megan Brown
   Communications and Program Assistant: Morgan Finn
Trinfo.Cafe and Office of Community Relations Director: Carlos Espinosa
   Program Manager: Arianna Basche
Urban Educational Initiatives Director: Robert Cotto Jr.

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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 https://cher.trincoll.edu/phc and contact Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu with any questions.

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CHER News

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 Rose.Rodriguez@trincoll.edu.

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CHER News
The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College congratulates Megan Faver Hartline, Ph.D. on her recent promotion to Director of Community Learning. Megan joined Trinity in June 2017 as Associate Director of Community Learning, immediately after completing her doctorate in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Louisville, where her dissertation explored how institutional policies influence faculty and graduate student participation in community engagement programs in higher education.
During her first year-and-a-half at Trinity, Megan stood out for her initiative and leadership on several Community Learning programs, including faculty development workshops and a regional conference series on writing and community engagement. Also, she coordinates recruitment and teaches one semester of the Community Action Gateway program for first-year students, with support from a grant by the Davis Educational Foundation.
Megan Faver Hartline teaches the Community Action Gateway “Building Knowledge for Social Change.”
Megan also launched the Public Humanities Collaborative summer research program that brings together Trinity students, faculty, and Hartford-area community partners. She also was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) in 2018.
In addition to her administrative and teaching work, Megan continues to produce scholarship on community engagement. Her co-edited collection, Writing for Engagement: Responsive Practice for Social Action, was published by Lexington Books in Summer 2018, and later that summer, she published a review essay with Amber Montalvo ’20, “Review: Brokering Tareas: Mexican Immigrant Families Translanguaging Homework Literacies and Community Literacies en Confianza: Learning from Bilingual After-School Programs by Steven Alvarez.” She also has an invited article, “Early Career Scholars’ Encounters, Transitions, Futures: A Conversation on Community Engagement” with Vani Kannan, Charles Lesh, and Jessica Pauszek, forthcoming in Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric. Finally, she and Jack Dougherty recently co-authored an opinion essay, “Your Dean Favors ‘Experiential Liberal Arts’: Now What?” published by Campus Compact for Southern New England.
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Community Learning

The 2019 Conference on the Teaching of Writing will take place at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford campus on Friday, April 5, 2019.

This year’s conference will feature a special afternoon workshop event organized by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning, Center for Hartford Engagement and Research at Trinity College:

WRITING WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS

This workshop is conducted by our conference co-sponsors: Trinity College (Hartford, CT)  Outreach & Engagement. This FREE 2.5 hour afternoon workshop brings together faculty, students, and community partners to discuss strategies for projects that use writing to contribute to social change in your local community. Learn about pedagogical and organizational strategies to create reciprocal partnerships that engage students in active learning beyond the classroom and help community organizations reach their goals. This workshop is presented by Trinity College Community Learning and is open to faculty, staff, and community partners who are interested in strengthening their approach to writing across university/community partnerships.

For more information, see the UCONN English Department’s First-Year Writing page here.

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CHER News
Students! Apply by Tuesday February 19th for summer research jobs in Hartford through Trinity’s Public Humanities Collaborative.

Up to 16 students will be funded to work full-time in teams of 2 or more for 10 weeks from May 20-July 26. During this program, students will:

  • Work as a research assistant for a faculty member on a scholarly project for 15 hours/week
  • Intern with a Hartford-area organization on a public humanities exhibit, project, or event for 15 hours/week
  • Attend weekly workshops on digital tools and community partnerships

Students selected for this program will receive a $3500 stipend plus 10 weeks of free housing at Trinity. The Public Humanities Collaborative 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.


Opportunities to work on faculty scholarship are wide ranging…
  • Archiving and sharing the U.S. Latinx experience in Hartford
  • Archiving real estate documents from Seneca Village, the largest African American community in New York City
  • Researching the afterlives of Renaissance poets featured in Watskinson Library’s rare book holdings
  • Website development for the English department’s “Hidden Literacies” symposium roles which will explore the role reading and writing have played in the lives of marginalized Americans
  • Building an online archive or Caribbean anti-colonial thought
  • Creating oral history podcasts on LGBTQ life in Hartford
Possible community partner projects also include…
  • Making the case for collective culture and social cohesion with Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Develop an interactive website documenting the changes and development of Coltsville National Historical Park since it’s inception in 1855 to today
  • Research the effects of urban renewal in Willimantic, Connecticut during the 1970s, which primarily displaced Latino immigrants, many from Puerto Rico who were recruited to work in the City’s factories – with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center
  • Transcribe and digitize the unpublished sermons of 18th-centrury writer and activist Joseph Johnson (Mohegan) with the Connecticut Historical Society
  • In partnership with CT Landmarks, research, produce, and pilot an event to engage local college students, young professionals, and other young adults with Hartford history and Connecticut Landmarks’ Hartford sites
  • Create a new exhibit on Hartford Jewish Women Trailblazers with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford
  • Organize Talkback Tuesdays at TheaterWorks along the themes of Consent, Race and College Culture, What it means to “live the dream,” the “real” side of restaurant work, celebrity foodie-ism, and more.
  • Develop an Afro-Cosmologies Exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture
  • Collecting oral histories at the Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine, the first chartered copper mine and first state prison in the nation.
  • Identify and research “Migrant Zero,” Chain Migration, and Black Flight among West Indians in Hartford County, and the implications for home ownership and real estate entrepreneurship – with the West Indian Foundation
  • Assist with research on the project “Unvarnished: Moving History Organizations to Interpret De Facto Segregation in the Northern and Western United States” with Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
  • Research the history and architecture of sites on the Charter Oak Mile
  • In partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts, coordinate a literary arts network and create a publicly available database of literary artists that is reflective of all communities across the state of Connecticut, including historically marginalized communities.
To apply:
  • Read faculty and community partner proposals to find projects.
  • Contact the faculty you are interested in working with to set up a meeting and discuss their project.
  • Apply through the Summer Research Program website. You will need to indicate which faculty project you want to work on and rank your preferred community partner projects.

Questions? Please contact Director of Community Learning and Public Humanities Collaborative Coordinator Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu

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CHER News

 

Throwback to last Thursday! In community organizing, there’s hot anger and there’s cold anger, and that anger is useful. In the video abovePastor AJ Johnson and Joshua Serrano, organizers with the Christian Activities Council, talk about how 6 resident leaders in Clay Arsenal Rennaissance apartments organized to eradicate millionare absentee slumlord Emmanuel Ku from Hartford. Residents were facing rats, asthma and respiratory conditions, and inaccessible units for years and, due to the success of this campaign, hundreds of residents have since been relocated to sanitary properties.

One of the key pieces of this campaign was going door-to-door to talk with residents about their experiences and living conditions in the building. Teri Morrison, one of the resident leaders, described how sometimes families want to remain anonymous but their stories are critical to the movement.

“Some families don’t want to tell their story themselves, but they will allow you to tell their story, and those are pivotal. Those are the parents that have special needs kids or an elderly adult parent or spouse. For example, we had some places that are not handicap accessible. My former tenant’s son died a few years ago, and he was in a wheelchair. Two years later, his lift in the apartment was still there because management hadn’t taken it down. She still had to look at that for two years after her son died and that was her story. We want to see immediate change. -Teri Morrison, resident leader.

Pastor AJ and resident leader Josh Serrano also went over the basics of community organizing including how they did their research on every person they met with and rehearsed every meeting to ensure they got the answers and results they needed. Pastor AJ also touched on the history of organizing as a tool to build power among people of color.

Power in this country comes in two forms. Organized money and organized people. And for the most part, people of color in this country didn’t have what someone like Donald Trump had, they didn’t have real organized money. But the way things got done for people of color, was through organizing. – Pastor AJ Johnson

Since the success of this campaign and taking slumlord Emmanuel Ku out of Hartford, CAC has looked to other apartment complexes with similar issues in Hartford. Along the vein of traditional community organizing, CAC staff refuse to speak for tenants, and instead look to identify leaders to move the campaigns forward. In Hartford, dangerous housing conditions are all too common, but this campaign has proven that people who build enough power can change that.

What has been proven in the last year and a half, is that organized people have gone up against the Federal government and won a decision. Organized people have been moved out of their apartments because they organized, and showed force. They showed power, acted, and got results. If there’s one thing I can leave with you, it’s that you should go into these communities and listen to some of the issues and try to help organize around it. Don’t come in like a white-horse savior trying to fix everything, because you can’t. It takes an organized group of people who are actually in the situation to speak out and give themselves a voice. – Pastor AJ Johnson

In Fall 2018, students in the Community Action Gateway “Envisioning Social Change” were able to work with Christian Activities Council to produce a video about organizing faith leaders in the metro-Hartford region around social justice issues. You can view their Fall work here. Thank you to Director of Community Learning Megan Hartline for opening this relationship with CAC and to Prof. Serena Laws for working with students through the semester.

We were also lucky to be joined by colleagues from the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Open Communities Alliance, City of Hartford Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez’ staff and City of Hartford Councilwoman Claudine Fox’s staff.


To learn more about Christian Activities Council, visit christianactivities.org. If you are a community partner interested in partnering with Trinity College in the future, or a faculty member interested in developing a Community Learning course component and relationships with community partners in Hartford, please contact Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) Communications and Data Assistant erica.crowley@trincoll.edu.

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Public Humanities Collaborative Applications Due January 31st

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) is currently accepting research proposals from Hartford area individuals and organizations pursuing humanities-based projects who are interested in employing 2-4 student researchers during Summer 2019. Each PHC team includes a Hartford-area humanities partner (such as museums, libraries, cultural institutions, or related organizations), a Trinity faculty fellow, and two to four Trinity student researchers. Students work approximately 15 hours a week on projects such as an oral history collection, interactive website, community discussion, exhibit, public performance, etc. and another 15 hours a week with faculty on their humanities-oriented scholarship (such as journal articles, book chapters, or digital remediations of projects). To learn more and submit a proposal visit https://cher.trincoll.edu/phc or contact Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu.


Liberal Arts Action Lab Proposals Due February 27th

Do you have a research question you need answered? The Liberal Arts Action Lab is accepting proposals from Hartford community partners that define problems facing the city. Projects may include community surveys, digital storytelling, GIS mapping and spatial analysis, data visualizations, qualitative interviewing, case study and best practices research, public history, policy analysis, and more. You can view past projects and submit a proposal at https://action-lab.org. To ask questions or discuss your proposal, contact Action Lab Director Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu.


Join us for a Community Learning Brainstorming Lunch January 29th

Join us on Tuesday January 29th for a Community Learning Brainstorming Lunch with Dr. Amber Pitt featuring the Community Learning course “ENVS 141 Global Perspectives on Biodiversity & Conservation.” Students in the course learned about the current biodiversity crisis, the role of humans in these processes, and the role of government in conserving biological diversity. On the local level, student groups worked with the City of Hartford and Trinity College Sustainability coordinators and community partners at Blue Earth Composting to increase composting and sustainability on campus, planted milkweed with Friends of Goodwin Park to restore monarch butterfly populations, and removed invasive species and planted native species in Bushnell Park to restore habitats. This event is open to current and prospective Hartford partners, as well as members of the Trinity community. RSVP here to join on us Tuesday January 29th from 12:15-1:15 in McCook Hall 201 on Trinity College’s campus.


Mayor Bronin’s Town Hall Meeting at Trinfo.Cafe

 

Last month, Trinfo.Cafe welcomed Mayor Bronin for a community discussion. Residents had the opportunity to ask questions on topics such as the deteriorated sidewalks on Park Street, the Reentry Welcome Center, and lack of trust between residents and police officers. Attendees were able to voice their experiences and questions, and almost everyone formed new personal relationships with people who had similar concerns. Director of Trinfo.Cafe, Carlos Espinosa, described Trinfo as a community space “to create relationships between cross-sections of people that, oftentimes, wouldn’t come across one another.” Trinfo.Cafe has served Hartford residents for nearly 20 years and provides access to computers and digital literacy curriculum. Learn more at https://trinfocafe.org


#NoMoreSlumlords Social Justice in Housing Discussion with Christian Activities Council – January 24th

Isaac Lawson (CAC), Leah Swope ’22, Pastor AJ Johnson (CAC), Renita Washington ’11, Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ’22 at last semester’s Community Action Gateway Shareback Dinner.
Come listen to Pastor AJ Johnson speak about CAC’s organizing strategy in Hartford. Learn more in their recent NBC News segment here and Join us Thursday January 24th 12:15-1:15 – Mather Hall, Rittenberg Lounge, Trinity College Campus.


Education Beyond Schooling: The Power of Community-Centered Research for Youth of Color – Feb. 5thPanelists Dr. Eujin Park, Research Assistant, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois and Dr. Julissa Ventura, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Education & Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder will highlight the important work that community-based organizations do to support youth of color. Given that schools often fall short in supporting students of color, it is essential to pay attention to spaces where essential and nurturing work is taking place. The panelists will also discuss how they have navigated relationships with community organizations as they have engaged in research. Join us February 5th, 12:15-1:15, Mather Hall, Wean Terrace Rooms BC, Trinity College Campus.

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Community Learning
This semester, the Community Learning Research Fellows had the opportunity to collaborate with community partners and faculty sponsors on community-based research projects. During the semester, fellows engaged in Community-Based Research, which emphasizes problem solving and communications skills beyond the mold of traditional academic research. This type of research helps students understand how to engage with the needs of a community, build partnerships with people directly involved, and transform their space to enact social change.
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Trinfo News

All photo credits to hannah grosberg.


Trinfo Cafe partnered with The Mill and Iron Poets to host a Community Open Mic Night. As the event started, guests socialized, enjoyed free refreshments, and settled in for the open mic. A few people signed up to perform.

Versatile Poetiq, a member of the Iron Poets and MC for the evening, opened with a spoken word poem. She also commenced a community poem by sending around a notebook for participants to write in. Each writer is allowed to read the final 2 lines of the poem before adding to it and passing it on to someone else, resulting in one long free-form poem.

First up on the program was Isabel Exstein ’19, co-president of Iron Poets, performing a spoken word poem. After a performance from Zulynette, the list of people on the sign up sheet had been exhausted. After cheers from the crowd, others came forward to perform.

The night was filled with surprise performances. When a pair of dancers took the stage, the crowd was happy to accommodate the performance, sliding their chairs back a couple of feet to give the dancers space.

Isabel Extein said the highlight was watching people with no intention of performing, feel inspired to share. “The event had started off with a quiet turnout, but by the end, a whole mass of participants were eager to go to the center and perform their songs, dances, and poems!”

To close out the event, a volunteer from the crowd came up to read the full community poem aloud.

Karen Griffin, a regular patron at Trinfo, attended the Open Mic. She said,

“The poems, you got a lot out of it. It talked. It actually talked to you.” She added, “I not only enjoyed the acts, but I enjoyed the gathering of it… I also got to share about the things that I do [at Trinfo], how they can utilize this, and it can work for them.” -Karen Griffin

The thing that stood out most to Karen? “What was key: it was a positive vibe.”

Exstein said that creating a supportive environment is what the open mic was all about.

When someone shares their art, to an extent, they are sharing a piece of their soul. By bringing people together in an event like this, automatically a space is created to allow people to share these treasured thoughts and ideas in a way that is unique to them.” -Isabel Exstein ’19, Co-President of Iron Poets

 

We extend a special thank you to the Iron Poets, Arianna Basche, Program Manager at Trinfo.Cafe, the Mill, and hannah grosberg.


The Iron Poets is a group of writers made up of Trinity students and members of the Hartford community. They host bi-monthly writing circles, open to the public. Check them out on Facebook for more information.

 

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Community Service
It’s safe to say that students, faculty, and staff within CHER programs have been going full steam ahead on promoting student learning and action on housing and homelessness issues this semester. From the Trinity Homelessness Project’s weekend trips to work with Journey Home, Professor Stefanie Chambers’ Community Learning Urban Politics students working on creating a digital version of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center’s Hartford Fair Housing History Tour, to the Liberal Arts Action Lab Homeownership project with community partners at Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, we have seen a real commitment to understanding how people are living and the conditions that make it this way. Last week, Trinity Homelessness Project and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement along with Amnesty International, Chapel Council, JELLO Community Service Organization, Trinity Young Democratic Socialists of America, Women & Gender Resource Action Center, and the Asian American Students Association brought Hands on Hartford’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau to Trinity’s campus. The Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau travels around the state to share their experiences of homelessness and educate others on the causes of homelessness and ways they can contribute to creating change.
I assumed that people who were homeless all had substance use disorders or mental illnesses. Then I learned that there are so many people like me, who simply can’t earn a living wage. At shelters in Hartford, we have waiting lists as long as 600 people. Shelters are not the answer— people need to be housed and there is simply not enough affordable housing. When you think about jobs and housing, it’s not that surprising.” – Anne Goshdigan, Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau
Speakers Anne, Joe and Sal discussed their experiences while homeless including the factors that led to it and the difficulties they had navigating various systems to get help. Joe said,
“I had tried everything and I ended up getting to the point where I called Senator Blumenthal’s office because I didn’t know who else to call. It was his office that cut through all the red tape to help me get on my feet, and I kept thinking how hard that is for the average person. We’ve come a long way since then in Connecticut, but there is a lot more to do.”
You can listen to more of Joe’s story in the video below, and learn more about Hands on Hartford’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau on their website here.

Thank you to Hands on Hartford, the Trinity Homelessness Project, the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement, Amnesty International, Chapel Council, JELLO Community Service Organization, Trinity Young Democratic Socialists of America, Women & Gender Resource Action Center, and the Asian American Students Association for making this event possible.
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Community Learning

In the Community Action Gateway, first-year students learn how to create social change with Hartford organizations, organizers, non-profit directors, and social entrepreneurs in Hartford. In Fall 2018, Community Action Gateway students created one-minute videos with their community partners that the organizations can use to promote their work.


Make the Road Connecticut is an “organization that builds membership with low-income and working class Latinos living in Bridgeport and Hartford. It has become a powerful voice on immigrant rights, worker rights, public schools, LGBTQ justice, and more.” Wendy Salto ’22, Rakan AlZhaga ’22, and Olivia Louthen ’22 worked with Make the Road’s committee “Madres Guerreras” whose mission is to learn and engage with the school system, their families, and the committee to give their children the best possible education. Mirka Dominguez of Make the Road CT told students:

“It’s those small steps that are what is sustainable. These issues we are fighting have been around for hundreds of years. They are systemic. Huge movements are not sustainable and allies get tired really quickly. It’s the baby steps that make the change.” – Mirka Dominguez, Make the Road CT Community Organizer


Christian Activities Council is an organization developing leaders who act collectively for social justice in Greater Hartford. Their work includes organizing clergy to build multi-faith, multi-issue power organization in Metro-Hartford as well as neighborhood organizing on particular issues. Leah Swope ’22, Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ’22, and Renita Washington ’22 learned about all facets of their organizing, including the No More Slumlords campaign where tenants in affordable housing complexes in the North End have demanded better living conditions.  Organizer and Pastor AJ Johnson told students,

“CAC is doing some amazing, life-changing work. We listen to the issues in the community and find out if they are actionable, winnable, and accountable. We are calling on the churches in any community to be the dog that is ready to fight for the people in the community.”


Billings Forge Community Works is an organization that operates two cafes in Hartford and offers job training to residents who have faces challenges in accessing employment. Keane Fajardo ’22, Coleman McJessy ’22, and Djamilatou Camara ’22 learned about the Culinary Job training program which includes on the job training in culinary skills, Servsafe training and certification, and a job counselor to work on resume development, mock interviews, and the job search.

When you eat at the Kitchen, you are supporting more than just a local business. You are supporting a mission: making lives better through food.


reSET Social Enterprise Trust is a non-profit organization advancing the social enterprise sector. They are a go-to place for impact entrepreneurs offering impact accelerator programs, co-working space and community forums, mentor networking, and more. Kien Le ’22, Sophia Lopez ’22, and Dasha Maliauskaya support entrepreneurs in creating market-based solutions to community challenges.

These organizations can show people that they can do something if they have the resources to make change. They are giving people the chance to fight for something. You don’t need to have a particular background in something if you can find the resources, find the “how” and empower people.” -Dasha Maliauskaya ’22


The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is working to ensure that all people have equal access to housing opportunities in Connecticut, free from discrimination. India Rhodes ’22, Karolina Barrientos ’22, and Richard Perry III ’22 learned about the intersection of poverty and housing discrimination, foreclosure prevention, anti-predatory lending, and fair lending efforts in the organization’s work.

“We are the only agency  in the state that protects housing civil rights. At the Connecticut Fair Housing Center we want people to know that we are here, and we’re here to protect their rights.” -James Dresser, Fair Housing Specialist


Thank you to Professor Serena Laws, Associate Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline, and Faculty Director of Community Learning Jack Dougherty. To learn more about Community Learning, click here.

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CHER News, Urban Ed

It’s safe to say over the past month we have hit the ground running at CHER. Our students and faculty have begun applying for Action Lab project teams for 2019, taken a bus around the city to tour the history of discriminatory housing policies in Hartford, engaged in hard conversations about free speech on campus when it comes to race and gender, and Trinfo Cafe student workers have even launched an after school ecology curriculum. This is the type of community work that can only be done in partnership with Hartford organizations.

Take a look…

Action Lab Student and Faculty Applications Due Wednesday Oct. 24th

Last month the Liberal Arts Action Lab received 20 proposals from prospective Hartford community partners, and each described a research question or problem that they would like help in answering. Last week, the Hartford Resident Advisory Board reviewed all of the proposals and prioritized 6 to advance to the next stage. Depending on interest level, the Action Lab will support 4 project teams during the Spring 2019 semester.

  • Culinary Careers Project: Billings Forge Community Works asks for research to improve its training programs for entry-level food service workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs.

  • Neighborhood Needs Project: Southwest and Behind the Rocks Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) requests a community survey to better understand local needs and assets.

  • Student Success Project: West Indian Foundation asks for research to improve the integration of West Indian children and families into Hartford-area schools.

  • Colt Park Project: The National Parks Service and its Hartford partners seek a better model to estimate annual park usage and collect data about people’s experiences at Colt Park.

  • Latinx Theater Project: Hartford Stage requests local research with Hartford’s Latinx arts community to improve and expand their partnerships and programming.

  • Riverside Recapture Project: Riverfront Recapture asks for research with Hartford’s North End neighborhoods to guide their two-mile expansion of the Riverwalk trail system.

Students and faculty can learn more and apply online at http://action-lab.org

Community Learning in Hartford: Connecticut Fair Housing Center

In the video above, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center invited students in Professor Stefanie Chambers’ Urban Politics course to ride the bus and experience the Center’s “Hartford Fair Housing History Tour.” In turn, students are helping the Center to research and digitize archival materials to create a mobile-friendly digital version of the tour, in order to reach broader audiences. Fionnoula Darby-Hudgens of the CT Fair Housing Center says, “The purpose of the tour is to show how discriminatory policies have shaped our environment and contributed to the economic and racial segregation of our neighborhoods today… as a bus tour we can only reach small sets of people a few times a year, so we are building a digital tour and it’s Professor Chambers’ students who are collecting the artifacts and doing the research that will help tell this story in a digital format.”

Civic Engagement and Free Speech: Trin Talks

Last week, ConnPIRG and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement hosted the first “Trin Talk” of the semester, with the evening’s questions focused on social media and free speech. In the video above, student panelists of different experiences, backgrounds, and opinions share their thoughts on the use of social media, racist posts that went viral over summer break, and the responses they would like to see in the Trinity College community.

The topic of free speech on campus could not be more timely as we welcomed the Connecticut Supreme Court to Trinity’s campus October 17th. Two oral arguments took place in the Washington Room. In one of the cases, Central Connecticut State University student Austin Haughwout sued administrators after he was expelled for making statements and gestures related to guns and mass gun violence.  Mr. Haughwout claimed that the school violated his right to freedom of speech and is appealing from the trial court decision which upheld his expulsion.

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy to Trinity College: Bea Dresser, ‘22

Bea Dresser ’22 is a current Trinity College student who attended the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Through Urban Educational Initiatives, a CHER program directed by Robert Cotto, Jr., HMTCA students have the opportunity to have an early college experience on Trinity’s campus. We asked Bea, “What do you like most about Trinity College so far?” She said, “I appreciate the resources and classes available at Trinity. I am currently in the Pre-Law Society, volunteering for Capitol Squash, and am working at the Trinfo Cafe. Additionally, I am taking interesting classes such as my political science course Prison and Justice in America… Whether it is outside or inside the classroom, I suggest that you pursue something that makes you want to work hard, and once you find that continue to be an innovative leader within that capacity.” Read the full interview here.

Trinfo Cafe Kicks Off After School Programming with OPMAD  (Organized Parents Make a Difference)

Last week, Trinfo cafe kicked off its after school programming with community partner, Organized Parents Make a Difference (OPMAD). Trinity student, Kayla Betts ‘21, is leading weekly after school media literacy workshops at Environmental Sciences Magnet School and Kennelly Elementary School. Over the course of this 8-week long program, Kayla will lead the students through lessons on ecology-related topics, culminating in a workshop on reducing carbon emissions in our homes and communities. Kayla said, “I love seeing the excited faces when explaining what the agenda will be for the class… It’s rewarding to be able to work with bright students that have so many questions. It is honestly my favorite part of the day.”

Join us October 28th!

Join us for the 29th Annual Halloween on Vernon Street on Sunday October 28th from 1:00-3:30PM. This family friendly celebration includes games, costumes, crafts, pumpkins, and candy!


Questions? Suggestions? Contact us at CHER.

Jack Dougherty, CHER Director

Erica Crowley, CHER Communications & Data Assistant

Joe Barber, Community Service and Civic Engagement

Megan Brown, Liberal Arts Action Lab

Robert Cotto Jr., Urban Educational Initiatives

Carlos Espinosa, Trinfo.Café

Megan Faver Hartline, Community Learning

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CHER News

Listening to Community Partners:
Key Takeaways from 2018 Focus Groups

In late summer 2018, we were pleased to have focus group participation by 21 of our Hartford-area community partners, representing 20 different non-profit organizations and neighborhood groups that had collaborated with Trinity students through various CHER programs (Community Learning, Community Service & Civic Engagement, Liberal Arts Action Lab, Trinfo.Cafe, and Urban Educational Initiatives). This report summarizes six key findings, from the positive direct benefits of community partnerships, to the need to improve two-way relationships between Hartford and Trinity, to mixed opinions about the overall impact of our work in the city. Read the full report here.

Apply for the Public Humanities Collaborative by January 31st

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) is currently accepting research proposals from Hartford-area community partners and Trinity faculty members pursuing humanities-based projects who are interested in hiring 2-4 student researchers during Summer 2019. PHC a component of Trinity College’s Summer Research Program that is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which brings together students, faculty, and individuals and organizations in Hartford to work on public humanities: the study of how people interpret stories of our human experience. Learn more about past projects and how you can apply here.

Common Hour Recap: Homelessness, Affordable Housing, and Housing Segregation

Last week, the Department of Public Policy and Law, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, the Trinity Homelessness Project, and the Trinity Young Democratic Socialists organized a Common Hour event, “Addressing Homelessness and Affordable Housing in Connecticut” with guest speaker Erin Boggs of Open Communities Alliance. Erin discussed OCA’s work addressing the opportunity gap in Connecticut and her coalition work with partners around the state (such as the Christian Activities Council in Hartford). She also presented research on how homelessness and affordable housing policies reinforce the history of housing segregation and disinvestment in communities of color in our state. When Kyle Fields ‘21 of the Trinity Homelessness Project asked Erin, “What should we be doing to try and solve these huge problems?” Erin said, “One piece of this is to ensure there are affordable housing choices in higher opportunity areas, and the other piece is to do investments in the areas that are struggling.” Read the full blog post with a video recap here.

The Liberal Arts Action Lab Announces Digital Poster Fair December 10th and Spring 2019 Projects

Save the date for the Liberal Arts Action Lab Digital Poster Fair coming up on December 10th from 3:00-5:30PM at the Action Lab, 10 Constitution Plaza. Projects include:
  • Food Stories with the Connecticut Food System Alliance and Faculty Fellow Sarah Moon (University of Connecticut)

  • Opportunity Youth Project with Capital Workforce Partners and Faculty Fellow Alyson Spurgas

  • Homeownership Project with Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner and Faculty Fellow Vanessa de la Torre (WNPR CT Public Radio)

  • Sustainable Foods Project with the City of Hartford’s Office of Sustainabilityand Faculty Fellow Christoph Geiss

In September, the Liberal Arts Action Lab received 20 proposals from Hartford community partners that were voted on by the Hartford resident advisory board. The Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed 4 research teams for Spring 2019. The four teams for Spring 2019 are as follows:

  • Culinary Careers Project with Billings Forge and Faculty Fellow India Weaver, Capital Community College

  • Student Success Project with the West Indian Foundation and Faculty Fellow Cleo Rolle, Capital Community College

  • Latinx Theater Project with Hartford Stage and Faculty Fellow Diana Aldrete, Trinity College

  • Riverside Recapture Project with Riverfront Recapture and Faculty Fellow Stefanie Chambers, Trinity College

To read the full project descriptions, read the blog post here.

HMTCA-Trinity Academic Collaboration

Proposals Due December 14th

Over the years, there has been increased interest for supporting innovative projects to benefit students at both HMTCA and Trinity College. All proposals must include and benefit both HMTCA and Trinity students. Preference will be given to projects that also include both HMTCA and Trinity faculty/staff, and include multicultural and/or multilingual education. View the proposal guidelines here and submit your short proposal to cover expenses (<1000 words) via e-mail to Robert.Cotto@trincoll.edu by December 14th, 2018.

Take a look back at the 29th Annual
Halloween on Vernon Street!

On the Sunday before Halloween, Trinfo.Cafe, Trinity Greek life organizations and cultural houses such as Umoja House and La Voz Latina opened their doors on Vernon Street to provide games, candy, and music for families in the Hartford area. Volunteers organized by ACES (the Annual Community Events Staff) and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement showed families the circuit around Vernon Street, ending at the pumpkin patch at Trinfo Cafe. Check out our full blog post here.

Join us for the Cranksgiving Bike Race
on Saturday November 17th

This is an annual bike race collecting grocery items to benefit the Grace Episcopal Food Pantry in Hartford, 55 New Park Avenue. Bring $20 to purchase items, your bike, a helmet, a lock, friends, and a backpack to carry food items. If you do not have a bike, don’t worry! Bikes can be provided if we are notified ahead of time you will need one. See the Facebook event here and register ahead at http://bit.ly/2zuEtHz.

Don’t Miss This:
Community Open Mic Night on Thursday Nov. 29th!

Trinfo.Cafe, Iron Poets, and the Mill are collaborating to present a Community Open Mic Night! Come showcase your music, storytelling, comedy or poetry in a supportive environment. This event is FREE and open to the public. All are welcome. The crowd here wants you to do your thing and have a good time! Join us on Thursday 11/29, 6:00-8:00PM at Trinfo.Cafe, 1300 Broad Street. Sign up to perform upon arrival, or email arianna.basche@trincoll.edu to sign up in advance. Be sure to bring friend and share our Facebook event here.


Questions? Suggestions? Contact us at CHER.

Jack Dougherty, CHER Director

Erica Crowley, CHER Communications & Data Assistant

Joe Barber, Director, Community Service and Civic Engagement

Beatrice Alicea, Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program Coordinator

Megan Brown, Director, Liberal Arts Action Lab

Morgan Finn, Communications and Program Assistant, Liberal Arts Action La

Robert Cotto Jr., Director, Urban Educational Initiative

Carlos Espinosa, Director, Trinfo.Cafe

Megan Faver Hartline, Associate Director, Office of Community Learning

 

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Last week, Professor Serena Laws’ “Envisioning Social Change” students in the first semester of the Community Action Gateway shared their video projects with Hartford community partners. In the Community Action Gateway, students have the opportunity to work on community-based research or social change projects with Hartford-area community activists, neighborhood organizers, government leaders, non-profit leaders, journalists, and social entrepreneurs. This semester, students partnered with Billings Forge Community Works, Christian Activities Council, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Make the Road Connecticut, and ReSet Social Enterprise Trust.

At the Shareback dinner, held at the Liberal Arts Action Lab downtown,  students to debuted their 1-minute videos and Professors Serena Laws and Jack Dougherty facilitated the conversation between last year’s gateway students, current students, and community partners to discuss social change in Hartford. Check out the video below to see a recap of the discussion.

Students will soon be working on proposals for Spring 2019 social change projects. Thank you to Professor Serena Laws, Associate Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline, and Faculty Director of Community Learning Jack Dougherty for making these opportunities available to first year students.

Click here learn more about the Community Action Gateway.

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Last week, Brett Davidson from the Connecticut Bail Fund came to speak at Common Hour with the Trinity Young Democratic Socialists and Human Rights Department. The Connecticut Bail Fund is a grassroots organization whose mission is to abolish mass criminalization, incarceration, and deportation. They pay bail for people who are incarcerated due to poverty, and then once they are free, work alongside them and their families to advocate for their human rights. Brett said since 2016, they have freed over 250 people.

Most states, including Connecticut, have a cash bail system. This means that after an arrest, a person’s ability to leave jail before their trial is dependent on their ability to pay. Brett said in legal theory, bail is supposed to be imposed on someone who is a flight risk— to ensure that they return to court to face their charges. In reality, however, bail has become wealth-based in incarceration. According to the ACLU, over 70% of people in jail at any given time in the U.S. have not been convicted of a crime.

When a judge sets that kind of bail for someone who, for example, doesn’t have a job, they know that person isn’t getting out.” 

One student asked about the role of public defenders and the ways that people are treated when they cannot afford representation. Brett said,

In the communities where we work the public defenders are known as public pretenders. They are so overloaded with cases. A lot of public defenders don’t want us to bail our their clients because it’s easier to process the cases with the clients incarcerated. There’s also this mistaken notion that people get services when they’re in jail, such as drug rehabilitation. However, in my experience it takes at least 5-6 months to access any services.”

Students asked, “What’s the relationship between bail and the larger criminal injustice system? What could bail reform look like in Connecticut?” Brett said, “Around the country there’s a growing movement to end money bail. Right now we decide who gets locked up vs who gets to fight their cases from the outside is based on who has money. The short answer is: it’s complicated. A lot of people around the country are now looking to Risk Assessment as a way to reform, however these assessments use really dangerous proxies for race, such as what magazines someone subscribes to, for example.

Instead, the bail fund focuses on a combination of meeting people’s immediate needs (bailing them out and using a harm reduction model in their work) as well as working on the abolition of incarceration altogether. To end the talk, Brett encouraged to group that instead of thinking about the notion of dangerousness or “violent criminals” the real questions they could be asking are, “When violence happens? What is the response? What are ways that we can look at restorative justice and transformative justice?”


To learn more about the Connecticut Bail Fund, visit http://www.ctbailfund.org. Thank you to the Human Rights Department, Trinity Young Democratic Socialists of America, and the Connecticut Bail Fund.

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Call for Proposals 2018-19
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) – Trinity College
Academic Collaboration Grants

Background
Academic collaboration between Trinity College and HMTCA has grown since the formal partnership agreement between the two organizations in 2011. The partnership includes two summer academies at Trinity for HMTCA 9th and 10th grade students, academic collaboration in specific academic departments, HMTCA students taking introductory Trinity classes, attendance at Trinity lectures and programs, and a number of other academic and service projects. As of summer 2018, the HMTCA-Trinity College partnership is supported by Urban Educational Initiatives in the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity. Learn more about this partnership here.

Objective
Over the years, there has been increased interest for supporting innovative projects to benefit students at both HMTCA and Trinity College. Some of these projects may be one-time projects (designed for a short period) and others may be pilot programs (to test an idea for a potentially longer period). As these efforts expand, it is important to support new projects and share the accomplishments of academic collaboration between the two institutions.
This call for proposals supports one-time or pilot projects that strengthen the HMTCA-Trinity College partnership. Resources from the Urban Educational Initiatives and Community Learning budgets may fund up to two projects at $1,000 each during the remainder of the 2018-19 academic year. All proposals must include and benefit both HMTCA and Trinity students. Preference will be given to projects that also include both HMTCA and Trinity faculty/staff, and include multicultural and/or multilingual education.

Guidelines
Short proposals (<1000 words) to support expenses for academic collaborations between HMTCA and Trinity College should be submitted by December 14, 2018. Please refer questions and submit completed proposals to Robert Cotto, Director of Urban Education Initiatives, 860 297-4100. Submit proposals via e-mail to robert.cotto@trincoll.edu

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Names and contact information for Trinity and HMTCA faculty and/or staff collaborators
  • Specific time period of the academic collaboration (such as a date, month, or semester in 2018-19)
  • Course titles and student enrollments (or if the collaboration is not classroom-based, carefully describe the participants and setting)
  • Description of academic collaboration, including goals, methods, anticipated challenges, and strategies to overcome them
  • Description of documentation and/or sharing of accomplishments
  • Benefits: How does this project benefit both Trinity and HMTCA students? Also, does it include multicultural and/or multilingual benefits for students? How does this project enrich the curriculum?
  • Budget: We welcome proposals with specific budgets, using any of these categories:
    1) Planning (provide detail)
    2) Materials (art supplies, lab materials, books not otherwise covered by existing institutional budgets)
    3) Documentation (for example, costs to document the presentation of a collaborative project)
    4) Additional compensation (with approval by direct supervisor, up to $750 may be used for faculty or staff additional compensation)
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Nat Bush ’19 is the co-president of the Green Campus Club at Trinity College, part of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. We asked Nat to be a guest blogger and write about their experience attending the Students for Zero Waste Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Check out Nat’s guest blog below.


Last weekend, myself and other student representatives from the Green Campus club attended the Students for Zero Waste conference at the University of Pennsylvania. This conference, provided by PLAN (Post-Landfill Action Network) is an annual two-day conference hosted at a different campus each year on the East Coast.

They provide students with dozens of workshops that teach them how to incorporate a zero waste lifestyle into their personal, school, and professional life. In addition, the conference itself is zero waste, meaning that no trash is produced for the duration of the weekend. Students are encouraged to bring their own silverware, Tupperware, dish cloth, and other products that normally would be tossed out.

This conference was absolutely transformative for me. I went to the conference 2 years ago as well, when it was at University of New Hampshire, but at the time I wasn’t aware enough of how I could implement zero waste efforts into the Trinity campus community. Now that I’ve had 3 years of experience with Green Campus, EROS, and my other involvements at Trinity, I’ve been able to take the lessons provided at the conference and compare them with how I’ve run things on campus. For example, one workshop taught me how to prevent burnout and inspire club members to maintain their involvement in the club. It is easy to get caught up in your own responsibilities as a president or other leading position in a club, and therefore get burnt out and lose interest in continuing your involvement. In order to fix this, the workshop taught us it’s necessary to include each and every club member, to tell them how they matter to you, why you appreciate having them in the club, and providing them with meaningful work that will reassure them that their membership matters.

Another workshop was run by three costume designers who make their clothing from discarded fabrics. In a capitalist society we are accustomed to throwing away things we no longer want, and we don’t see where our waste goes. We put it into a trash can and often don’t see the other side, where the waste gets incinerated or sent to a landfill. Clothes that just have a hole or two in them can still be worn for many years, and even if they’re ripped to the point of being unwearable, it’s possible to repurpose them. One woman leading the workshop gave an example of a beautiful dress she bought in the 1970s that she then turned into a skirt. The fashion industry is incredibly wasteful, so there are plenty of opportunities for repurposing the fabric they use into new and unique designs.

I highly encourage that students at Trinity continue to attend this conference. Even if it’s just a few representatives, they can document what they learned and bring it back to their clubs on campus to make Trinity a more sustainable and active community.


Green Campus is committed to fostering respect for the environment and implementing sustainable practices on Trinity’s campus and throughout the Hartford community. Be sure to follow Green Campus on their new Instagram account @tcgreencampus.

Special thanks to Nat Bush ’19 and other Green Campus student reps!

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With over 20 proposals submitted by Hartford community partners, the Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed 4 research teams for Spring 2019. These project teams will focus on a diverse set of issues facing Hartford from developing culinary job training to expanding park and trail access. All students will meet together in the Action Research Methods course on Monday afternoons and also will participate in one of the four Hartford research project teams below:

Culinary Careers Project

Food service is one of the few options open to people with barriers to employment, especially in Hartford. Many people of color and women, however, are mired in entry-level positions without advancing due to lack of training and often-unconscious racism and sexism in the culinary sector. In this project, students will conduct research to improve training programs for entry-level food service workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs. They will review other national training models, participate in phone interviews with programs, identify any best practice reports available, and review and rank conferences for relevance.

Day and time: Tuesday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Cary Wheaton, Billings Forge Community Works

Faculty Fellow: India Weaver, Capital Community College

Student Success Project

West Indians comprise the largest foreign-born population in Connecticut at precisely the same time that budgets for “new arrivals” programs aimed at easing their transition into the K-12 education systems have been slashed. In this project, students will gather data from parents, students, and teachers in Hartford area schools to answer the question: how do local area schools integrate West Indian children and their parents into the education system when English language learning and programs aimed at cultural competency often miss the nuances of the needs of English-speaking migrants, their children who emigrate with them, as well as their first-generation children?

Day and time: Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:10 pm

Community Partner: West Indian Foundation (Desmond Collins, President; Violette Haldane, VP of Programming; and Dr. Fiona Vernal, board member), West Indian Foundation (founded 1978)

Faculty Fellow: Cleo Rolle, Capital Community College

Latinx Theater Project

Upwards of 45 percent of the population in Hartford identifies as Hispanic or Latinx. After surveying their audience, Hartford Stage identified a need for both Spanish-language theater and Spanish-language published materials which accompany their shows. Students in this project will collect qualitative and quantitative data from Hartford’s Latinx arts community to improve and expand Hartford Stage’s partnerships and programming.

Day and time: Wednesday afternoons, 1:15-3:55 pm

Community Partner: Rachel Alderman and Theresa MacNaughton, Hartford Stage

Faculty Fellow: Diana Aldrete, Trinity College

Riverside Recapture Project

Riverfront Recapture is seeking to expand access to the Connecticut River to include neighborhoods in the North End of Hartford. This expansion will allow for an increase in environmentally-friendly transportation in the city and access to other green space in the region, and the organization is planning on adding amenities to existing trail systems that will remove barriers to access. In this project, students will engage residents in the planning processes, provide an opportunity for their voices to be heard, and identify barriers, needs, and interests, in order to create a park and trail system that will be fully utilized and valued as a community asset.

Day and time: Thursday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Martha Conneely, Riverfront Recapture

Faculty Fellow: Stefanie Chambers, Trinity College

Contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown for questions or to learn how to apply for the next round of Action Lab projects.

[Photo by Nick Caito, Trinity College]

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Professors Jack Dougherty (Educational Studies) and Kyle Evans (Mathematics) are teaming up to redesign Educ 350: Teaching and Learning, to be offered on Fridays 1:15-3:55pm in Spring 2019. The course will delve into topics such as curriculum standards, assessment, and equity, with a special focus on science and mathematics education. For the Community Learning  component, pairs of students will design and teach two inquiry-based lessons in Hartford public elementary or middle schools during our class time, and create web portfolios that combine writing and video of their teaching and student learning. See past examples of Trinity student teaching portfolios on the web by Elaina Rollins ’16, Christina Raiti ’16, and Emily Meehan ’16.

Prerequisite is Educ 200: Analyzing Schools, or permission of either instructor. To request permission, email a one-paragraph statement of interest to either Prof. Jack Dougherty or Kyle Evans, or speak with them during office hours.

Click here to see a listing of more Spring 2019 Community Learning Courses.

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Hartford community partners in a focus group with Megan Hartline and Karolina Kwiecinska at Trinity College in August 2018.

In late summer 2018, the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) invited Hartford-area community partners who engaged with Trinity students to share their feedback in focus group sessions. CHER is responsible for regularly evaluating community engagement between Trinity and Hartford, so that all parties better understand the scope and quality of our work together, so that we may continue to improve. Now that we have reviewed notes from these very insightful conversations, this report outlines six of our key findings about these partnerships, as told from the perspective of twenty community organizations.

This is the second year that Megan Faver Hartline, Associate Director of Community Learning, has led these focus groups. (See her first report from summer 2017 [link].) We invited about 50 Hartford-area community partners, most of them affiliated with non-profit organizations and neighborhood groups that collaborated during the prior academic year with Trinity students through various CHER programs: Community Learning, Community Service & Civic Engagement, Liberal Arts Action Lab, and Trinfo.Cafe. We were pleased that 21 partners (who represented 20 different organizations) generously made time to participate in hour-long focus groups, which took place on six different dates in August and September 2018. Two participants attended because they read about the focus groups in a CHER public announcement. During these sessions, we asked participants to describe their interactions with Trinity students; to review the costs, benefits, and development of these relationships; and to evaluate their overall impact on Hartford. (See our focus group questions in the appendix.) While the vast majority of the 21 participants represented organizations located in Hartford, only about half of these people reside inside the city. As a result, the feedback described below is not necessarily representative of all of Trinity’s community partners, because it is a self-selected sample of people who agreed to attend a one-hour focus group. Furthermore, our study of community partners does not attempt to represent the views of Hartford neighborhood residents at large. But until Trinity conducts future assessments, these focus groups offer the richest data currently available on the quality of our engagements, as viewed from the perspective of Hartford community partners.

  1. Range of Partnerships: We began each session with a short writing exercise that asked participants to list the ways that their organizations interacted with Trinity students during the prior school year. After listening to participants share their lists, we sorted them into our three recommended categories. Of the 20 different organizations represented, they primarily interacted with Trinity students in these ways:
  • Service Hours: 3 described how students tutor youth or volunteer at programs or events
  • Information Products: 5 stated how students created products like videos, data visualizations, and curriculum units
  • Research Studies: 10 identified how students conducted oral histories, or collected and analyzed data for studies

Note that the numbers above should not be interpreted as percentages of overall student engagement, because a service project may include 25 students while a research study may involve only 2. Furthermore, the focus group participants were not a carefully-designed representative sample, and these categories are not mutually exclusive.

Participants also provided new examples that forced us to rethink and expand our categories above. One explained how they interacted with Trinity students primarily through Artistic Collaboration, and another suggested adding this category: Guest Speaker in Class. Most impressive was the wide range — and unexpected cases — of community partner engagements with students. These focus groups taught us that no single Trinity employee had knowledge of all of our partnerships and the various ways that students interact with Hartford organizations. This finding provided additional motivation for the CHER team to create a collaborative database of our community engagements, to help us identify and work more closely with all of our partners.

2. Benefits to Partners:

When community partners agree to have Trinity students work with their organizations, this so-called “free” labor may require a significant investment of their time, so we asked them to evaluate the costs and benefits. All partners stated that student projects were useful to their organizations. “It’s a luxury for us to have folks who focus in on one specific project,” was a common theme voiced by community partners at small organizations with limited resources. In addition, about 75 percent reported that students completed work that their organizations would not have been able to do on their own. “The work that Trinity students have done for us would not be obtainable” without them, one partner stated, while another emphasized that their work without Trinity students would “not be as high quality.” Some partners attributed the high quality of Trinity student work to the faculty or staff oversight in the process, or noted that they would be hesitant to work with students without oversight. “When expectations are laid out for them, students are much more engaged,” one observed. Furthermore, even when counting the other 25 percent of organizations that would have done the work on their own, Trinity student involvement delivered value by offering different perspectives. “I appreciated the fresh approach by a younger set of eyes,” stated a humanities partner who worked with historical materials that were already very familiar to her. Others welcomed Trinity students for building public awareness of their organization’s work by “feeding it out” to younger generations on social media.

3. Relationships Drive Partnerships: When we asked participants how they began their partnerships with Trinity, about two-thirds pointed to their existing relationships with Trinity staff and faculty, and often named specific individuals as connectors. The other third were motivated by their desire to build new relationships with Trinity College at large, or noted how Trinity programs fulfilled one of their organization’s needs. This finding reminds us of the importance of establishing, sustaining, and expanding individual relationships with Hartford partners, which is vital to the work of CHER and the continued health of campus-community partnerships.

4. The Power of Networking Partners: One advantage of focus groups, rather than individual surveys or interviews, is that Hartford community partners frequently met one another for the first time. This happened far more often than we expected, given that people often refer to Hartford as a small city where everyone supposedly knows one another. Instead, community partners often engaged in conversations before, during, or after our focus groups to learn more about each other’s work, discuss potential collaborations, and exchange business cards. Moreover, when one partners described a particularly enriching partnership with Trinity, other partners often wanted to know more. One newer partner remarked, “I’m extremely curious about all of these other partnerships” described by other groups at the table, and another partner wondered “how to do that” with their own organization. Overall, this finding reinforces why CHER needs to improve campus-community partnership storytelling in our blog, social media, and monthly newsletter, to help other Hartford organizations imagine possibilities of collaborating with Trinity. Furthermore, CHER can play a more dynamic role in the city by regularly hosting focus groups or other events that bring together community partners to meet and brainstorm with us and other Hartford organizations.

5. Improve our Two-Way Relationships: Although we did not directly ask participants about campus-community relationships, this theme emerged at several focus groups, and views were mixed. On one hand, many praised the numerous Trinity programs that are designed to connect outward to the city. On the other hand, some believed that Hartford residents do not feel “invited” to come onto Trinity’s campus, or attend events, or use campus space, particularly in comparison to publicly-funded colleges and universities in the city. “Are we welcome here?” asked one focus group participant, who also is a Hartford resident and person of color. Even partners who feel somewhat comfortable at Trinity expressed confusion over how to find information about public events or answers to questions about requesting to use campus space. One positive example that actively makes Hartford residents feel welcome at Trinity is the International Hip Hop Festival, which several participants raised. Overall, these focus groups highlighted concerns about unbalanced campus-community relationships. Although Trinity sponsors multiple programs to engage students with Hartford, some city residents — notably some of our valued community partners on educational projects — do not always feel welcome on Trinity’s campus.

6. Unclear Impact on Hartford: Near the end of each focus group, we asked community partners to answer the big question: given their organization’s partnership with Trinity, and other Trinity partnerships that they were aware of, have these relationships made any difference in Hartford? The breadth of this question prompted long pauses and mixed responses, with different types of reasoning.

 

On one hand, partners who leaned “no” tended to emphasize higher expectations for Trinity as an “anchor institution” in the city. “I would expect to have more partnerships, not just with students, but also faculty. Their reach into really shaping Hartford isn’t there yet,” observed one partner. Another pointed to publicly-funded higher education institutions in the city that “are integrated and invested in partnerships all over the place. . . [while] Trinity literally has a fence. . . I see it making a difference with individual students, who are already inclined to working with the city. [Our Trinity students] feel frustrated about isolation and lack of integration.”

 

On the other hand, some partners who leaned “yes” argued that Trinity’s long-term institutional investment in the Hartford, from former President Evan Dobelle’s era to the present, is making a difference. Some answered affirmatively by pointing to the many individual relationships that formed through campus-community partnerships, particularly for Hartford youth in mentoring programs. College students “have incredible potential to influence young people, high-school age people. With a little bit of help, there could be thousands of college mentors in Hartford,” one partner observed. Still others mentioned very specific projects (such as an information product that Trinity students created to help domestic abuse victims hide their location on smartphones) as evidence that our work has an impact “on a micro level.” One community partner summed up their response to the question about whether we are making a difference in Hartford this way: “On an individual level, yes. As a whole, do I think we are moving the needle together? Probably not. Do I think we could? Yes. This year? Probably not.”

 

In conclusion, the CHER mission statement is “to strengthen educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and students, staff, and faculty at Trinity College, and evaluate campus-city relationships.” To achieve this goal, we need to regularly conduct assessments about the quality of our relationships — most notably with our Hartford community partners — and to publicly report our findings to help all of us improve our work together. This report is one step in a continuing effort to enhance assessment and communication. Another example of assessment work-in-progress is the online survey and follow-up focus groups with educators, students, and alumni involved in the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) and Trinity College partnership, conducted by Robert Cotto, Director of Urban Educational Initiatives. The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) plans to continue gathering feedback from more Hartford community partners and neighborhood residents in the future, to shape our future efforts.

 

If you are a Hartford community partner or Hartford resident who interacts with Trinity College students, and wish to be invited to similar focus group sessions in the future, contact Erica Crowley, Communications and Data Assistant for the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research.

 

Thank you to Erica Crowley and Karolina Kwiecinska for their contributions to this report by taking notes at many of these meetings.

 

Appendix: Community Partner Focus Group Discussion Guide, Trinity College CHER

Thanks for participating. The purpose of this focus group is to better understand relationships between Trinity College and Hartford-area community partners. We will ask you some questions, which will require about a half-hour of your time. People in the room will hear your answers, and we will write notes about your responses. But our final report will NOT identify you or your organization by name. Your participation in this project is completely voluntary, and you are free to stop or withdraw at any time.

1) Create a List

Our goal is to make concrete examples more visible to everyone in the focus group. Feel free to add notes to this page during our discussion. We will collect your sheet at the end.

– Name of your organization:

– List ways that Trinity students interacted with your organization over the past school year.

2) Looking at what you wrote above, what type of work did students do for your organization?

– Did students provide hours of service?

– Did students provide information or research products?

3) In your own words, tell us more about how Trinity students interacted with your organization and the service/information/research they provided.

4) Tell us about the conversations with people at Trinity and your organization that led to this arrangement, and why you agreed to participate.

5) Did the Trinity students provide service/information/research that your organization would not have had otherwise?

6) Did the Trinity student service/information/research require additional supervision from your organization? If yes, was it worth the investment of your supervisory time?

7) Thinking about your organization’s partnership with Trinity, and other Trinity partnerships you’re aware of, have these relationships made any difference in Hartford?

8) What are your organization’s plans for the next year?

9) Would you like to continue partnering with Trinity in the future? Why or why not?

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Joe Barber is the Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement

Let’s start with: where are you from where did you grow up?

I grew up in Winsted, Connecticut (fun fact: that’s the hometown of Ralph Nader).  I received a B.A. in Sociology in 1992 (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and an MPA in 1994—both from the University of Connecticut. I have lived in Hartford since 1996 and I’ve been a homeowner in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood since 1999. Currently, I’m on the boards of the Frog Hollow NRZ committee, Night Fall and the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. I work on Asking for a Friend with Chion Wolf—a live advice show at Sea Tea Comedy Theater—and play alto saxophone in the Hartford Hot Several Brass Band.


Tell us about yourself and your work at Trinity College. What does a day in the life look like?

I’ve been with the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement for 22 years–since October of 1996—and been director for about 16 years. I usually start my day at Peter B’s for some coffee and check in on my first round of emails for the day.  Then I go to my office and do paperwork, pay bills, take and make calls, and attend to any of the other non-ending administrative details that go into keeping an office going.  Throughout the day students come and go, and a good portion of the time is spent meeting and working with students on the various projects and events of the Office.


You’ve been at Trinity for a long time. What are you proudest of in your work?

What has been most heartening is to look over the Office’s body of work and see a range of projects that are diverse in content as well as longevity. We have over 20 ongoing programs and partnerships as well as about the same number of annual projects. There are projects like Halloween on Vernon Street and our Thanksgiving Drive that have been around for over20 years, as well as new partnerships and programs like Jumpstart and Trinity Homelessness Project that started just last year.


In addition, we’ve made a concerted effort throughout my time here to broaden the idea of what is community service (hence the full name of the office being community service and civic engagement). Community service should be thought of as service to democracy that involves continually enlarging the circle of people involved and engaged in society. So, yes, it’s about tutoring and mentoring, food pantries, food drives and toy drives, cleaning parks, and building houses, but it’s also about human rights, the environment, art, social entrepreneurship, community building, and dialogue about social issues and community. This approach has allowed the Office to have great diversity in the work we are able to do in Hartford and how we promote Hartford as our home, as well as providing many opportunities that emphasize the importance of being an involved and active citizen in a democratic society.


What are some projects your office has done people should know about?

One of them is the Bantam Bus Pass (originally the U-Pass) which we started (in partnership with CT Transit) in the Fall of 1999. It provides all students free transportation all local CT Transit and the CT Fastrak buses. It’s important because it gets people out of their cars and out using public transportation. It’s good for the environment and it allows students to get to know Hartford in a more intimate way.

Some of the other projects that we are known for (or at least should be) are Do It Day, Halloween on Vernon Street, Trinity Film Festival, our Thanksgiving drive, Sponsor-a-Snowman holiday gift drive for Interval House, Backpack Nutrition Program, sustainability projects (recycling, composting, etc.), Place of Grace Food Pantry, the Coop thrift shop and the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program at HMTCA.. We also have long-standing officially recognized campus chapters of Amnesty International, Best Buddies, ConnPIRG, Habitat for Humanity, and Lions Club.


What are some of your favorite memories at Trinity?

That’s a tough one for me. I’ve been doing this for a long time and there really are so many.  But honestly some of my favorite memories are right here around this table in Mather basement when I’ve been working with students on different projects or just talking about life. It really is this space where the ideas come to be. It really is a co-working environment; I can’t work without them and they can’t work without me.  And when we see a project through to successful completion, those are the really nice moments.


What else should people know about you?

I usually run every day at lunchtime, and I am the team liaison/advisor for Trinity’s men’s and women’s cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams.

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Last week, the Department of Public Policy and Law, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, the Trinity Homelessness Project, and the Trinity Young Democratic Socialists organized a Common Hour event, “Addressing Homelessness and Affordable Housing in Connecticut.” In the video below, Brooke Williams ’18 of Trinity Young Democratic Socialists and Kyle Fields ’20 of the Trinity Homelessness Project explain their plans for organizing the event.

The guest speaker for the program was Erin Boggs, the Executive Director of Open Communities Alliance, a Connecticut-based civil rights organization advocating for access to opportunity. Erin comes from a family of civil rights activists, including her father who became a civil rights lawyer, and attended public schools in D.C. with her three siblings which she says has a huge influence on her worldview and impacts the work she does today.

This common hour event was almost completely full, and rightfully so; Connecticut is one of the most segregated states in the country when it comes to housing. Erin said,

In terms of segregation, Connecticut is one of the most segregated state in the country. We are right on par with Chicago and Detroit. This comes out of a number of factors including what we’ve done with zoning laws, where we’re putting subsidized housing, where we’re allowing housing authorities to operate, disinvestment from communities that are disproportionately communities of color, and our entire history of explicitly racist housing policies.

Drawing on CHER director and Professor Jack Dougherty’s work in “On the Line” and Richard Rothstein’s “Color of Law” Erin explained how many of the issues we are seeing today, including the opportunity gap and affordable housing that OCA studies, are a result of a long history of state sponsored segregation.

To give some background from Richard Rothstein’s work, there were two main aspects that interacted: the first was the rise of public housing and the second was federally backed housing developments for white families. Public housing began during the New Deal under the Roosevelt Administration to provide housing primarily to low and middle income families who had lost their homes during the Great Depression, and the Administration included separate public housing for African American families. These patterns of segregated public housing went on through World War II, and in 1949 President Truman proposed a massive expansion of the public housing program, again primarily for white families, to accommodate the shortage of housing largely for veterans. After lengthy political back and forth between Republicans and liberals of the Democratic party regarding integration or segregation, the bill passed and hugely expanded public housing, still segregated.

However, after a few years, the public housing for white families was suddenly vacant and the public housing for African American families was still full and with a waiting list. Erin explained how Jack Dougherty’s work in “On the Line” wanted to understand these changes that had taken place in the Hartford area:

So Jack and others mapped the racial makeup change in the Hartford area from 1950 to 2010. With that shift he’s also done a map of home values over time, you can see the more expensive homes were originally in Hartford, and then with the wealth flight and White flight the high value homes were outside of Hartford.

In the video above, see Jack Dougherty’s mapping of the racial change in Hartford from 1950-2010. The reason for this change was another federal program run by the Federal Housing Administration which “subsidized the movement of white families out of central cities and into single-family homes in the suburbs into houses that were exclusively white. The federal government guaranteed loans to mass production builders to build tens of thousands of homes. The loans were guaranteed on explicit condition that no homes be sold to African Americans and that every home in the development had to have a clause in the deed prohibiting resale to African Americans” (Rothstein).

During the talk, Erin focused on how policies regarding affordable housing and homelessness play a role today in reinforcing this history of state sponsored segregation and the opportunity gap in our state. She explained that one of the ways that policymakers address the issues of homelessness and affordable housing is by defining what homelessness is in order to identify families that qualify for certain resources such as the Housing Choice Voucher. While defining homelessness is critical for impact evaluation, it also means that families who don’t meet the definition can fall through the cracks. Associate Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline said:

We discussed how there’s a difference between HUD’s definition of “literal homelessness” and the realities of many families with kids who double up and couch surf but have no reliable, permanent place to sleep each night.” -Megan Faver Hartline, Associate Director of Community Learning

This narrower definition means that resources such as the Housing Choice Voucher have been invested only in families that are considered “literally homeless” by HUD’s definition. Erin says to address homelessness in the long term, it’s important to ensure we deal with real family homelessness now, including supporting families that are doubled up or couch surfing. This would mean either 1) hard decisions about re-allocating current resources, or 2) a meaningful increase in housing investments.

To further explain housing investments by the state, Erin gave an overview of OCA’s “Out of Balance Report” which measures the opportunity gap in different geographic areas in Connecticut. OCA started by designating neighborhoods’ “opportunity score,” which is indicated by educational indicators such as test scores and educational attainment, economic indicators such as unemployment rate and job diversity, and neighborhood/housing quality indicators such as neighborhood vacancy and homeownership rate (shoutout to the Fall 2018 Liberal Arts Action Lab team looking at Homeownership in Hartford with Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner!). They found that low opportunity areas, shown in the maps below in lightly shaded areas, were highly concentrated in communities of color.

Next, OCA mapped where subsidized housing is located, and the map patterns followed. They found that almost 90% of the subsidized housing developments created by the State of Connecticut are outside of high opportunity areas. In OCA’s research they found that many families living in low opportunity areas do want the choice to move to higher opportunity areas, but the number one deterring factor is the lack of affordable units in those areas.  Erin gave an example in Clay Arsenal in Hartford where over 54% of the units in the neighborhood are subsidized:

It is very hard for a neighborhood to succeed when government policy creates that concentration. It impacts everything from neighborhood infrastructure, to the ability to pay taxes to support municipal services, to schools. The tentacles of that policy decision spread out into so many areas. When people talk about things like the educational achievement gap, I talk about the opportunity gap, because this is so clearly about resources available.” – Erin discusses the concentration of subsidized housing in Clay Arsenal

Looking at the work of Richard Rothstein, Jack Dougherty, and the incredibly relevant recent research by OCA, it is clear that the current policies on homelessness and the locations and concentrations of affordable housing units are reinforcing the history of segregation and disinvestment in communities of color. When Kyle Smith ‘20 of the Trinity Homelessness Project asked Erin, “What should we be doing to try and solve these huge problems?” Erin explained that we got to where we are because a series of overtly and covertly racist policy decisions, and OCA’s policy agenda is driven by the research they have done with families most impacted by these housing decisions and their work in coalition with other groups, such as our community partners at Christian Activities Council. Erin said, “One piece of this is to ensure there are affordable housing choices in higher opportunity areas, and the other piece is to do investments in the areas that are struggling.”

Special thank you to the Department of Public Policy and Law, Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, the Trinity Homelessness Project, and Trinity Young Democratic Socialists.

Open Communities Alliance “is a Connecticut-based civil rights non-profit working with an urban-suburban interracial coalition to advocate for access to opportunity, particularly through promoting balances affordable housing development, including in thriving communities.” To learn more about OCA’s work visit http://www.ctoca.org

 

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Photo by Nick Caito.

Last week, high school students from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) attended the Connecticut Supreme Court Justices “On Circuit” program here at Trinity College. On October 17th, the Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral arguments in one criminal case and one civil case (details below). The program provided students and faculty the opportunity to see the appellate process first hand, and included a Q&A session with the litigators after each case. The Q&A sessions were facilitated by Professor of Public Policy & Law, Glenn Falk.

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy students in Advanced Placement Government and Mock Trial were a perfect fit for the audience.

“We just started a unit on the Bill of Rights in my civics class, so this experience was really timely. The students enjoyed watching the appellate court proceedings and had a lot of questions about the first case, which we will discuss in class. Please continue to offer these educational opportunities because it not only supplements the learning, but extends the learning experience and helps our students make important connections to the real world.” – HMTCA Teacher

Professor Falks prepared the following descriptions of the cases:

STATE OF CONNECTICUT V. JEAN JACQUES 

The defendant Jean Jacques is appealing from his murder conviction.  Before his arrest, Mr. Jacques rented an apartment in Norwich, Connecticut on a month-to-month basis, paying rent to the landlord on June 10, 2015.   On July 15, 2015, while Mr. Jacques was incarcerated, the police entered the apartment with the landlord’s permission and found evidence which tied Mr. Jacques to the murder, including the victim’s cell phone and a plastic bag containing drugs with the victim’s DNA on it.

AUSTIN HAUGHWOUT V. LAURA TORDENTI

Austin Haughwout, a college student, sued various administrators at Central Connecticut State University after he was expelled for making statements and gestures related to guns and mass gun violence.  Mr. Haughwout claimed that the school violated his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Mr. Haughwout is appealing from the trial court decision which upheld his expulsion.  He seeks reinstatement as a student and the expungement of his record.

Thank you to Urban Educational Initiatives Director, Robert Cotto, Jr. and Renny Fulco, Director, Public Policy and Law Program, for organizing the HMTCA classes to attend this event.

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This essay was originally published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on September 7, 2018, and appears here with permission of the author.

Experiential education, an attempt to break down the barrier between classroom learning and everyday life, has long been a staple of professional disciplines. For the liberal arts, the partnership hasn’t come naturally. For many liberal-arts faculty members, an education should be for its own sake, not for job preparation.

Nonetheless, it is common now for liberal-arts colleges to advertise their embrace of experiential, “high impact” forms of education. These generally include place-based learning during study abroad, internships, civic engagement, and undergraduate research. Fully realized, the experiential liberal arts have the potential to transform higher education.

Large universities have taken the lead on this change. For example, my previous institution, Northeastern University, is fully connecting experiential education to the liberal arts. The university’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities has defined a model that links traditional liberal-­arts strengths (critical thinking, cross-cultural competency, etc.) with the long-established strengths in co-operative education that Northeastern is known for. In addition, it has embraced new competencies, particularly in areas such as data visualization, that clearly overlap with existing liberal-­arts disciplines.

Many traditional liberal-arts colleges, too, are embracing, if somewhat cautiously, forms of learning that would have been unthinkable in an earlier era. While business schools in those types of institutions are still rare, there has been a recent flowering of centers and programs focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. Such programs exist at Middlebury, Lewis and Clark, Bates, and Swarthmore, among other colleges.

At other liberal-arts colleges, some programs have long recognized the value of practical forms of education. Here at Trinity College, we have a distinctive, longstanding engineering program in which the very practical discipline of engineering is mixed with traditional liberal-arts skills. The logic for such a program is not simply to provide a practical route to employment within a liberal-arts context but also to bring the benefits of a rounded liberal-arts education to future engineers.

In truth, none of this should feel foreign. The value of practice, of doing, has long been taught across disciplines in liberal-arts colleges. The value of labs in the sciences has never been in question. Education theorists argue that doing is one of the surest pathways to learning. My discipline, geography, has a longtime commitment to fieldwork as a practice that reinforces the value of classroom learning.

Similarly, the arts disciplines insist on the need to actually play music, perform theater, and create sculpture as part of the education. Even in the seemingly rarefied worlds of philosophy, literature, and critical theory, there has been a turn toward worlds of practice and habit, which have too often been subordinated to the heady life of the intellectual.

Fully integrating experiential learning into the liberal arts is a bigger step, although with clear benefits for the employability of liberal-arts graduates. Employers point out that the kinds of things they are looking for in prospective employees include meaningful internships, global experience, civic engagement, and collaboration in addressing real-world problems. These are all features of experiential education.

But the benefits of the experiential liberal arts go well beyond employment in specific jobs. When students are encouraged to reflect on, and learn from, an array of experiences, they gain the skills to navigate their way through life and multiple careers.

To be most effective, the experiential liberal arts need to follow the general lead of experiential education and go beyond the academic-affairs divisions of our colleges. A successful experiential liberal arts will connect to the admissions and recruitment processes before students arrive on campus and to the career-advising and student-success divisions once they arrive.

Centering an admissions process on a series of numerical indicators derived from SAT or ACT scores is clearly not consistent with the goal of John Dewey, father of experiential learning, to include places other than the classroom in the concept of learning. The admissions process needs to take a more rounded view of the skills, talents, and varied forms of knowledge that are likely to signal an aptitude for integrated learning across a continuity of experience — a principle that means, in Dewey’s words, “that every experience both takes up something from those which have gone before and modifies in some way the quality of those which come after.”

Such a process must recognize that valuable precollege experiences are not simply those that can be bought by well-to-do families, but also life experiences over which students often have little power, such as helping to raise siblings or dealing with an ill parent. Career services and student-­success programs play a role, too. A career office generally fails if it becomes simply a place to visit when you are close to graduation. Offices of career development and student success must be fully integrated into the learning experience throughout the years of college.

Administrators and faculty and staff members across all divisions of a college need to go about the business of curating an educational experience that creates the habits of mind conducive to continuous reflection and lifelong learning — habits that promote exactly the kind of self-knowledge that advocates of the liberal arts have always promoted.

Tim Cresswell is dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs at Trinity College, in Connecticut.

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For 29 years, Trinity College has hosted the annual “Halloween on Vernon Street.” This event, held on the Sunday before Halloween each year, provides a space for children in the Hartford area to come trick-or-treating, make crafts, and play games to celebrate Halloween.

Yesterday, Trinity Greek life organizations and cultural houses such as Umoja House and La Voz Latina opened their houses on Vernon Street where they provided candy, games, and music for families in the Hartford area. 

Children and parents in costume with trick-or-treating bags lined the sidewalk awaiting check in with the organizers from ACES (Annual Community Events Staff). Once at the front of the line, groups of families were linked with a student volunteer who showed them the circuit around Vernon Street where they collected candy, played games with Trinity students, and of course checked out everyone else’s costumes. Our personal favorite was the inflatable dinosaur.

At the end of Vernon Street, at Trinfo.Cafe, sat the goldmine of all Halloween celebrations: the Trinfo pumpkin patch. Parents and kids alike were sent into the garden to search for their perfect pumpkin, and then brought it over to volunteers to make sure all the dirt was cleaned off an it was ready for decoration. Inside Trinfo, there was a space for movies and crafts for kids who needed some quieter time.

 

It’s safe to say that the 29th Annual Halloween on Vernon Street was a success. This event would not be possible without the leadership of Alex Donald ‘19 and Lexie Axon ‘19, of ACES, all the student volunteers, Carlos Espinosa and Arianna Basche at Trinfo Cafe, and of course Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement.

 

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Megan Brown is the Director of the Liberal Arts Action Lab, a partnership between Trinity College, Capital Community College, and Hartford community partners.


Tell us about your work at Trinity College. What does a day in the life look like?

As Director of the Action Lab, I split my time between the students and the community. Most of my time on any given day is spent teaching students how to design and carry out action research projects with Hartford community partners. I personally supervise all Action Lab project team meetings every week to help guide and manage the projects, teaching students how to do research and how to work in a team. I also spend a good deal of time meeting with Hartford community groups, listening to their problems, and helping them define a researchable question that could turn into an Action Lab project.


 
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up or where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Seattle, WA, but I’ve lived in California, Illinois, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolina, and Connecticut. I live in Hartford now.

 
What are your interests?
I have my PhD in geography, and my research focuses on the shifting geographies of new labor movement campaigns, specifically the Fight for $15. I’ve always drawn inspiration for my research from the activist work that I’ve been a part of, and I became interested in how the labor movement is moving from traditional workplace organizing to city-based social movement-style organizing because of my time working in the labor movement in Seattle.

 
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite moments are when students interact with the world outside of campus – whether its touring an old gold leaf factory that’s been slated for redevelopment, collecting surveys at a courthouse, or working through their research results with the people who proposed the project. What goes on in the classroom is always that much more meaningful when it travels beyond the walls.
 

 
What else should people know about you?
I’m a big women’s soccer fan, and am saving up for a trip to watch the World Cup in France next summer.
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Megan Faver Hartline is the Associate Director of the Office of Community Learning

 Where are you from where did you grow up? What brought you to Trinity?

I’m from Texas, but I haven’t lived there in 7 years. I moved to Connecticut a year and a half ago to work at Trinity after I finished my PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville.

Tell us about your work at Trinity.

I’m the Associate Director of Community Learning. I work on course based opportunities for students and faculty to engage with Hartford community partners. There are three main areas to my job: one is faculty development which involves working with faculty on their courses to help them create strong community learning components and to create projects that are beneficial to students and also to the community partners. The second piece is about student program development—credit-bearing or paid work for academic community engagement work. This includes the Community Action Gateway (first year learning community for students interested in creating social change) and the Public Humanities Collaborative (a summer research program for students interested in humanities including research with a faculty member and Hartford community partners). The third piece of my work is developing and strengthening relationships with Hartford community partners. This means I am meeting regularly with folks in the city to learn about their goals within their organizations and in the city as a whole. Then I can think about ways that Trinity faculty and students can help them reach those goals.

I’ll also say that one of the reasons I was excited to take this job is the long history of Community Learning at Trinity (which started in 1995!). I was excited to step into a position where there are faculty who have been invested in community learning for decades and great interest from new faculty to see how they can connect their course goals with community needs. Whether I’m working with long-term classes like Stefanie Wong’s Analyzing Schools and Dina Anselmi’s Child Development or newer courses like Sheila Fisher’s Prison Literature and Serena Laws’ Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford, I love that I get to be a part of continuing the story of how Trinity is invested in the city of Hartford.

What are your interests and passions?

Generally speaking: community development, overthrowing the patriarchy, political engagement, and Mexican food. I also like ballet and musicals. For a long time my Instagram bio was “I’m probably thinking about feminism or tacos.”

What are some of your favorite memories?

I think my favorite part of my job is connecting with students who are really invested in community learning opportunities. Whether that’s working with Community Action Gateway students or learning about the Research Fellows projects, it’s always really great to see what students are interested in and how they’re connecting what they’re learning about on campus to what’s happening in the city. One of my favorite memories was exploring Hartford with Gateway students last year. It was their first year in Hartford as well as mine, and we learned a lot together as a class. We learned about local organizations here and got out and around the city. We went over to the Wadsworth Atheneum and also checked out local cuisine such as First & Last for breakfast and Black Eyed Sallys. This year, we’ve gone to El Sarape and Mozzicato’s.

What else should people know about you?

I’m really invested in every tv show Mike Schur has created (fun fact: he’s from West Hartford). Also, I’m still really emotionally invested in Parks and Rec and (more recently) the Great British Baking Show.

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Arianna Basche is the Program Manager at Trinfo.Café & the Office of Community Relations

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

I grew up in Glastonbury, Connecticut and attended Glastonbury High School. I graduated from Williams College in 2016, where I majored in English and got a certificate in Spanish– that’s like a minor. I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina when I was a junior in college. I currently live in Hartford.

What are your interests and passions?

I’m passionate about creative writing. In 2017, I published a reported piece in Hartford Magazine about local events that bring people together and foster community. I also wrote an op-ed for the Hartford Courant about overcoming the stigma of moving in with your parents, and another op-ed about free outdoor recreation offered by the CT Air Line Trail. I’m open to exploring any topic that interests me. I also play guitar and sing. I love yoga, and I’ve learned recently that I really like spinning, so that’s been an unexpectedly satisfying activity. Working at Trinity has already inspired me and opened me up to new perspectives, so I can’t wait to see how this influences my everyday creativity.

Tell us about your work at Trinity and in Hartford. What does a day in the life look like for you?

I am the Program Manager for both Trinfo.Café and the Office of Community Relations.  On the Trinfo side, I supervise a staff of Trinity student workers. Trinfo student workers provide cost-free computer literacy classes for adults, after-school programming for youth, and fun events for the community. I also work with the Trinity faculty who maintain Trinfo’s community garden.  

On the Office of Community Relations side of things, I represent the College at meetings for the Frog Hollow, MARG, and SWBTR Neighborhood Revitalization Zones. I’m there to help Trinity stay in the loop on what’s happening in the community, and vice versa. For example, at the last MARG meeting, I shared an announcement about the kickoff of Trinity College’s Chapel Music Series because it’s an event series that might interest our neighbors. I’m also on SINA’s REACH committee. And, if a community group wants to host an event on campus, I help to make that happen. 

I started working at Trinity in September. This is a new position, so I’m excited to see how my role evolves.

 

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Carlos Espinosa has been Director of Trinfo Cafe for 18 years and now also serves as Director of the Office of Community Relations.

Tell us about your work at Trinity and in the community. What does a day in the life look like for you?

A typical day is very high paced. Trinfo has merged with the Office of Community Relations which requires me to think more deliberately about where opportunities arise for collaboration across programmatic pieces. Some opportunities I’ve been thinking about include how to offer Trinfo’s technical skills in building WordPress websites for community organizations in Hartford, and how to strengthen the core community relationships we have within the Neighborhood Revitalization Zone groups in the neighborhoods that surround the College. The merger’s timing collided with a staff departure which offered another opportunity to strategically restructure staffing support for Trinfo and OCR. I’ve been the principle trainer of Trinfo’s new Program Manager and I have been learning the inner workings of OCR’s duties as director. Overall, there has been quite a bit of relearning old duties while learning new skills at the same time. I am able to see new opportunities that not only  deepen the connections between Trinfo.Cafe and OCR, but also look for ways to create new connections between CHER’s programs and its broader academic mission to create learning opportunities for Trinity’s students through deliberate engagements with Hartford’s residents and organizations.

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Hartford, not too far from campus in the Behind the Rocks neighborhood.

What are your interests and passions?

My interests range broadly between geeking out on old muscle cars and classic video games to civic engagement around politics and life in Hartford.

What is your favorite part about your job and/or one of your favorite memories?

My favorite part about my job is that no two days are seemingly the same. That constant along with the enthusiasm of college students keeps me energized.

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In Community Learning courses, you can connect your liberal arts courses with on-the-ground projects in partnership with Hartford organizations. At Trinity, we define Community Learning as an experiential learning process that involves 1) collaborative partnerships and 2) perspective building relationships. Take a look at the Spring 2019 opportunities…

CLIC 299: Art and Community with Professor Clare Rossini

The course has two primary focuses: the role of the arts in individual and community identity formation and empowerment and the particular challenges of mentoring elementary-age students as they create art. Students in the course are scheduled for a minimum of 35 hours per semester in the arts classroom at the Hartford Montessori Magnet School. Trinity students are assigned a group at the school with whom they work throughout their time at the school, assisting the children as they make their art and, at times, collaborating with them on special projects.

CLIC 290: Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford with Professor Serena Laws

One way that the federal government attempts to address poverty is through income tax policy. This seminar will read and discuss broader debates over economic inequality, tax expenditures, wealth redistribution, and related social policies. In addition, for the community learning component, students will be trained to do income tax preparation, and volunteer for six hours per week to assist Hartford residents at the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, located near campus at Trinfo Café.

HISP 280: Hispanic Hartford with Professor Aidali Aponte-Aviles

This course seeks to place Trinity students in active and informed dialogue with the Hartford region’s large and diverse set of Spanish-speaking communities. The course will help student recognize and analyze the distinct national histories (e.g. Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Chilean, Honduran, Cuban, Colombian, and Mexican) which have contributed to the Hispanic diaspora in the city and the entire northeastern region of the United States. Students will undertake field projects designed to look at the effects of transnational migration on urban culture, institution-building, and identity formation. (Also offered under the Latin American and Caribbean studies concentration of the International Studies Program.)

Fulfills GLB2, Requires HISP 221 or 224

RHET 320: Queer Rhetorics with Professor Nick Marino

This class is open to anyone interested in learning how rhetoric can create new knowledges and perspectives on diversity and inclusion. Specifically, we will apply rhetorical methodologies to US history, popular culture, politics, and law to research the formation of LGBTQ identities alongside mainstream identities in America. Our course moves from the rhetoric surrounding the 1960s Stonewall Riots through current debates about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and gay marriage. We also investigate the influence of alternative rhetorics, such as the subversive use of social media activism and the spatial arguments of gender neutral bathrooms. Students will take away the ability to rhetorically navigate key dialogues about gender and sexuality, as well as articulate how these debates influence research and knowledge creation in their majors.

Fulfills HUM

URST 321: Geographies of Transport with Professor Julie Gamble

Mobility is a permanent aspect of life. Transport infrastructures are a determinant of the spatial, economic, and social structures of cities. This course will introduce students to the spatial and social aspects of transportation and mobility across the globe. This course will act as a forum for research into transport and mobility, including debates on the planning and formation of transport policymaking.

Fulfills SOC, Requires URST 101

ENVS 310: Environmental Geophysics with Professor El Hachemi Bouali

This course will introduce students to near-surface geophysical techniques and their environmental applications. Lectures will provide the theory and background knowledge required to collect and interpret geophysical data. Hands-on exercises will allow students to gain experience in conducting geophysical surveys, operating equipment, and data analysis.

Fulfills NAT, Requires ENVS 112L and MATH 127 or higher

EDUC 200: Analyzing Schools with Professor Stefanie Wong

This course introduces the study of schooling within an interdisciplinary framework. Drawing upon sociology, we investigate the resources, structures, and social contexts which influence student opportunities and outcomes in the United States and other countries. Drawing upon psychology, we contrast theories of learning, both in the abstract and in practice. Drawing upon philosophy, we examine competing educational goals and their underlying assumptions regarding human nature, justice, and democracy. In addition, a community learning component, where students observe and participate in nearby K-12 classrooms for three hours per week, will be integrated with course readings and written assignments.

Fulfills SOC

ENVS 230: Environmental Chemistry with Professor Arianne Bazilio

This course will cover basic chemical concepts, such as polarity, volatility, and solubility, as they relate to chemical behavior in the environment. The ability to predict environmental behavior from chemical structure will be emphasized. Human and environmental toxicology will be discussed, and specific pollutants will be examined. Case studies will be used to illustrate concepts. The laboratory will emphasize techniques used for environmental analysis.

Fulfills NAT, Requires Chemistry 111L and 112L

LATN 105: Latin in the Community, with Professor Lauren Caldwell, F 1:15-3:55PM

Students will learn a curriculum designed for middle-schoolers (e.g. Aequora: Teaching Literacy with Latin) and read articles on Classics and community outreach to work with local schools (e.g. HMTCA) to support their Latin Club. This “lab” culminates in a final project (e.g. research poster or paper). Students who have taken at least one semester at Trinity are automatically eligible; students with at least one year of Latin elsewhere are eligible, with instructor’s approval. Requires 1 semester of Latin at Trinity or 1 year of Latin elsewhere (e.g. in high school).

Special thank you to Faculty Director of Community Learning, Jack Dougherty, and Associate Director of Community Learning, Megan Faver Hartline.

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Photo: Standing outside Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker, from L – R, Professor Stefanie Wong, Rob Johnson (8th grade teacher), Annie Moore ’22, Jonah Capriotti ’22, Ashley O’Connor (7th grade teacher), Rafael Villa ’21, Lexi Zanger ’19. 

EDUC 200: Analyzing Schools
Professor Stefanie Wong, Educational Studies
Trinity College, Hartford, CT

In “Analyzing Schools,” Professor Stefanie Wong students introduces students to the study of schooling within an interdisciplinary framework, drawing on sociology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. Students combine their classroom learning about educational theories and settings with observing and participating in nearby K-12 classrooms for three hours per week. Through their classroom placements, students integrate theoretical readings with first-hand experiences in K-12 schools, deepen understandings and reflections on the contexts and inequities of urban schools and the purposes of education, develop meaningful relationships with students and teachers, and gain practical experience about teaching and curricula. Overall, the key goal of this course is to explore the central question: How can we best understand the practices, policies, and patterns in classrooms and schools in ways that enable us to create and sustain just, inclusive, effective, engaging, and pedagogically strong educational spaces?

Professor Wong explains the importance of community learning for Analyzing Schools, “The experiential component of the course allows students to connect course readings and themes to real life classroom experiences. As a result, they develop deeper understandings of how teaching and learning happens both in individual classrooms and within social contexts. Teachers also appreciate having Trinity students in their classrooms. They tell me about how helpful Trinity students are in supporting learning activities, and how much their students enjoy working with college students. Sometimes, Trinity students build lasting relationships with their teachers and schools, continuing to volunteer at the school beyond their course commitment.”

To successfully integrate classroom and community learning for her 26 students, Professor Wong constructs a detailed framework of logistical documents, writing assignments, and assessment opportunities for community partners. Together, these help her create mutually beneficial partnerships with local K-12 teachers and rewarding learning environments for students because she has crafted ways to stay organized in her approach to her community learning component and evaluate student work across multiple dimensions.

Logistical Documents

Professor Wong’s Scheduling Form and Participant Observation Contract allow her to set up school placements and set expectations with her students for when and how often they will be with their K-12 teachers.

Download (PDF, 286KB)

Download (PDF, 27KB)

Writing Assignments

Professor Wong asks her students to discuss their growing understanding of schooling by integrating what they have learned in her classroom and in their K-12 placement across multiple writing assignments. Here you can see several types of writing assignments: a reflection journal, a writing exercise, and two analysis papers.

Download (PDF, 72KB)

Download (PDF, 61KB)

Download (PDF, 79KB)

Download (PDF, 56KB)

Assessment Opportunities for Community Partners

To ensure that students are fulfilling their contracts and partners are benefitting from the students working in their classrooms, Professor Wong has included multiple opportunities throughout the semester for community partners to offer feedback on student work.

Mid-semester, Professor Wong sends teachers their first evaluation, which is ungraded but shared with students so they can see how they might grow. The assessment consists of a google form with the following questions:

1) Has your Trinity student been coming to your classroom as scheduled?
2) As a participant-observer, has your Trinity student been actively and meaningfully engaged in the life of your classroom?
3) Any additional comments or advice that you would like us to share with your Trinity student?

At the end of the semester, she sends another Google form, and the ratings provided comprise students’ grade for participant observation. Questions include:

1) Did the Trinity student responsibly schedule their time in your classroom, completing approximately 8 three-hour sessions (or the equivalent of 24 total hours) by the end of this semester?
2) As a participant-observer, was the Trinity student actively and meaningfully engaged in the life of your classroom?
3) Rate the Trinity student’s overall effort on the two items above. (1-10 scale)

Lastly, she asks some teachers who have coordinated student placements to attend and evaluate final project presentations by students, where they present a week-long curriculum for the grade and topic of their choice. Below is the form that students use in this process.

Download (PDF, 32KB)

Coordinating, integrating, and assessing community learning can be a complex, onerous task, but Professor Wong’s documents offer a map for how an instructor can successfully manage a community partnership project that is beneficial for her students’ learning and for helping partners meet their goals.

Interested in developing a Community Learning component for your course like Wong’s “Analyzing Schools”? Contact Megan Hartline, Associate Director of Community Learning, for opportunities, resources, and feedback about this process. 

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Last week, Trinfo cafe kicked off its after school programming with community partner, Organized Parents Make a Difference (OPMAD). Trinity student, Kayla Betts ‘21, is leading weekly after school media literacy workshops at Environmental Sciences Magnet School and Kennelly Elementary School.

Kayla has experience assisting with the program in the past. This year, she took on the role as lead teacher.

“I love seeing the excited faces when explaining what the agenda will be for the class. The elementary school students enjoy the experience, and so does their teacher. “It’s rewarding to be able to work with bright students that have so many questions. It is honestly the favorite part of my day!” – Kayla Betts, ’21, Trinfo.Cafe Student Worker

In the photo above, Trinfo Cafe’s Program Manager Arianna Basche assists Kayla in teaching. The entire curriculum was developed by Trinity students.

To learn more, visit Trinfo.cafe.org

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Last week, ConnPIRG and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement hosted the first “Trin Talk” of the semester, with the evening’s questions focused on social media and free speech. The organizers of Trin Talks say the goal is to get Trinity students engaged in meaningful conversation. They know students are having these conversations in their dorms, with friends, and on social media platforms. Trin Talks gives them an opportunity to have those conversations with people who think differently than they do.

In the video below, student panelists of different experiences, backgrounds, and opinions share their thoughts on the use of social media, racist posts that went viral over the summer, and responses they would like to see in the Trinity College community.

We extend a special thank you to Joe Barber, Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, and organizer Trinna Larsen ’20 for coordinating coverage of the event.

We extend a special thank you to Joe Barber, Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, and organizer Trinna Larsen ’20 for coordinating coverage of the event.

The topic of free speech on campus could not be more timely as we welcome the Connecticut Supreme Court to Trinity’s campus on Wednesday October 17th. Two oral arguments will take place in the Washington Room beginning at 10:00 a.m. In one of the cases, Central Connecticut State University student Austin Haughwout sued administrators after he was expelled for making statements and gestures related to guns and mass gun violence.  Mr. Haughwout claimed that the school violated his right to freedom of speech and is appealing from the trial court decision which upheld his expulsion. 

We hope to see you on Wednesday for the oral arguments, and stay tuned for the next Trin Talk event by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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In the video above, Stefanie Chambers (Professor of Political Science at Trinity) and Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens ’13 (Community Outreach and Education Coordinator at the Connecticut Fair Housing Center) discuss their Community Learning partnership. Darby-Hudgens invited students in Chambers’s Pols 355: Urban Politics course to ride the bus and experience the Center’s “Hartford Fair Housing History Tour.” In turn, students are helping the Center to research and digitize archival materials to create a mobile-friendly digital version of the tour, in order to reach broader audiences. Ordinarily, a field trip in Hartford does not fulfill our definition of Community Learning, because these trips are typically one-way educational experiences. But in this case, Chambers and Darby-Hudgens created a two-way collaborative learning activity. Trinity students ride the bus to experience the tour and help the partner to create better materials for the digital version. As a result, everyone gains deeper and richer knowledge about ways of telling the history of fair housing in Hartford.

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Photo above: Members of the Hartford Resident Advisory Board reviewing Action Lab proposals with Director Megan Brown.

The Liberal Arts Action Lab received 20 proposals in September 2018 from prospective Hartford community partners, and each described a research question or problem that they would like help in answering. Last week, the Hartford Resident Advisory Board reviewed all of the proposals and prioritized 6 to advance to the next stage.

Students and faculty fellows are welcome to apply by Wednesday October 24, 2018 to join any of the Action Lab projects above. Depending upon scheduling and interest, we expect to support 4 teams during the Spring 2019 semester. Apply online, and read more details about each project below the form, at http://action-lab.org.

  • Culinary Careers Project: Billings Forge Community Works asks for research to improve its training programs for entry-level food service workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs.
  • Neighborhood Needs Project: Southwest and Behind the Rocks Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) requests a community survey to better understand local needs and assets.
  • Student Success Project: West Indian Foundation asks for research to improve the integration of West Indian children and families into Hartford-area schools.
  • Colt Park Project: The National Parks Service and its Hartford partners seek a better model to estimate annual park usage and collect data about people’s experiences at Colt Park.
  • Latinx Theater Project: Hartford Stage requests local research with Hartford’s Latinx arts community to improve and expand their partnerships and programming.
  • Riverside Recapture Project: Riverfront Recapture asks for research with Hartford’s North End neighborhoods in guide their two-mile expansion of the Riverwalk trail system.

Video: Listen to Action Lab students and faculty describe how they learn with Hartford community partners.

Prospective students from Capital Community College and Trinity College are welcome to list up to 5 preferences. Students must be available to enroll in two Action Lab courses: LAAL 200 Action Research Methods in Hartford (for all students on Monday afternoons, around 1-4pm) and an LAAL 201 Hartford Research Project team (6 students, meets either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoons, around 1-4pm, or Wednesday evenings, around 6:30-9:10pm). Both will be taught by the Action Lab Director at our downtown campus, and successful students will earn 2 Trinity credits, which is the equivalent of 6 CCC credits. The Action Lab will inform students if they have been matched to a project team by early November, before pre-registration for the Spring 2019 semester.

Prospective faculty fellows are welcome to list up to 3 preferences. Your name will publicly appear online, to help us match you with prospective students. Full-time or part-time faculty, advanced graduate students, or staff with subject or method expertise, from Capital Community College, Trinity College, or other institutions in the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, are welcome to apply. Fellows will provide academic guidance and evaluate student work for at least one semester, and must be available to meet with project team at least once a month (either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoons, or Wednesday evenings) at our downtown campus, plus one additional pre-semester meeting of all faculty fellows. (The Action Lab Director will supervise teams of students on a weekly basis.) The Action Lab will inform prospective fellows if they have been matched to a project team by early November, before students pre-register for the Spring 2019 semester. If selected, faculty fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend.

Contact the Action Lab if you have questions about the application process.

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Photo: ConnectiKids at their annual celebration in 2017. Photo credit to ConnectiKids, Inc.

Tomorrow marks the 40th birthday of our community partners at ConnectiKids, which we think deserves a huge shoutout and celebration. ConnectiKids Inc. is a nonprofit positive youth development agency that grew out of a dedicated group of people within the Asylum Hill Congregation who noticed students needed help in the community and began providing after school homework help. Today, ConnectiKids, Inc. is an all around powerhouse nonprofit organization focused on positive youth development and educating, enriching, and empowering Hartford’s youth.

Trinity has a long-standing partnership with ConnectiKids where over 50 Trinity students participate in the tutoring and mentoring program for K-8 students at West Middle Community School and Michael D. Fox Elementary School each year. Trinity students provide homework help and talk through any challenges or life goals the younger students are facing.

“We have always depended on Trinity students in our programs and they always deliver beyond what we ask. If I ask for volunteers, they’ll show up with 10 friends when I asked for 3. If I want to show our elementary and middle school students a tour of Trinity, they’ll say “I’ll show you! You can see my dorm!” And one of the best parts is that the Trinity tutors and mentors come back every year. So, some get started their Freshman year and we are seeing them show up  all the way through their four years. That’s important to the kids in our programs.” -Kiera Steele, ConnectiKids Program Director 

During the school year, ConnectiKids provides arts and enrichment programs such as cooking classes, martial arts, hip-hop and drumming. All in all, ConnectiKids, a organization made up of 2 full-time staff, some part-time program staff, and volunteers serves over 300 students per year. In the future, Kiera hopes to connect the elementary and middle school students with robotics and science clubs at Trinity.

ConnectiKids is celebrating their 40th Birthday Bash Friday October 12th from 5:30-10PM at The Marquee, 960 Main Street in Hartford. To learn more about this event and ConnectiKids, you can visit their website at http://ct-kids.org.

 

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Photo: HMTCA graduate Bea Dresser and Urban Educational Initiatives Director, Robert Cotto, Jr. at HMTCA graduation.

Bea Dresser ’22 is a current Trinity College student who attended high school at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Urban Educational Initiatives, a CHER program directed by Robert Cotto, Jr., includes a long-standing partnership between Trinity and HMTCA. This initiative is an early college experience where HMTCA high school students all participate in summer writing and science programs, can apply to take a highly selective introductory college course, and participate in community learning projects and on-campus events and activities with Trinity faculty and staff. We asked Bea to tell us about her experience.

How was your transition from HMTCA to Trinity?
I believe my transition from HMTCA to Trinity was a different experience compared to my peers. For starters, I am very familiar with the campus and area. I found myself moving confidently into and out of the campus because HMTCA gave us several opportunities to walk around the neighborhood and explore niches of the South End independently.

What do you like most about Trinity so far?
I appreciate the resources and classes available at Trinity. I am currently in the Pre-Law Society, volunteering for Capitol Squash, and am working at the Trinfo Cafe. Additionally, I am taking interesting classes such as my political science course, “Prison and Justice in America.” I am able to tailor my experience to fit my career goals with ease because of the opportunities available at Trinity.

What advice would you give to current HMTCA students?
I would advise students at HMTCA to make the most out of their high school experience. For me, that meant going out of my comfort zone and becoming a leader in various groups across campus. Whether it is outside or inside the classroom, I suggest that you pursue something that makes you want to work hard, and once you find that continue to be an innovative leader within that capacity.


Urban Educational Initiatives connects the college community with nearby public schools, such as the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), a grade 6-12 interdistrict magnet school with city and suburban students in an early college program. Contact Director Robert Cotto Jr.

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Action Lab, CHER News, Community Learning, Community Service, Hartford News, News, Newsletters, OCR News, Trinfo News, Trinfo.Café, Uncategorized, Urban Ed

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We proudly announce the launch of the new Center for Hartford Engagement and Research at Trinity College! CHER coordinates five core programs that connect us with the city: Community Learning, Community Service & Civic Engagement, the Liberal Arts Action Lab, Trinfo.Cafe, and Urban Educational Initiatives. Our mission is to strengthen educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and students, staff, and faculty at Trinity College.

Community Partners:
Submit your Action Lab Proposal by Sept. 28th

Do you have a research question that would help your Hartford neighborhood group, non-profit organization, government agency, or small business? Submit your one-page proposal by Friday September 28th at http://action-lab.org. If our Hartford-resident advisory board prioritizes your proposal, we will work to recruit a team of Capital Community College and Trinity College faculty and student researchers to answer your question in Spring 2019. Recent Action Lab partners and projects:

  • Connecticut Fair Housing Center asked: How do Hartford residents and their families experience the eviction process?
  • HartBeat Ensemble asked: How can we promote “creative placemaking” in the Asylum Hill neighborhood without gentrification?

  • Hartford City Councilmember Wildaliz Bermudez and CT Open Communities Alliance asked: What are the best ways for Hartford to communicate with suburban residents about the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT)?

  • Community Solutions International asked: How can we map relationships between neighborhood housing and health disparities in Northeast Hartford?

For questions or help with preparing your proposal, visit http://action-lab.org or contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown.

20th Annual Do-It Day Matches Over 350 Trinity Volunteers and Community Partners

On the 20th anniversary of Do-It Day, hundreds of Trinity students volunteered with community partners across Hartford — including cleanup with Friends of Pope Park, gardening with KNOX, Inc., creating props for Night Fall, and home demolition with Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance. Read more.

Welcoming HMTCA students to the Trinity Campus

Help us welcome the Fall 2018 Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy students! The Trinity-HMTCA initiative is an early college experience where high school students have the opportunity to enroll in summer writing and science programs, a highly selective introductory college course, and collaborate with Trinity faculty and staff in community learning projects and on-campus events and activities. Read more.

Community Learning:
Professor Seth Markle and Hartford Hip Hop Pioneers

Professor Seth Markle describes community learning in his “Global Hip Hop Cultures” course, where students conducted oral histories and created videos with Hartford’s artistic pioneers from the 1980s and ‘90s in collaboration with the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library. Read more and watch the video, edited by Giovanni Jones ‘21.

We Value Community: Send Nominations for CHER Hartford Resident Advisory Board by Friday September 21st.

The CHER Advisory Board seeks nominations (including self-nominations) for Hartford resident members. Read more at https://cher.trincoll.edu/about/advisory-board/ and contact us by Friday September 21st.

Questions? Suggestions? Contact us at CHER.

Jack Dougherty, CHER Director

Erica Crowley, CHER Communications & Data Assistant

Joe Barber, Community Service and Civic Engagement

Megan Brown, Liberal Arts Action Lab

Robert Cotto Jr., Urban Educational Initiatives

Carlos Espinosa, Trinfo.Café

Megan Faver Hartline, Community Learning

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CHER News, Hartford News, OCR News, Trinfo News, Trinfo.Café, Uncategorized

School is back in session, which means Trinfo Cafe and the community garden are a central Trinity and community spot. Last week we hosted the Green Team and Trinfo’s Curbside Chef’s Harvest Festival and welcomed the return of the HMTCA beekeepers at Trinfo Café’s community garden.

With live music from “Me and Friends” and delicious food from Curbside Chef’s Food Truck, Trinity students, staff, faculty, and community members came to eat, listen to the music, walk in the garden, and take a look at the beehive project in the garden if they were brave enough.

 

In 2015, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) instructor Jared Lewis, began teaching a high school course on beekeeping. The beekeeping program is now entering its third year in partnership with Trinfo.Cafe, which houses one of Lewis’ beehive in our community garden. The students in the beehive program have been able to harvest and sell bottles of honey to help raise funds for the project. 

Instructor Jared Lewis says,
“The hope for each group of students is to teach them the basics of beekeeping and how to keep the bees healthy. Then, we teach them how to harvest the honey and sell it. We have students who are really interested in helping with this project and they are harvesting honey and even creating products like our lip balm.” 

 

The HMTCA students do everything including working in the hives, making the products, and even create a marketing plan to sell the products they make from the harvest. In the future, Jared hopes to build another hive at Trinfo. Our site is being evaluated to see if the footprint of the garden can be altered to accommodate this potential new addition. We’re excited to see what comes next… Check out this full profile of our favorite group of naturalist-entrepreneurs in the Hartford Courant.

For more information about Trinfo.Cafe visit Trinfocafe.org.

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We are excited to announce the Fall 2018 Community Learning Research Fellows! These student fellows collaborate with Hartford-area community partners and Trinity faculty sponsors on semester long community-based research or creative projects. Yesterday, these seven fellows worked with faculty and staff at Trinity to refine their research questions and seek advice on the next steps of their research project. We extend a special thank you to Professor Laura Holt for teaching and guiding the fellows through the semester and helping them to tackle research questions that are useful to students, faculty, and community partners alike.

The Fall 2018 Fellows are as follows…


Student Researcher: Aidan Arnold ’21

Faculty Sponsors: Serena Laws

Community Partner: Southwest/Behind the Rocks Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ)


Student Researcher: Olivia Curreri ’19

Faculty Sponsors: Dina Anselmi, David Reuman, and Amie Senland

Community Partner: Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA)


Photo by Daisuke Katsumata

Student Researcher: Vianna Iorio ’19

Faculty Sponsors: Jack Dougherty, Tennyson O’Donnell, and Megan Hartline

Community Partner: Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) Writing Center


Student Researcher: Sam McCarthy

Faculty Sponsors: Alyson Spurgas

Community Partner: NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut


Photo by Daisuke Katsumata

Student Researcher: Stefania Ruibal ’19

Community Partner: Jubilee House


Student Researcher: Mabel Silva ’20

Community Partner: The Village for Families and Children


Student Researcher: Jitty Synn ’19

Community Partner: Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection


Photo by Daisuke Katsumata

 

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Last week, classes began at Trinity College for the Fall 2018 semester. As part of a unique partnership with Trinity College, students from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) also arrived on campus.

This semester, 17 HMTCA students will take Trinity College introductory-level courses. The range of courses includes the humanities, math and sciences, arts and music, and social sciences. As part of an orientation to Trinity College, HMTCA students visited the library to obtain their student ID cards, learned how to find books for their courses at the bookstore, and visited various campus buildings so they could find their classrooms.

In addition to enrolling in college courses, HMTCA students will take other high school classes and participate in various activities on campus during the year. Learn more about the partnership here.

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On Saturday September 8th, hundreds of Trinity students spent their afternoons volunteering with Hartford community partners on a ton of projects. Some of the highlights included park cleanups, gardening with Knox, creating props for Night Fall, and home demolition with Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance.

“I really love working with Trinity students Do It Day really organizes students to get down to business, and particularly the women’s athletic teams are serious workers. We’ve had the lacrosse team, the crew team, and today we’ve got the hockey team. They really tear it up.” – Jack Hale ’70 and Board Member at the Church of the Good Shepherd

The women’s basketball team helped local artists and community leaders prepare for Night Fall, an annual production in Hartford featuring music, dance, theater, spoken word, costume, and Anne Cubberly’s signature giant puppets. This year’s Night Fall is Saturday October 6th, 2018 in Pope Park.

“Now I want to go see Night Fall so I can see my jewelry all put together during the show. I’ve never seen puppets or a show like this.”

I think we can call Do-It Day a major success! Keep up with us for more community service opportunities throughout the semester.

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Photo: Professors Megan Brown (L) and Carol Clark (R) work with Trinity students (Michelle Treglia ’18, Grace Metry ’18, and Jillian Ramsay ’18) on posters based on their community learning projects.  

Please join the Community Learning program in celebrating the Trinity College faculty who will be part of the inaugural 2018-19 Community Learning Faculty Fellows program! This new program was created to support first- and second-year faculty in developing teaching connections with Hartford community partners. These faculty will meet four times throughout the year to to discuss and design a Community Learning component to be taught in one of their upcoming courses, considering issues such as ethics in community engagement, partnership development, and mutually beneficial projects as they prepare their courses. Each fellow also receives a $1,000 stipend.

This year’s faculty and courses include:

Arianne Bazilio, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Chemistry
CHEM/ENVS 230: Environmental Chemistry, Spring 2019
Arianne Bazilio’s “Environmental Chemistry” course will include an experiential lab component where students will have the opportunity to work with local leaders on water treatment and water quality monitoring projects.

El Hachemi Bouali, Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science
ENVS: Environmental Geophysics and lab, Spring 2019
Students in El Hachemi Bouali’s course on “Environmental Geophysics” will gain hands-on, laboratory experience operating geophysical equipment, acquiring real data while conducting geophysical surveys, processing data, and interpreting their results.

Lauren Caldwell, Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Classics
LATN 203: Adv. Latin Grammar/Reading , Fall 2018
Students in Lauren Caldwell’s “Adv. Latin Grammar/Reading” course will use what they have learned in their Latin classroom to volunteer in the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Middle School to teach a Latin and literacy program.

Kyle Evans, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
MATH 114: Judgment and Decision Making, Fall 2018
Kyle Evans’ “Judgment and Decision Making” course will engage students in the application of elementary mathematical analysis to various procedures by which societies and individuals make decisions, including through a community partnership project focused on gerrymandering.

Erin Frymire, Lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
RHET: Rhetorics of the Body and Activism, Fall 2019
Erin Frymire is developing a new “Rhetorics of the Body and Activism” course, which will combine classroom and community learning focusing on how people use their bodies in protest and activism.

Julie Gamble, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
URST: Geographies of Transportation, Spring 2019
Julie Gamble’s “Geographies of Transportation” course will introduce students to the spatial and social aspects of transportation in part through a community partnership project with local bus rapid transit and/or bicycling infrastructure programs in Hartford.

Nick Marino, Lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
RHET 320: Queer Rhetorics, Spring 2019
Students in Nick Marino’s “Queer Rhetorics” class will learn to rhetorically navigate key dialogues about gender and sexuality including how these debates influence research and knowledge creation in their majors, while collaboratively writing with a local non-profit organization serving the LGBTQ+ community in Hartford.

Rebecca Pappas, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance
THDN 270: Arts in Action, Fall 2018
In Rebecca Pappas’ “Arts in Action” course, students learn from both academic and local community contexts as they study how arts organizations engage public audiences, partnering with Hartford-area museums, theaters, music groups, and more to gain a broad understanding of how the arts are a part of their city.

Alyson Spurgas, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women & Gender Studies
SOCL 272: Social Movements, Fall 2018
Students in Alyson Spurgas’ “Social Movements” course will spend the semester considering how social and political movements, historically and today, are organized from the ground up, while also collaborating with community partners to see how movement-building happens in the real world.

Emily Yen, Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies
URST: Politics of Real Estate, Fall 2019
Students in Emily Yen’s “Politics of Real Estate” course will analyze the commodification of housing in Hartford and New York City, partnering with housing stakeholders in Hartford to learn more about how public policies shape gentrification and ghettoization.

To learn more about the Community Learning Faculty Fellows program, please visit our website or contact Community Learning Associate Director Megan Faver Hartline

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The Liberal Arts Action Lab is excited to announce that we are now accepting proposals for the Spring 2019 semester. The deadline to submit is September 28th, 2018.

Got an idea about how to strengthen Hartford? We can help research the problem and offer possible solutions. The Liberal Arts Action Lab invites Hartford community partners to submit a 3-paragraph proposal on a problem or question that you’d like help answering with a team of student and faculty researchers from Capital Community College and Trinity College. We broadly define community partners as neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations, government agencies, social entrepreneurs, etc.

Here’s a quick glance at the ground we’ve covered in our inaugural semester:

  • Investigated the effects of eviction on Hartford residents
  • Explored the relationship between health and housing in the North Hartford Promise Zone
  • Determined strategies for leveraging arts, culture, and creativity to serve the Nook Farm area
  • Identified ways to engage parents of teens who are learning English in an after-school program at the Hartford Public Library
  • Interviewed suburban residents about their perceptions and interactions with Hartford and the PILOT program

The first step toward solving any problem is to define it. Interested in submitting a proposal? Head to action-lab.org/apply/partners-and-proposals to submit your proposal. For more information, contact the Action Lab Director, Megan Brown, at megan.brown@trincoll.edu.

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Photo: Students from the Community Action Gateway and Professor Serena Laws after the Stowe Prize Action Fair and Discussion Events. 

The 2018-19 Community Action first-year gateway cohort at Trinity College started off their school year by attending the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s events for its annual Stowe Prize and Student Stowe Prizes, awarded to a U.S. author, a college student, and a high school student whose work has made a “tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society.” Professor Serena Laws brought her entire seminar to the Stowe Center’s  Action Fair, which featured tables from local social action organizations, and a discussion event with this year’s prize winners: Matthew Desmond, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; Wes Gobar, University of Virginia for “What It’s Like to Be a Black Student When White Supremacists March in Your College Town”; and Zyahna Bryant, Charlottesville High School for “Change the Name of Lee Park and Remove the Statue.”

Wes Gobar and Zyahna Bryant, student Stowe Prize winners, speak with WNPR‘s Lucy Nalpathanchil at the Stowe Prize Event.
Wes Gobar and Zyahna Bryant, student Stowe Prize winners, speak with WNPR‘s Lucy Nalpathanchil at the Stowe Prize Event. Photo by Catherine Burton.

Desmond, Gobar, and Bryant all participated in an hour and a half long discussion moderated by WNPR‘s Lucy Nalpathanchil. Gobar and Bryant started the event with discussions of their actions in Charlottesville: Bryant’s petition to remove a confederate statue and rename a local park and Gobar’s activism in the face of August 2017’s white supremacist rally. They also called on audience members to combine national concerns with local action (Gobar) and remember the importance of intersectionality in activist movements (Bryant). Desmond spoke next, offering perspectives on both the writing of Evicted and what happened to some of the central figures following his research period. He also encouraged audience members to use data from the Eviction Lab as a way to consider how poverty and homelessness occur in their cities. His focus was less on new possible solutions, but instead on thinking about how we can expand current governmental housing programs (both subsidies for renters and mortgage interest deduction for homeowners) to address the vast amount of poverty in our nation today.

All three speakers offered exciting ways for Trinity students to think about their own community work during their time in Hartford. Aidan Arnold ‘21, focusing on how he connected with activists around his age, said he was ”totally blown away by the intellect and thoughtfulness of the student Stowe Prize winners.” Eleanor Faraguna ‘21 pointed out how important it is for Trinity students “to educate ourselves about the city and climate we live in for these next four years, both the good and the inequitable. The Stowe Prize event was a unique and privileged opportunity to learn more about the battle over the availability of affordable housing here in Hartford and on a national scale.”

At the Action Fair, Trinity students spoke with community leaders from organizations like Connecticut Fair Housing, Christian Activities Council, Hartford History Center, and True Colors (among many others). Students were able to meet local activists, learn more about community change happening in Hartford, and get a better sense of what is happening in their new city–an exciting opportunity for the first week of classes!

Overall, the Stowe Center’s event enabled students to hear more about local and national social change work–from students their age, from a much-lauded sociologist, and from local activists in Hartford. Learning from activist leaders in Hartford and beyond was the perfect way to start the semester for our Community Action students.

To learn more about the Community Action gateway, please see our website or contact Megan Hartline, Gateway Coordinator.

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Bringing Together Five Community Engagement Programs
Nominations for CHER Hartford-Resident Advisory Board Members Sought by September 15

Image above: L-R: Jack Dougherty, Megan Faver Hartline, Morgan Finn, Megan Brown, Carlos Espinosa, Erica Crowley, Joe Barber, and Robert Cotto. (Photo by Nick Caito)

Hartford, Connecticut, September 5, 2018 – Trinity College has announced the creation of its Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER), bringing together five community engagement programs at the college to work as one group. The purpose of integrating the programs—some that have been operating at Trinity for decades and others launched in recent years—is to enable them to collaborate more closely and efficiently, strengthening connections among and between civically engaged members of the Trinity community and the Hartford community.

The inaugural director of CHER is Trinity Professor of Educational Studies Jack Dougherty, serving in a two-year faculty appointment that began in July 2018. The five CHER programs and their leaders are:

  • Community Learning—Associate Director Megan Faver Hartline (70 Vernon Street)
    Community Learning fosters academic connections with Hartford partners to deepen experiential learning through collaboration and perspective-building relationships. The program includes the Community Action Gateway Program for first-years and Public Humanities Collaborative summer research.
  • Community Service and Civic Engagement—Director Joe Barber (Mather Student Center, 300 Summit Street)
    Community Service and Civic Engagement creates future civic leaders by engaging students in building and maintaining strong, sustainable community partnerships in Hartford, as well as educating and involving them in a range of broader social issues.
  • Liberal Arts Action Lab—Director Megan Brown (10 Constitution Plaza, downtown Hartford)
    The Liberal Arts Action Lab investigates problems identified by Hartford partners, with research teams of students and faculty from Capital Community College and Trinity College, proposing solutions that will strengthen the city.
  • Trinfo.Café—Director Carlos Espinosa (1300 Broad Street)
    Trinfo.Café bridges the digital divide with a neighborhood internet café that offers computer-literacy training for Hartford youth, adults, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations; provides space to community groups for meetings; and hosts a community garden that brings together residents alongside Trinity students, staff, and faculty.
  • Urban Educational Initiatives—Director Robert Cotto (70 Vernon Street)
    Urban Educational Initiatives connects the college community with nearby public schools, such as the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), a grade 6–12 interdistrict magnet school with city and suburban students in an early college program.

CHER is under the oversight of Trinity’s chief academic officer, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Cresswell. “Trinity has an important role to play in advancing Hartford and the region,” said Cresswell. “One of the primary goals of the college’s strategic plan is to build on our strengths in connecting liberal arts learning to experiential learning here in Hartford. When students learn from an array of experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, they become more aware of the needs in the community, they discover their ability to help solve real-world problems, and they develop the capacity to learn how to learn from their experiences. This kind of educational experience provides distinct advantages, both to the students and the community at large.”

During the fall 2018–19 semester, Dougherty noted, more than 20 Trinity courses will be community learning courses, with faculty and students working closely with members of the community. Also during the fall semester, four Liberal Arts Action Lab research teams of Trinity and Capital Community College students are set to work with community partners on projects involving local food policies and sources; young adults and workforce opportunity; and homeownership.

At Trinfo.Café—where last year computer-literacy training was provided to more than 400 area residents—staff and Trinity students continue to provide a variety of computer-literacy workshops to Hartford residents and customized after-school and summer programming to youth at no cost to residents or community partners. In addition, through Urban Educational Initiatives, 17 high school seniors from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy will enroll in fall 2018 in an introductory-level course at Trinity as an early college experience.

Also, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement will sponsor its 20th annual Do It Day, a volunteer event taking place this year on Saturday, September 8. Approximately 400 students, mostly Trinity student-athletes, will be deployed throughout the city to work on a variety of projects in collaboration with community organizations. Students’ efforts will include gardening, painting, cleaning, delivering furniture to formerly homeless people, housing rehabilitation, inspecting and packing food donations, picking up litter, and maintaining trails, parks, and the riverfront.

Dougherty said, “Given Trinity College’s mission—to engage, connect, and transform—an important aspect of CHER is to assess how students’ experiences and relationships with Hartford change over time and whether change is associated with meaningful participation in community engagement programs.”

CHER is seeking nominations, including self-nominations, for a CHER Hartford-Resident Advisory Board to offer guidance on goals and programs. Civically engaged Hartford residents who are looking for more connections between the community and the college are encouraged to apply by September 15. Members will be invited to two to three meetings per year; more information is available here.

A recent CHER focus-group session at Trinity included representatives from Achieve Hartford!, the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Interval House, and True Colors.

 

Dougherty said CHER also is conducting focus-group sessions with community partners to gather their input and ideas. A recent session included representatives from Achieve Hartford!, the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Interval House, and True Colors. Upcoming focus-group sessions are scheduled for September 12, 3:00–4:00 p.m., and September 13, 9:00–10:00 a.m., at 70 Vernon Street. Community partner organizations interested in participating in a CHER focus-group session should contact Dougherty at jack.dougherty@trincoll.edu.

For more information about CHER programs or to contact any of the individual programs’ staff members, visit the website of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at http://cher.trincoll.edu.

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Garret Forst, a Trinity College rising senior, reflects on his collaboration between the Liberal Arts Action Lab and the Connecticut Data Collaborative for his Summer 2018 internship. Garret worked with Action Lab Director Megan Brown on the 500 Cities grant, which links neighborhood-level housing and health data. 

Since I have been at Trinity, I have always had a passion for studying cities, city planning, and, most importantly, the people who define them. I had some experience investigating housing-related issues when I worked for the city council in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, so I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to work on this comprehensive project studying housing and health in Hartford. This was the type of project that would give me the chance to both analyze a topic I was passionate about and also, under Professor Brown’s guidance, learn the tools needed to analyze it effectively.

The knowledge I have gained from this project will assist me in pursuing a career in the community development field and help me to think critically about urban issues in general. This summer, for example, I really had the opportunity to dig deep and analyze what defines our quality of housing: Is housing affordable? How might homeownership affect the quality of housing? What do housing code violations say about housing? What about vacancy? Then, I was able to go one step further: How does housing quality relate to health inequity in the city? Housing is important in and of itself, but the impact it has on people’s lives is equally important.

To answer the questions that arose from this project, I was exposed to a great range of research methods and tools that are used in the field. Prior to the Spring 2018 semester, for example, I had no experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and very little exposure to using data. Professor Brown taught me how to use GIS as a powerful analysis and storytelling tool. When it came to learning how to use data, I not only discovered the wide range of public data sources available to research, I also was encouraged to think creatively about how to construct certain useful points of data. For example, there is no published foreclosure rate for Hartford, but we were able to create one from existing housing data. Learning how to utilize these tools and present them to other community leaders improved both my technical research skills and overall leadership abilities.

With all of this in mind, I am grateful for the time I’ve spent at the Liberal Arts Action Lab. For one, I have gained valuable insight on the city of Hartford and its housing stock. It is a very complex topic, and each part of the city is affected by housing differently. There are neighborhoods in Hartford that appear equal in terms of socioeconomic landscape, for example, yet affordability might be the issue for one neighborhood while vacancy is the primary issue for another. This type of nuance is incredibly important for researchers and policymakers to understand, and I do not think I would have understood it myself had I not worked on this project. I got to know Hartford on a more personal level and interact with it from the perspective of a person living and working in it as opposed to a student just temporarily staying in it. I discovered new neighborhoods met great people every day. This summer was an awesome experience and one that I will truly cherish.

You can access the preliminary findings and the work that the team and Garret have worked on this summer here.

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As we begin the semester, here are a few reminders about Community Learning resources and upcoming events. 

Community Learning courses build reciprocal relationships between Trinity students and Hartford-area residents. Across the College, faculty plan to teach over 20 courses with Community Learning components in Fall 2018. View current and recent courses at https://cher.trincoll.edu/community-learning/courses/. If you’re teaching a Community Learning course this semester, remember to reserve up to $500 in course assistance funds  by Wednesday, September 12: https://cher.trincoll.edu/community-learning/faculty/course-assistance-funds/  

Come to our Community Learning Brainstorming Lunch to start planning your course for next semester, and learn how faculty colleagues integrate Hartford into their learning goals. At our next lunch during Common Hour (12:15-1:15 pm) on October 4, Dario Del Puppo and Johannes Evelein (Language and Cultural Studies) will discuss their First-Year Seminar: Cycling and Sustainability in Hartford. Newcomers are especially welcome to share their ideas, too. Please RSVP for the lunch here

The new Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) will publicly launch this fall to bring together several Hartford programs: Community Learning, Community Service and Civic Engagement (with Joe Barber), the Liberal Arts Action Lab (with Megan Brown), Trinfo.Cafe (with Carlos Espinosa), and Urban Education Initiatives (with Robert Cotto). We also welcome CHER’s newest colleague, our Communications and Data Assistant, Erica Crowley. She earned her MSW in Community Organizing from UConn, and previously collaborated with Trinity students as a Hartford community partner at NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut.

Please contact either of us if you would like to discuss how to connect Hartford with your teaching goals, or help match you with community partners who share mutual interests.

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Photo: On location at Heaven Skatepark with Giana Moreno ’20, Juanita Chislom aka Empress Nijuabi, and Isabel Exstein ’19.

Trinity College Professor Seth Markle and students in his INTS 344 Global Hip Hop Cultures reflect on their experience in creating videos with Hartford Hip Hop Pioneers of the 1980s and 1990s. Filmed in Feb 2018.

Tuesday, February 13th marks the premiere of seven digital stories about hip hop pioneers from Hartford. Last fall, Trinity students enrolled in my seminar course ‘INTS 344: Global Hip Hop Cultures’, and worked in teams to produce 3-4 minute multimedia narratives featuring Rick Torres, Dooney Bates, Myron Moye, Juanita Chislom, Mike Wilson, Janice Fleming and Apollo Villarini. These digital stories, along with full interviews in text and video form, will be part of the ‘Hartford Hip Hop Digital Repository’ of the Hartford Public Library.

INTS 344 is a seminar course that explores the link between hip hop, youth identity formation, and politics. Last semester I decided to take a different approach to the course. Rather than learn about hip hop through books, students were introduced to hip hop through an oral history and digital storytelling based curriculum. And, instead of examining hip hop cultures in Africa, Asia and Latin America students explored the global dimensions of the music and culture by critically interrogating the early history of hip hop in Hartford and the ways in which youth contributed to and were impacted by the culture’s emergence during the 1980s and early 1990s.

It took me about a year to completely redesign this course. I was lucky enough to receive a fellowship from Trinity’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), which allowed me to utilize the resources and conversational space the fellowship provided to imagine an experimental learning course that would foment community learning and relationship building. In rethinking the course, I was immediately attracted to the ideas of oral history and digital storytelling not only because I engage with both mediums but also because I find them to be effective pedagogical approaches for promoting active learning and critical-creative thought in the classroom.

The course started to gain shape in October 2016 when I met with Jasmin Agosto, a graduate of Trinity College (Educational Studies, Class of 2010) and current staff member at the Hartford History Center (HHC) at the Hartford Public Library. I learned that she was in the preliminary stages of creating a Hartford hip hop archive. To begin that process, she was organizing an exhibition and panel discussion that she wanted me to moderate. I readily agreed and pitched her the idea of working together on digital stories about the history of hip hop in Hartford that would be made available to the public via what we are now calling the ‘Hartford Hip Hop Digital Repository’.

Graffiti mural promoting the Peace Train Breaking Competition, 1984-1985, Hartford, CT. Five boys and young men strike poses while breakdancing.
Graffiti mural promoting the Peace Train Breaking Competition, 1984-1985, Hartford, CT.

About a month later, the Hartford History Center sponsored “Hartford Hip Hop History: Then and Now”, a conversation about Hartford hip hop of the 1980s and 1990s and how the culture has evolved to the present. In addition to the panel, there was an archival exhibition containing posters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and video footage. Due to the positive feedback received, the HHC was fully committed to building a digital collection about hip hop in Hartford. The event was an overwhelming success and ultimately set the groundwork for the identification of Hartford hip hoppers for the digital stories for the INTS 344 course.

During the spring semester of 2017, Jasmin and I participated in CLI’s “Digital Storytelling for Community Learning” Workshop at Trinity College. Held on March 24, this all-day workshop was also extremely helpful in clarifying learning objectives, process, and assessment. I learned that, for college-based educators, incorporating digital storytelling into the college classroom allows for a transformative learning experience; builds and enhances communication skills; deepens content understanding; helps develop technical and media literacy skills; and strengthens critical thinking through peer reviewing.

Khaiim Kelly instructs Cody Maldonado on how to use beat making software.
Khaiim Kelly instructs Cody Maldonado ’20 on how to use beat making software.

Fifteen students enrolled in the course. Their majors ranged from International Studies to History to Studio Arts to Educational Studies to English. They participated in workshops that sought to equip them with the technical skills needed to construct a quality digital story while being exposed to Hartford’s rich history of cultural diversity as seen through the lens of people who used hip hop as a source of creative cultural expression and empowerment. The workshops were critical to the course’s effectiveness. Tim Wolf, a Hartford cultural activist, kicked off the semester off with a lecture about the early history of hip hop in Hartford. Christina Boyles, Trinity’s Digital Scholarship Coordinator, and Khaiim Kelly, a Hartford rap artist and educator, facilitated workshops on audio narration and beat-making, respectively. Kyle Young, a Hartford rap artist and multi-modal technician, delivered three useful workshops on the pre-production, production, and post-production phases of learning process. Overall, students learned about the unique art of narration by developing interview questions; conducting and transcribing interviews; script writing; camera operating; and editing audio and visual material by using multimedia applications such as Audacity, Photoshop and iMovie.

The students exceeded my expectations. They understood that this course was about more than a grade. I appreciated their patience, creativity, and commitment. They trusted the process in the face of many challenges. I really couldn’t have asked for a better crop of digital storytellers. This truly was a collaborative educational project. Thanks so much to the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Caribbean Studies, the Community Learning Initiative, and the Educational Technology Committee for providing the necessary course development funds. I look forward to teaching this course again in the future.

Seth Markle is an Associate Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College whose work focuses on the histories of cultural and political exchange between Africa and the African Diaspora. He is the author of A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974 (Michigan State University Press, 2017) and is currently working on two separate multimodal projects about hip hop culture in Tanzania and Hartford.Students from his Global Hip Hop Cultures course will present their digital stories of Hartford hip-hop pioneers at the 2018 Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, April 6-8. 

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CHER News, Community Learning, Hartford News, News, OCR News, Trinfo News, Uncategorized

We invite newer faculty to join our first cohort of Community Learning Faculty Fellows (CLiFF). Between 4-6 fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend to participate in four one-hour meetings during the academic year to discuss and design a Community Learning component to be taught in one of their upcoming courses. Eligibility is open to first-year and second-year faculty on tenure-track or multi-year visiting appointments.

At Trinity, we define Community Learning as an experiential component that builds connections between your students, your course, and people in the Hartford area. It involves collaborative partnerships that benefit all parties, and perspective-building relationships to deepen and extend liberal arts learning. We typically support 25 courses per semester, with offerings from nearly all departments and programs over the last several years. Read more about community learning and view a wide range of course descriptions.

Apply by Wednesday August 15th, 2018 at 4pm by sending your CLiFF proposal, no more than two pages, via email attachment to Associate Director Megan Hartline. See the application guidelines at http://commons.trincoll.edu/cli/faculty/cliff/.

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