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Community Learning
Jolet Creary of Studio-8-Sixty shares a performance

This semester the COVID pandemic has prompted us to think about community engagement, including Community Learning courses in entirely new ways. One example of this pivot has been in Assistant Professor of Theater & Dance Rebecca Pappas’ online Community Learning course THDN 145 “Performing Hartford” where students learned about local arts infrastructures and “nested arts ecosystems” that allow artists to emerge outside of traditional organizational structures.

Sistah Anyango and Jasmin Agosto ’10 speak with the class

To bring the Hartford local arts ecosystem into the classroom, Pappas collaborated with Jasmin Agosto ’10 of SageSeeker Productions to curate a virtual performance series with BIPOC Hartford artists who joined this evening class each week on Zoom. Each performance and Q&A session was streamed on Facebook Live to invite others in the Hartford and Trinity community to engage alongside the students and artists.

A critical piece of Community Learning at Trinity is engaging students in reflection about their course work, themselves, and the surrounding communities. Students were encouraged to reflect on the course text on nested arts ecosystems and their experiences in the virtual performances to inform their final projects. Projects ranged from Performance series proposals, festival plans, personal poetry, local artist brochures, and more. Take a look below! You can also view the performances here and read more about the course from Trinity Communications here.


An Unofficial Guide to the Hartford Arts Community: Work in Progress

by Clare Donahoe ’22, Eleanor Faraguna ’21, and Gisselle Hernandez ’22

An Unofficial Guide to the Hartford Arts Community

What Does it Mean to be an Artist?

by Shereni Baez ’21


Harts Celebration and Festival at Trinity College: A Proposal

By Tommy Walsh ’22

Hart Festival Tommy Walsh small

“Poetry Is..” and “Dance is..” Original Poetry on Performing Hartford

by Edwin Santana ’24 and Micaela Rufus ’23

Performing Hartford Poems

Performance Series Proposal: “Performing Louisville”

by Caroline Frederick ’24

See Caroline’s website about the project here.


From Performing Hartford: Advice for Artists

by Ishaan Madhok ’22

Advice for Artists Ishaan Madhok

At Trinity we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are a faculty member interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, or you believe your course should be designated  as a Community Learning course; or, if you are a Hartford community organization that is interested in partnering with Trinity, contact Director of Community Learning Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

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Community Learning

This semester the Covid pandemic has prompted us to think about community engagement, including Community Learning courses, creatively and often in entirely new ways. In some cases we have been able to safely continue off-campus engagement with face coverings and social distancing or transition previously planned in-person projects to remote versions. In other cases we have designed new courses and partnerships for a remote context – and this is all thanks to incredible work by our faculty and staff. Take a look at a few highlights below.


“Performing Hartford” Course Highlights BIPOC Hartford Artists in Facebook Live Series

Performing Hartford live with Sistah Anyango and Jasmin Agosto ’10.

Poet Zulynette speaks to the class.

Assistant Professor of Theater & Dance Rebecca Pappas collaborated with Jasmin Agosto ’10 of SageSeeker Productions to offer a new Community Learning Course and virtual performance series called “Performing Hartford.” In the course, students are learning about local arts infrastructures and how artists construct what Deb Goffe calls “nested arts ecosystems” which allow artists to emerge outside of traditional organizational structures.

Jolet Creary of Studio Eight Sixty shares a performance.

The performance series is meant to highlight the diversity of artistic practice in Hartford and bring Trinity and Hartford audiences together in a virtual space. We are so thankful to Rebecca, Jasmin, the students and all the artists who have come together to create a unique Community Learning experience and encourage multi-modal reflections in our students. Read more about Performing Hartford in Emma Sternberg ’21’s piece here.


EDUC/PBPL 318 “Privatization & Public Policy” Students Publish Evidence-Based Op-Eds in CT Viewpoints “Bantam Banter” Series
Castillo workshopping ideas about PBPL 318 during the 2019-20 Community Learning Faculty Fellows program.

Students in Visiting Assistant Professor Elise Castillo’s EDUC/PBPL 318 “Privatization & Public Policy” employed critical policy analysis and critical race theory to examine theories underlying privatization, evidence of its impact, and debates on costs and benefits — with a special units on the criminal justice system and K-12 public education. For the Community Learning component of the course, Castillo partnered with The Connecticut Mirror, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news site focusing on issues related to Connecticut state policy and politics, to have students submit for publication evidence-based opinion pieces on various privatization topics. See the recently published “Bantam Banter” section from CT Viewpoints here and be sure to congratulate this dedicated group of students!


Virtual Performances Continue in MUSC 113 Intro to World Music
A masked and socially distanced view of Mixashawn’s performance at Hartford Public Library streamed to Austin Arts Center for an Intro to World Music class.

Last month we stopped by Austin Arts Center to witness one of a few virtual performances organized by Professor Eric Galm and local Hartford musicians for Introduction to World Music. We snapped the photo above during Hartford jazz artist Lee “Mixashawn” Rozie’s performance of “Hemispheric Principles” which combines story and. music addressing environmental issues and drawing on his indigenous and African American experience. Fun fact: Mixashawn is a Trinity alum with degrees in History and Ethnomusicology.

Community Action Gateway Takes on Remote Social Media Projects with Hartford Partners
Community Action Gateway mentors Tiana Starks and Reagan Flynn put together care packages for this cohort, and Mabel Silva ’20 and Stefanie Wong speak about on-the-ground Hartford research.

This semester 14 students in Trinity College’s Community Action Gateway were introduced to Hartford as they jumped into remote community partnerships. Under normal circumstances, students would be encouraged to explore the city by attending local events and community meetings, going to arts and cultural institutions, going out to local coffee shops and restaurants, and more. We would also assign them a video project where they would work in small groups to create a 1-minute video with a Hartford community organization working for social change.

For a remote offering of the Fall course CACT 101 “Envisioning Social Change” Professor Stefanie Wong completely reimagined the assignments to include attending virtual Hartford events and engaging in semester-long projects with five Hartford organizations to create social media content. This year’s groups included:

Moral Monday CT – Essence Smith ’24, Caroline Frederick ’24, and Kash Jain ’24

Blue Ribbon Strategies #UnlocktheVote – Sabrina Clumeck ’24 and Alicia Anchondo ’24

CT Coalition to End Homelessness – Xavier Mercado ’24, Aarti Lamberg ’24 and Tara Iyer ’24

Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition – Sam Burg ’24, Sophia Sniffin ’24, and Ally Macht ’24

YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services – Claire Sabbe ’24, Abby Nick ’24, and Olivia Domingos ’24

Read more about this year’s Community Action Gateway “Envisioning Social Change” course in our full blog post here.


Community Learning Research Fellows Work with 5 Hartford Organizations
Fellows discuss data visualization with Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem and Instructor Laura Holt

Community Learning Research Fellows is a competitive program that allows selected students with previous community engagement experience to challenge their learning and perspective by taking on a research or creative project. This semester, we’ve been supporting 6 fellows who are taking on the challenge of designing and executing remote research projects in collaboration with a Hartford community partners and faculty sponsors. With guidance from Colloquium Instructor Laura Holt, Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem, Community Consultant James Jeter and others the fellows are exploring a series of topics: identifying a question and designing a research project, communicating a research plan, developing good interview skills, analyzing and visualizing data, and managing expectations and challenges in collaborative projects. In addition, this year the fellows are transforming traditional research posters to WordPress pages in order to effectively communicate their research to their community partners. Read more about the Fellows’ projects here and stay tuned as we lead up to their final presentations in December.

  • Alli Futter ’23 – Alternative Addiction Treatment Research with community partner Yvette Williams, 2 Your Health LLC and faculty advisor Susan Masino
  • Malika Buscaino ’23 and Wendy Salto ’22 – Making Information Accessible to Hartford Immigrants and Refugees with community partner Hartford Commission for Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA) and faculty advisor Julie Gamble
  • Bea Dresser ’22 – Legal Advocacy Assessment and Enhancement with community partner: CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence and faculty advisor Ben Carbonetti
  • Brenda Piedras ’21 – Experiences of Community Health Workers During Covid with community partner Denise Smith, National Association of Community Health Workers and faculty advisor Abby Williamson

In addition to the courses highlighted above, we have been thrilled to work with faculty on established Community Learning courses and developing new components for Spring 2021. Thank you to Urban Studies faculty David Lukens, Julie Gamble and Laura Delgado for collaborating with partners at Hartford NEXT, SINA, and the Center for Leadership & Justice and other organizations; thank you Arianne Bazilio and ENVS 375 students and Amber Pitt and BIOL/ENVS 141 students for continuing with safe outdoor engagements; Kelly Dugan and Elise Castillo and Stefanie Wong and HMTCA and ELAMS partners for offering remote engagements for LATN 105 Latin in the Community and EDUC 200 Analyzing Schools students; Judy Dworin and Elizabeth Allen for HRST New Beginnings; thank you Tony Cherolis of BiCi Co. for your incredible presentation in Beth Notar’s Anthropology course “Mobility & Sustainability”; and our continued thanks to all our faculty and community partners who continue to work together to offer Community Learning at Trinity especially during this challenging academic year.

At Trinity we define Community Learning courses as those that include perspective taking and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. If you are a faculty member interested in building a Community Learning component into your course, or you believe your course should be designated  as a Community Learning course; or, if you are a Hartford community organization that is interested in partnering with Trinity, contact Director of Community Learning Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

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News

We’ve had a few new team members since the summer. Abby Fisher Williamson joined as CHER’s director in July, Gabby Nelson joined as Assistant Director of Urban Engaged Learning in October, and Cynthia Mena began as Trinfo.Cafe’s Program Manager in November. Trinfo.Cafe’s student social media specialist Wendy Salto ’22 interviewed Abby and Gabby to learn more about them. Read on to meet these two new team members. We look forward to further introducing Cynthia in our next newsletter, scheduled to come out in January.

Get to know Abigail Fisher Williamson, Director of CHER.

You are new to the role as Director of CHER. What made you want to take on this role?

I have always loved the parts of my job that allow me to connect students with all that Hartford has to offer. By uniting several programs under one center, CHER synergizes the College’s community engagement activities and more effectively tells the story of these important efforts. I was excited to follow this work in its early years and, as director, I welcome the opportunity to work with the amazing CHER team to take it to the next level.

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

As a professor, I have roles in teaching, research, and service. This semester, a central focus of my teaching is working with two students who are conducting community-engaged research. One student is examining how Hartford responds to Latinx migrants/immigrants and how the city’s efforts shape civic and political incorporation. The other student is working with a partner organization to interview community health workers about how these lay experts can play a role in informing health policy. In terms of research, I’m currently conducting a major survey examining how Americans form and change their views on whose health deserves society’s investment. And in terms of service, as director of CHER I spend my days meeting with the CHER team and thinking about how we can build and strengthen partnerships with the city of Hartford.

What are your interests and passions?

I’ve always been fascinated by how communities come together to collectively address new opportunities and challenges. I enjoy learning what motivates diverse sets of people to come together and get meaningful things done. My research on how communities respond to new immigrant populations provided some insights, building on a long history of social science literature. The best way to support strong communities that effectively bridge differences is to gather diverse sets of people to work on shared projects as equal partners. Given structural racism and socioeconomic inequality, this work isn’t easy, but it’s the kind of work that I hope CHER can aspire to.

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

This fall, I’m proud of many efforts that have come together despite the obstacles of the pandemic, including the following:

  • First, Professor Rebecca Pappas and Director of Community Learning Erica Crowley have worked together to host virtual performances open to the public through the theater, dance, and music courses “Performing Hartford” and “Intro to World Music.” This program allows students to interact directly with local artists, and provides a venue for artists at a time when performing is severely limited.
  • Second, Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement Beatrice Alicea successfully transitioned the JZ-AMP mentoring program to an online format that will allow Trinity students to continue to mentor our cohort of middle school students, regardless of what the pandemic brings in the coming months.
  • Third, student leaders at Trinfo Café are working with Director Carlos Espinosa to create new curricula to serve the needs of Hartford residents during the pandemic. Specifically, these programs address Parents Working From Home and Children’s Remote Learning.

What are some things that you hope to accomplish this year despite COVID-19?

Off-campus community engagement is limited this year in order to do our part to keep the whole Hartford community safe. That said, CHER is still doing important work on and off campus. On campus, we’re offering support and leadership opportunities for community-engaged students and helping faculty pivot community learning efforts to a remote format. In Fall 2020, we’re pleased to be offering 16 community learning classes, involving remote engagement with Hartford partners. Trinfo Café is open and serving our neighbors with access to digital resources, and new technical curricula. And we’re transitioning many community service efforts online, including through our remote volunteering database (https://cher.trincoll.edu/volunteer/), where partners can post opportunities, and students can sign up to serve.

What else should we know about you?

I’m happiest when hiking with my husband and twin daughters, reading a novel in our hammock, trying a new restaurant, seeing a new play, or wandering through a thought-provoking art exhibit.

Get to know Gabby Nelson, Assistant Director of Urban Engaged Learning.

This is a brand new role at Trinity. How does this role work between two centers and what are you most excited about?

This role is shared between the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) and the Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS). I’ve worked at CUGS for the past two years on coordinating events, student grants, the China summer program, communications, and more. I’m excited to continue working with my super colleagues in CUGS while joining the dedicated CHER team to work on communications and data projects.

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

A typical day for me is a mix of working on communications projects, emailing with students about grants and programs, hosting events, coordinating with coworkers on plans for future projects, miscellaneous administrative tasks, and sneaking in a little time to work on my urban policy research. I’m a student in the master’s public policy program at Trinity, so my days often extend into the evening when I have class. 

What are your interests? 

I am interested in researching urban policy issues, especially related to urban housing revitalization and neighborhood revitalization. Outside of work and school, I grow a garden of about 2,500 square feet of flowers, vegetables, and herbs at an urban farm in Hartford.

What are some projects you hope to accomplish with your new role? 

I am currently in discussion with the CHER team members about the best way to update our newsletter and website to meet our current needs. Getting those updates established will be some of my first longer term projects with CHER. I’m looking forward to creating new pathways for communication and collaboration between CUGS and CHER as well. 

What is your favorite part about your job? 

My favorite part of my job is being surrounded by incredibly smart people everyday. I learn so much just by being around my colleagues. 

What else should people know about you? 

I teach yoga through Trinity Recreation on Fridays from 12:00-12:45. The class is open to all members of the Trinity community. Here is the recurring zoom link if you’d like to join: https://trincoll.zoom.us/j/92652861896. The last class for this semester is November 20th. We’ll resume again next semester.

 

 

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News

The Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and their associated student groups usually try to get off campus and into the community as much as possible. Community service has looked different this year. Student groups pivoted to remote and socially distant  formats for their service and advocacy work. Some of the work has taken on new forms, while other projects are annual events that have been rethought.

A screenshot of the Habitat for Humanity evictions crisis event.
A screenshot of the Habitat for Humanity Evictions Crisis Event. Salmun showed attendees a data visualization map that Trinity students helped create depicting evictions in CT.

Trinity’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity hasn’t been able to build houses this years, so they switched to a focus on advocacy. The group hosted a virtual lecture on the Covid-19 eviction crisis. Writes Ananya Ravishankar Usharani, president of the chapter,

“We at Trinity Habitat were able to host our first event of the semester, learning about and discussing the COVID-19 eviction crisis with CT Fair Housing Center staff attorney, Salmun Kazerounian. As someone who represents victims of housing discrimination, Salmun shed light on the intersecting issues of race and gender in housing discrimination and eviction cases, using mapped data to help visualize the crisis. Given our platform and commitment to being anti-racist, we believe it to be imperative to actively promote meaningful and sustainable efforts at education and advocacy. Looking forward, we are planning more such events which address housing issues and social justice.”

Students from ACES donated candy to Vernon Street residents to continue the Halloween on Vernon Street tradition. Virtual fun and games were uploaded to their YouTube channel as well.

The Annual Community Event Staff (ACES) pivoted Halloween on Vernon Street,  a 30 year annual campus and community staple, to a remote format this year. “We came into this semester being quite positive that we wouldn’t be able to hold this event at all, but after sitting with it for a few days, we eventually decided that this was something we couldn’t let our community go without,” says Elizabeth Jensen ’22, a leader in ACES. They set up a YouTube channel  with games, activities, and crafts that was publicized to our community partners. “Given that campus conditions are constantly changing with Covid-19, I am really proud that our club members were so willing to participate and put so much thought into their videos,” writes ACES leader Michaela Anton ’22. If you have young ones who are still looking for fun Fall games and crafts, their YouTube channel is now a treasure trove, thanks to their efforts to put together a fun virtual event. The Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and ACES made 100 bags of candy that were donated to the residents of Vernon Street (east of Broad Street) for their own Halloween celebration.

Cleaning up a community garden in Hartford.
La Voz Latina students participated in a socially distant clean up at a Summer of Solutions garden in Hartford on October 31, 2020.

Students from La Voz Latina participated in a clean-up day at a Summer of Solutions community garden on Zion Street in Hartford. They made great progress in getting the garden cleaned up for winter in a safe and socially distant way. 

Finally, the annual Thanksgiving Drive is still happening this year as well. This year’s drive will benefit the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS) and Hands on Hartford. Trinity community members can donate the cost of one or more food baskets (approximately $60) or provide a basket of non-perishable goods based on the provided shopping list. More information on how to donate can be found here.

 

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Community Service, News, Trinfo.Café

Fostering engaged voters among the Trinity and Hartford communities was an important focus for us this fall. “We create and provide opportunities for community service and civic engagement in part for students to understand that citizenship is an active existence that transcends mere national identity.  It is a philosophy and a way of life that demands positive involvement in the civic sphere by all of us.  Free and fair voting is one of the foundational tenets of such a system,” writes Joe Barber, Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. Barber, along with Carlos Espinosa, Director of Trinfo Cafe and the Office of Community Relations, served as a leader of TrinVotes this year.

TrinVotes is a nonpartisan initiative to encourage the Trinity community to vote by making voting more accessible and by educating the community about upcoming elections. Abigail Fisher Williamson, Director of CHER, served on the TrinVotes committee this Fall as well. 

A student holding up a ballot in front of the Chapel.
A student holds up a ballot in front of the Trinity College Chapel. Photo credit: @TrinVotes Instagram.

In addition to the diligent work of the TrinVotes coalition, students in the Community Action Gateway first year seminar course “Envisioning Social Change” worked with community partners on voter engagement projects this semester. Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Stefanie Wong said, “The course allows students to gain a deeper understanding of social inequity and systematic oppression and learn from and alongside community organizations in the Hartford area that are working to challenge inequities and work for social change.” (Quote from Trinity news article by Emma Sternberg ’21). Three out of five groups in the class worked with community partners focused on voting. Students worked with the Hartford Votes-Hartford Vota Coalition, Blue Ribbon Strategies, and Moral Monday CT  on social media projects related to voting. 

We’re proud of the work our team and students put in this semester to ensure everyone in our community was informed, aware, and engaged in the election this year.

 

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Newsletters

It has been a busy few months at CHER! During the COVID-19 pandemic we launched two new initiatives: engaging students, staff, and faculty in remote volunteering and employing students in storytelling projects about their pandemic experiences. In recent weeks we have also reflected on Trinity students’ experiences of racism and sexual violence on campus and identified ways that our community engagement work can respond. Additionally, we’d like to announce important staffing transitions in CHER. Read through the highlights below, and be sure to contact us with any questions or ideas.


Staffing Goodbyes

It is with a heavy heart and deep gratitude that we say goodbye to three of our amazing CHER colleagues. We are thankful to have worked with them, and wish them all the best in the next stages of their careers!

  • Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning, accepted a tenure-track faculty position with a focus on community engagement in the English Department at UT-Chattanooga.

  • Megan Brown, Director of the Liberal Arts Action Lab, accepted a tenure-track faculty position in the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN.

  • Ari Basche, former Program Manager of Trinfo & Community Relations, left her role in June to pursue a Master’s in English at UConn.


Staffing Hellos

Erica Crowley Promoted to Director of Community Learning
CHER is excited to announce that Erica Crowley, CHER’s current Communications and Data Assistant, will be promoted to Director of Community Learning, effective August 5, 2020. Erica joined the CHER team in August 2018, bringing valuable skills as a community organizer and communications professional. Since that time, she has led us in developing and carrying out a communications plan that effectively “tells our stories,” and has also continued to build on her strong relationships with Hartford partners. Erica holds a Master’s of Social Work with a focus on Community Organizing from the University Connecticut and currently serves on the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women and participates in Mutual Aid Hartford. In her new role as Director of Community Learning, Erica will direct the Community Action Gateway program and continue the crucial work of guiding faculty and students in meaningful academic engagements with Hartford partners.

CHER Welcomes Abby Williamson as Director
On July 1, the CHER team also welcomed Abby Fisher Williamson (right), Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy & Law as the new CHER Director. In addition to her community-engaged research and teaching on immigration and health policy, Abby brings training and experience in strategic management, fundraising, and evaluation to the position. While at Trinity, she has served as a Faculty Fellow in the Liberal Arts Action Lab and taught community learning courses, including PBPL 351: “Diversity in the City.” In that course, fifteen students examined how cities have responded to diverse newcomers, and served as short-term research assistants on this topic for local organizations. We are looking forward to Abby’s leadership in this role!


Hearing @BlackatTrin, @TrinSurvivors, and the Umoja Coalition

In recent weeks, CHER has reflected on Trinity students’ experiences of racism and sexual violence highlighted by @BlackatTrin and @TrinSurvivors, and the comprehensive lists of demands released by the Umoja Coalition (a coalition of Black student organizations) and TrinSurvivors. We are seeing, hearing, and feeling students’ pain deeply, and we unequivocally affirm that Black lives matter and we believe survivors. We value the strong presence of BIPOC students in CHER and will strive to make our programs a welcoming space. After carefully reviewing students’ experiences and demands, we have identified concrete action steps that align with our mission of strengthening educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and Trinity students, staff, and faculty. Our recommendations can be read here.


Our Covid Stories

This Spring, CHER invited Trinity College students to submit stories about the COVID pandemic to deepen our understanding of different people’s experiences of this crisis, and how communities have responded. Connection and community have been critical during this difficult period, and we have been honored to connect student storytellers with CHER staff editors at a time when so many of us have been disconnected from the Trinity community. Read through the stories on our website here.


Virtual Volunteering

In the Spring semester, many campuses, including Trinity, moved to remote classes due to COVID, and faculty and staff have been encouraged to work from home. This has required us to come up with entirely new ways to be civically engaged. This Spring we were so impressed with the willingness of our students and faculty to jump into action by sending in read-aloud stories, providing tech and web help to partners, sending thank you cards to essential employees, and more. Read about the program in Bhumika Choudhary ‘18’s piece here.


Fall Reopening

Trinity intends to welcome students back to campus in September, closely following official health guidelines. The College will release further guidance on policies and CHER will continue to update community partners. More on Trinity’s reopening plans can be found here at https://www.trincoll.edu/reopening/


CHER Director: Abby Williamson
CHER Communications & Data Assistant: Erica Crowley
Community Learning Director: Megan Faver Hartline
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
Community Service and Civic Engagement Assistant Director: 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
HMTCA-Trinity Partnership Director: Robert Cotto Jr.

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Newsletters

Welcome to the CHER September Newsletter! We send out an e-newsletter to keep the campus and community updated about what we’re doing here in the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College (CHER😎). Take a look at some important information below and contact us with any questions.


Hartford Community Engagement During COVID

CHER’s mission continues to focus on strengthening educational partnerships between Trinity and the Hartford community. Due to the pandemic, CHER’s efforts will take a different form during Fall 2020.  With the well-being of the Hartford community in mind, CHER’s community engagement activities will be largely online, rather than in person. Specifically:
  • All off-campus Trinity-sponsored engagements by students must have specific academic or co-curricular purposes, be approved by the College, and be supervised by a Trinity faculty or staff member. During all activities participants will be 6 feet apart while wearing masks. These engagements will be extremely limited, especially in the first few weeks of the Fall semester.
  • To ensure the health and safety of the Hartford and campus community, there will be no on-campus visitors, with the exception of essential visiting personnel, through September 20th. After that date, outside groups may be allowed on campus on a limited basis with approval. Approvals will be considered when the College has developed an understanding of how the virus may be affecting the community. If you are a community partner working with students this semester, meetings must occur via phone, Zoom, or another online platform at least through September 20th, and likely beyond.
  • Trinfo Cafe will reopen Monday, September 21, to allow access to internet and office resources, but without additional events.
  • The Liberal Arts Action Lab is paused for Fall 2020 and is currently not hosting visitors or booking events. For questions on the Lab, please contact Morgan Finn at Morgan.Finn@trincoll.edu
  • Additional information on the College’s reopening policies can be found at https://www.trincoll.edu/reopening. For questions on CHER’s programming during the pandemic, please contact Abby Fisher Williamson.

Staying Connected to the Community: Remote Volunteering Database

In response to the evolving needs of both the Trinity and Hartford communities, CHER is excited to announce that we are revamping our Remote Volunteering Database! Community partners can share their opportunities with the campus community. Students, faculty, and staff can submit their skills and ideas. CHER team members will then match potential volunteers with partners based on the results. Phone or online engagements are preferred since most student engagement will be remote; staff and faculty may be able to participate in person. Examples of remote volunteering from Spring 2020 can be found here.


We’re Hiring: Program Manager, Trinfo Café & Office of Community Relations

Come work with us! The Office of Community Relations and the Trinfo.Café seek applications for a Program Manager position to begin in September 2020. Candidates must be fluent in Spanish. Apply here.


Announcing the Fall 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows

The Center for Hartford Engagement & Research is pleased to announce the 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows! In this competitive program, a group of select students with previous community engagement experience will design and execute remote research projects in collaboration with Hartford community partners and faculty sponsors, with guidance from Colloquium instructor Laura Holt and Teaching Assistant James Jeter.

  • Alli Futter ‘23 and faculty sponsor Susan Masino – 2 Your Health Alternative Addiction Treatment
  • Malika Buscaino ‘23, Wendy Salto ‘22 and faculty sponsor Julie Gamble – Commission for Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA)
  • Bea Dresser ‘22 and faculty sponsor Ben Carbonetti – CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Brenda Piedras ‘21 and faculty sponsor Abigail Williamson – National Association of Community Health Workers
  • Kevin Torres ‘21 and faculty sponsor Garth Myers – Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA)

Trinity Continues Virtual Tutoring and Mentoring
with Hartford Students

The Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program is excited to return for the second year of its 3-year cohort this fall. This year students will be welcomed virtually, with online homework help and activities to further develop the existing mentor-mentee relationships. “This year has been far from normal,” said Beatrice Alicea, Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement. “We are grateful to be able to reconnect our mentors and mentees and bring some consistency and support during a time of unexpected change.” Trinity students who are interested in becoming a tutor or mentor can also find opportunities here.


Growing Relationships at Trinfo Café’s
Community Garden

Trinfo.Café’s community garden received repair and renovation this summer thanks to crowdfunding by Professor Susan Masino and the Simsbury Grange and a matching grant from Sustainable CT Community Match Fund. Hartford community gardeners and Trinity students, faculty, and staff will be able to come together to garden in new raised beds with replenished soil and basic supplies for safe outdoor gardening. Read more here.


‘Feeding 2020 Initiative’ Delivers Meals to Hartford Families

Since the surge of the COVID pandemic in Connecticut in mid-March, many Hartford area families have experienced exacerbated food insecurity. To respond, Trinity’s dining service partner Chartwells, the Office of Spiritual & Religious Life, Moral Monday CT and others in the Hartford and Trinity community have partnered to deliver hot meals to families twice per week. Thank you Assistant Dean of Students John Selders, former Chaplain Allison Read, Moral Monday CT co-founder Pamela Selders, Chartwells District Manager Tony Chenette, as well as Joe Barber, Erica Crowley, Carol Montesi, Professor Stefanie Wong, Craig and Jose at McKinney Shelter, Miss Pat at the Teacher’s Village, Lilly Herrera and others members of our community! Read more about the initiative in this article by Emma Sternberg ‘20.


Community Service Office Supports SINA School Supply Drive

Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement kicked off the school year by teaming up with SINA for their school supply drive! With donations from Trinity College, Hartford Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the drive provided backpacks with school supplies for 105 students and school supply kits for another 20 children who live in Frog Hollow. Thanks to Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement for leading this campaign on campus and to the Track and Field Team and Athletes of Color Coalition for their donations. A special thank you to Elisa Griego from the Austin Arts Center, who made face masks for each of Trinity’s backpacks, and to Assistant Track and Field Coach Bill Morgan for his generous financial contribution to support this effort. Photo by SINA.


Race and Schools: List of Talks and Programs 2020-21

Looking for more information about race in schools? Check out this informal list of online talks and programs compiled by Trinity’s Robert Cotto Jr., director of the HMTCA partnership and DEI Fellow, and co-author Stefanie Wong, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies. This resource includes upcoming events in September 2020 and will be updated regularly throughout the school year. Today’s lineup includes an anti-racism webinar for current and future teachers and a virtual public forum on racism and equity.


Liberal Arts Action Lab: Update on programming and events

The Liberal Arts Action Lab is paused for Fall 2020 due to the pandemic. For now, you can find the exciting results from last semester’s projects here. For questions on the Lab, please contact Morgan Finn at morgan.finn@trincoll.edu.


Public Humanities Collaborative Explores Digital Tools in Remote Work

This summer, Trinity’s Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of the Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, went fully remote. Students worked creatively with faculty and Hartford community partners on archival research, oral history interviewing, digital storytelling, story mapping, exhibit planning, social media engagement, website construction, and more. As an enrichment to their field experience, students also attended weekly lunch-and-learn workshops focused on careers in the humanities, using digital tools, and broader issues like ethical approaches to research and community projects. Read more about the PHC here.

CHER Director: Abby Williamson
Community Learning Director: Erica Crowley
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
Community Service and Civic Engagement Assistant Director: Beatrice Alicea
Liberal Arts Action Lab Communications and Program Assistant: Morgan Finn
Trinfo.Cafe and Office of Community Relations Director: Carlos Espinosa
HMTCA-Trinity Partnership Director: Robert Cotto Jr.

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Community Learning

Photo: Community Action Gateway students listen to a virtual presentation from Mabel Silva ’20 about her experiences conducting research in Hartford and mentors Tiana Starks ’21 and Reagan Flynn ’23 put together care packages for the cohort.


This semester 14 students in Trinity College’s Community Action Gateway are getting an entirely new introduction to Hartford as they jump into remote community partnerships. Under normal circumstances, students would be encouraged to explore the city by attending local events and community meetings, going to arts and cultural institutions, going out to local coffee shops and restaurants, and more. We would also assign them a video project where they would work in small groups to create a 1-minute video with a Hartford community organization working for social change.

This semester, we have transitioned to a remote offering of the Fall course “Envisioning Social Change” and Professor Stefanie Wong has reimagined the assignments so that students can work remotely and while still having the opportunity to explore the ways that social change happens in Hartford.

One of the most important components of the Community Action Gateway is to help students understand the multiple ways that social change is happening in the city. To encourage students to engage with Hartford even in a remote context, their first assignment was to take a look at our Hartford and Trinity Events Padlet board, attend a virtual event and write a reflection about the experience.

Made with Padlet

For their larger semester-long assignment that was previously a video project, students this semester will create social media content for five Hartford area community partners:

Moral Monday CT – Essence Smith ’24, Caroline Frederick ’24, and Kash Jain ’24

Blue Ribbon Strategies #UnlocktheVote – Sabrina Clumeck ’24 and Alicia Anchondo ’24

CT Coalition to End Homelessness – Xavier Mercado ’24, Aarti Lamberg ’24 and Tara Iyer ’24

Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition – Sam Burg ’24, Sophia Sniffin ’24, and Ally Macht ’24

YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services – Claire Sabbe ’24, Abby Nick ’24, and Olivia Domingos ’24

Partners from each organization joined the students for a virtual meet and greet event on September 17th on Zoom and students will begin interviewing them next week to prepare for creating 6 social media posts. To help students create high quality content, we put together a short workshop on “Communications and Graphic Design Projects for Community Partners” with Director of Community Learning Erica Crowley and Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem. Anyone can view and share this resource at bit.ly/CLCommsProjects.

Even during one of the most challenging semesters, we are so impressed with this cohort’s passion and dedication to create useful communications products for community partners while learning more broadly about the multiple ways social change is happening in Hartford during the pandemic. To learn more about the Community Action Gateway you can view our past blog posts here.

 

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Community Learning

As we move into our Fall 2020 semester during the Covid pandemic, many Trinity College classes have moved online and we are faced with the challenge of thinking about community engagement in a remote context. Social media content, especially Livestreaming, has become one of the most effective and viable forms of communication in our new environment. So naturally, our faculty, staff, students and community partners are asking how to take community events or project presentations that would once have been held in person and transition them to a virtual context. This blog post serves to help anyone hosting a Zoom event to stream it directly to Facebook.


The first step you’ll need to take is to go into your Zoom Account settings and enable live streaming of your meetings. Go to “Settings” and scroll down to “In Meeting (Advanced)” and turn on “Allow live streaming meetings.” Be sure to check off Facebook, Workplace by Facebook, and Youtube.


Then, open your Zoom meeting or event. If you want to record your Zoom event, you should select “Meeting” and “Record to this Computer” or “Record to the Cloud.” Then, you are ready to begin your livestream.


Click the three dots on the bottom right menu of your Zoom screen and select “Live on Facebook.”

Your Facebook account will open in your web browser and you can choose to share the stream to “My timeline” (which is your personal account) or “Share on a Page You Manage” which allows you to share this to your business page. In my case, I’m choosing to share on a page I manage called “Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College.”


Then, you can give your event a title, add a caption to your video, tag partners or other pages you are working with. Then you are ready to hit “Go Live” in the bottom right corner.

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HMTCA-Trinity Partnership

In usual years, Trinity College P.R.I.D.E. leaders show new Trinity College students in the program about the places they know, appreciate, and learn with in Hartford. This P.R.I.D.E. program is part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs that is “designed to help students from underrepresented backgrounds/identities (e.g. racial/ethnic, international, sexual orientation, and gender identity) become acquainted with the campus and make a successful transition to Trinity’s academic and social environment.” 

Given the current circumstances and concerns about safety, P.R.I.D.E. Leaders created a “Virtual Hartford Walking Tour” using the StoryMap platform. Last week, P.R.I.D.E. leader walked through the map virtually with new students in the P.R.I.D.E. program. As a shared map online, any Trinity College student can now use the P.R.I.D.E. leaders’ StoryMap virtually or in-person on their own to learn more about various places in Hartford.

The “Virtual Hartford Walking Tour” can be found here.

 

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The Center for Hartford Engagement & Research is pleased to announce the 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows! This is a competitive program that allows selected students with previous community engagement experience to challenge their learning and perspective by taking on a research or creative project. This semester, these 6 fellows are taking on the added challenge to design and execute a remote research projects in collaboration with a Hartford community partners and faculty sponsor, with guidance from Colloquium Instructor Laura Holt and Community Consultant James Jeter.

Each week the fellows are exploring a series of topics: identifying a question and designing a research project, communicating a research plan, developing good interview skills and techniques, analyzing and visualizing data, designing visual presentations and posters, and managing expectations and addressing challenges in collaborative projects. This semester, fellows will also have the opportunity to view a special recorded panel discussion on trauma-informed interviewing during the Covid pandemic hosted by Integrate NYC, Yale Education Studies, Guttman Community College Urban Studies and Trinity College’s Community Learning program.

The Fall 2020 Community Learning Research Fellows are:


Alli Futter ’23 – Alternative Addiction Treatment Research

Community partner: Yvette Williams, 2 Your Health LLC

Faculty advisor: Susan Masino

  • 2 Your Health asks for assistance identifying and organizing existing research on all-natural holistic addiction treatment methods and synthesizing the resources available for a grant application. This research will support 2 Your Health in taking their pilot program to the next step.

Malika Buscaino ’23 and Wendy Salto ’22 – Making Information Accessible to Hartford Immigrants and Refugees

Community partner: Commission for Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA)

Faculty advisor: Julie Gamble

  • The Hartford Commission of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA) asks for assistance making critical information easily accessible and digestible to the immigrant and refugee community in Hartford through CRIA’s social media pages. In addition to this work on communications, Malika and Wendy will be tutoring youth in hope to gain a better perspective on their experience living in Hartford. This project will contribute CRIA’s development of new initiatives to fulfill needs in the community.

Bea Dresser ’22 – Legal Advocacy Assessment and Enhancement

Community partner: CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Faculty advisor: Ben Carbonetti

  • The CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence asks for an analysis of the Family Violence Victim Advocate (FVVA) role in each of the geographic area courts and identification of adjustments that can be made to improve advocacy opportunities and make the best use of victim advocate resources in Connecticut.

Brenda Piedras ’21 – Experiences of Community Health Workers During Covid

Community partner: National Association of Community Health Workers & Denise Smith, Network for Health

Faculty sponsor: Abby Williamson

  • Brenda will assist the National Association of Community Health Workers in coding existing interviews from Community Health Workers as well as developing a semi-structured interview guide to conduct follow up interviews on workers’ experiences during the Covid pandemic. This research will help uplift the legislative voice of Community Health Workers.

Kevin Torres ’21 – Abandoned Property Research

Community Partner: Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA)

Faculty advisor: Garth Myers

  • Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA) asks for assistance identifying problem properties including crime hotspots or sources of blight before they affect the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood. This process will help NINA engage property owners in repairing their properties before substantial community and governmental investment of resources becomes necessary.

To learn more about the Community Learning Research Fellows Program, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/fellows or contact Instructor Laura.Holt@trincoll.edu.

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As we begin the Fall 2020 semester, I would like to remind our faculty about support available for Community Learning courses that engage students and Hartford community partners in mutually beneficial projects, including those that can be done remotely. These courses provide opportunities for experiential learning and develop collaborative, perspective-building relationships with individuals and organizations in Hartford. 

Should Your Course be Designated Community Learning?

Community Learning courses can ask students to engage in direct service (volunteering or participant observation), create information products (brochures, infographics, maps, databases, web pages, social media graphics, short videos), or conduct research for an organization. You can view examples of past projects here. If you wish to discuss your course, including ideas for remote work, or if you need to add or remove your course from this list of Fall Community Learning courses, please contact Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

How to Reserve up to $500 in Community Learning Course Assistance Funds (by Friday Sept. 18th)

Each semester Community Learning offers faculty up to $500 of expense funding for each Community Learning course. Allowable expenses include: stipends for community partners or guest speakers, books and instructional materials, printing costs, video or photography equipment or services, hourly wages for teaching assistants, and other expenses with approval. 

To reserve your funds:

  • Step 1: Notify us in advance by filling out the Community Learning fund reservation form by Friday Sept. 18th which will allow us to plan the budget accordingly. If you do not submit a reservation form in advance, we may not be able to fund your course.
  • Step 2 –  Email a one-paragraph description of the Community Learning component of your course and a copy of your syllabus for approval to Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.
  • Step 3 – At any point now through one month after the end of the semester, send Erica Crowley your receipts or other documents needed for reimbursement or disbursement of the funds (more information about the reimbursement process can be found here).

Other Questions about Community Learning or Hartford engagement?

I am available to help you develop ideas for community learning partnerships and assignments, even if you are teaching remotely. Send me an email with your questions or send me 2-3 dates/times you are available for a phone or Zoom call. I am excited to take on this role in Community Learning and I would love to hear about your ideas for courses you plan to offer in Fall, J-Term, or Spring. You can also see information about other programs within the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research (CHER) here.


For more information contact Community Learning Director Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu 

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Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement kicked off the school year by teaming up with SINA for their school supply drive! With donations from Trinity College, Hartford Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the drive provided backpacks with school supplies for 105 students and school supply kits for another 20 children who live in Frog Hollow. 

Thanks to Joe Barber and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement for leading this campaign on campus and to the Track and Field Team and Athletes of Color Coalition for their donations. A special thank you to Elisa Griego from the Austin Arts Center, who made face masks for each of Trinity’s backpacks, and to Assistant Track and Field Coach Bill Morgan for his generous financial contribution to support this effort. Photo by SINA.

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CHER’s mission continues to focus on strengthening educational partnerships between Trinity and the Hartford community. Due to the pandemic, CHER’s efforts will take a different form during Fall 2020.  With the well-being of the Hartford community in mind, CHER’s community engagement activities will be largely online, rather than in person. Specifically:

  • All off-campus Trinity-sponsored engagements by students must have specific academic or co-curricular purposes, be approved by the College, and be supervised by a Trinity faculty or staff member. During all activities participants will be 6 feet apart while wearing masks. These engagements will be extremely limited, especially in the first few weeks of the Fall semester.
  • To ensure the health and safety of the Hartford and campus community, there will be no on-campus visitors, with the exception of essential visiting personnel, through September 20th. After that date, outside groups may be allowed on campus on a limited basis with approval. Approvals will be considered when the College has developed an understanding of how the virus may be affecting the community. If you are a community partner working with students this semester, meetings must occur via phone, Zoom, or another online platform at least through September 20th, and likely beyond.
  • Trinfo Cafe will reopen Monday, September 21, to allow access to internet and office resources, but without additional events.
  • The Liberal Arts Action Lab programming is paused for Fall 2020 and the downtown campus at 10 Constitution Plaza is currently not hosting visitors or booking events. For questions on the Lab, please contact Morgan Finn at Morgan.Finn@trincoll.edu 

Additional information on the College’s reopening policies can be found at https://www.trincoll.edu/reopening. For questions on CHER’s programming during the pandemic, please contact Abby Fisher Williamson.

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Community Learning

This summer, Trinity’s Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of the the Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, went fully remote as students worked creatively with faculty and community partners.

Over the ten weeks of the program students managed their time working with faculty and community partners on public humanities projects and participated in weekly lunch and learn workshops on Zoom to learn about a variety of topics in public humanities. In their projects students had the opportunity to engage in archival research, oral history interviewing, digital storytelling, story mapping, exhibit planning, social media engagement, website construction, and more. To enrich their field experience the students, faculty, and partners also participated in lunch and learn workshops where they learned about digital tools like Story Maps and Canva and discussed broader issues like ethical approaches to research and community projects and strategies for managing multiple projects.

In three years of PHC we have seen this program simultaneously present a challenge and opportunity for students to shift their way of thinking and working from classroom based to that of a paid research assistant. They were able to strategize with each other and with coordinator Megan Faver Hartline about how to manage project expectations, plus they reflected on what careers in the humanities looked like as they heard from partners with humanities backgrounds from Hartford History Center, YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Man on Fire LLC, and others.

During the summer, each project team was asked to present about their work and train the class in a digital tool or other skill they had learned through their project. Take a look at their presentations below.


Voces de la Migración: Archiving and Sharing the U.S. Latinx Experience in Hartford with Aidalí Aponte and Christina Bleyer, Trinity College, and Jasmin Agosto, Hartford History Center
Zeinab Bakayoko ’23
Karolina Barrientos ’22
Mia Conte ’22
Krystal Philson ’21
Wendy Salto ’22
Gabriel Sorondo Guirola ’23

The Voces de la Migración project team grew yet again this year! This is a digital archiving project between the Watkinson Library/Trinity Special Collections and Archives and the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library. Last year’s students collected oral history interviews, and this year Zeinab, Karolina, Mia, Krystal, Wendy and Gabriel each took an hour long interview (in English or Spanish) and indexed them using Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OMHS), an archival software used to enhance oral histories through indexing and/or annotating the interview.


Audio Shelfie with Mary Mahoney, Trinity College, and various community partners across Connecticut
Esther Appiah ’21
Max Nortemann ’23

Esther and Max got creative this summer to work with Mary Mahoney to develop Audio Shelfie, a storytelling project designed to foster empathy by creating remote storytelling opportunities using themed prompts for Trinity and Hartford contributors. To conduct outreach activities, Max and Esther learned to use the graphic design tool Canva to create engaging graphics for Instagram, and they experienced hosting weekly Instagram Live conversations to solicit Audio Shelfie contributions. Prompts included topics like Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Food & Heritage, and Gender, sexuality and identity. Mahoney was an incredible resource to Max and Esther in teaching them how to edit and showcase contributions using the software Hindenburg and Headliner.


Making Visible Trinity, Hartford, and Caribbean Histories with Janet Bauer, Trinity College
Eviction Intervention and Prevention with Shaznene Hussain and Salmun Kazerounian, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Ayesha Malik ’22
Hassan Rashid ’22

This summer Professor Janet Bauer asked Ayesha and Hassan to create a website archive of the WMGS program at Trinity with a focus on user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design to ensure the ethnographic, audio, and video documentary content would be accessible and exciting for multiple public audiences. The students were challenged with finding digital tools like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Docs to help compile and organize large amounts of data and the transcription app Trint to assist in transcribing interviews before moving to creating the web archive in WordPress (thanks Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem!). From there, they began using the graphic design tool Canva to create infographics, TimelineJS to embed a timeline of WMGS history directly into the site, and SoundCite to add audio clips of personal stories to pieces text on the site.

With Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Ayesha and Hassan were tasked with identifying eviction cases in Connecticut and determining whether they violated the evictions moratorium currently in place due to COVID-19. They used Google Sheets and excel to track evictions and then another tool MapinSeconds.com to present data visualizations that ID eviction hot spots in Connecticut.


Food, Wine, and World History with Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, Trinity College
Bringing American History to New Audiences with Rich Malley, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
Jaymie Bianca ’21
Kyre William-Smith ’21
Masho Strogoff ’22
Doris Wang ’21

Project management was an important skill that Jaymie, Kyre, Masho, and Doris leaned into this summer as they worked with Professor Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre and community partners at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. Using Slack, a timely tool to learn during Covid, the students were able to effectively communicate with each other about multiple projects and ideas in a remote context. This was particularly helpful since each member of the group worked on an individual project for their community partner including creating social media content, designing educational programming, and translations for Chinese audiences. They learned new tools like Adobe Spark Video to create and edit videos with audio recordings on mobile devices and ArcGIS StoryMaps and Animaker to display information in an interactive way on the web.


Building an Online Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought with Maurice Wade, Trinity College
Investigating Welfare Liens with Shaznene Hussain and Sarah White, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Divina Lama ’21
Ananya Usharani Ravishankar ’21

Over the past two PHC cohorts we have had students work with Professor Maurice Wade on the Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought Archive for Trinity’s Center for Caribbean Studies.  This year, Divina and Ananya continued that work by identifying both original and secondary sources pertaining to Caribbean anti-colonial thought and determining how best to organize these materials for online presentation. You can view the archive here. Divina and Ananya also worked with community partners at Connecticut Fair Housing Center to investigate welfare liens, which allow the state to recover assistance funds someone has received in the past by demanding repayment when they purchase or refinance a home.


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 that is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. To learn more, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/phc

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News

Dear Trinity Community,

In recent weeks, the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) has reflected on Trinity students’ experiences of racism and sexual violence highlighted by @BlackatTrin and @TrinSurvivors, and the comprehensive lists of demands released by the Umoja Coalition and TrinSurvivors. We are seeing, hearing, and feeling students’ pain deeply, and we unequivocally affirm that Black lives matter and we believe survivors. We value the strong presence of BIPOC students in CHER and will strive to make our programs a welcoming space. The organizing and truth-telling we are witnessing has inspired us to make changes. 

After carefully reviewing students’ experiences and demands, we have identified concrete action steps that align with our mission of strengthening educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and Trinity students, staff, and faculty. Prejudice toward Hartford and its residents represents a significant theme in the @BlackatTrin posts. This mistrust of our predominantly Black and Brown neighbors spills over into stigmatizing students of color on our campus. @BlackatTrin also signals that students of color regularly feel exhausted and exploited, including at times in the community engagement context. Too often, students go unheard when sharing their stories of racism and sexual violence on campus.

In response, CHER reaffirms our commitment to building mutually beneficial partnerships between Trinity and Hartford and supporting an institutional culture of welcoming our Hartford neighbors. Strengthening these meaningful connections can reduce prejudice toward Hartford residents, and the accompanying stigmatization of Trinity’s students of color. Further, we commit to institutionalizing mechanisms for student leadership in CHER to better listen to the experiences of BIPOC and other marginalized students.

Specifically, CHER will:

  • Build deeper relationships with Hartford partners working on racial justice and sexual violence prevention, and publicize opportunities for learning and supporting these local efforts through our social media.
  • Mobilize our partnerships with Hartford organizations to support campus-wide initiatives to expand anti-racist programming and improve campus climate.
  • Renew our efforts to advocate for a welcoming campus environment for Hartford residents through continued evaluation of campus-community relationships.
  • Add diverse student representation to the CHER Advisory Board, alongside our existing faculty, staff, and Hartford resident board members, and explore additional mechanisms for continuous student input.
  • Maintain a standing agenda item for CHER staff meetings on learning about and combatting systemic racism and sexual violence, through shared team readings, discussions, and identification of future action steps.

We are thankful to the students who have shared their stories, and the student organizers who have issued this powerful call to action. We will continue to listen to and amplify your voices.

In solidarity,

Beatrice Alicea, Assistant Director of Community Service & Civic Engagement

Joe Barber, Director of Community Service & Civic Engagement,

Megan Brown, Director of the Liberal Arts Action Lab 

Erica Crowley, CHER Communications & Data Assistant

Morgan Finn, Communications and Program Assistant Liberal Arts Action Lab

Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning

Robert Cotto, Jr., Director of HMTCA-Trinity College Partnership

Abigail Fisher Williamson, CHER Director and Associate Professor

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Community Service

Trinity College’s Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement works with hundreds of students a year, encouraging future civic leaders to get involved in a broad range of social issues and to build and maintain strong, sustainable community partnerships in Hartford. This year, we are pleased to announce the following five recipients of our Honors Day Awards.

Samuel S. Fishzohn Award for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (Lucemy Perez ’21)

Lucemy Perez ’20. Repost from @trincolleros Instagram.

The Samuel S. Fishzohn Awards for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was established in 1966 in memory of Samuel S. Fishzohn, Class of 1925, a prominent figure in social work and welfare. The award is given each year to at least one student who has worked with dedication in civil rights, civil liberties or race relations. This year’s recipient, Lucemy Perez is a senior at Trinity, currently pursuing a BA and MA in American Studies from the college. Lucemy said, “I plan on pursuing a PhD in the field as well. During my time at Trinity, I have been a senator and class president on SGA and have been social chair and president for Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS). Currently, I work at WGRAC as Masculinity Project co-Coordinator, the Queer Resource Center, the Writing Center, Event Support, and was the campus marketing representative for Hotspots Hartford. Outside of what I do on campus, I am a writer and artist, and am passionate about community and organizing.”

The Samuel S. Fishzohn Award for Community Service (Weyessa “Ace” McAlister ’20 and Tulsi Sumukadas ’20)

The Samuel S. Fishzohn Awards for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was established in 1966 in memory of Samuel S. Fishzohn, Class of 1925, a prominent figure in social work and welfare. Awards are given each year to at least one student who has demonstrated initiative and creativity in community service related to important social issues. This year’s receipients are Ace McAlister ’20 and Tulsi Sumukadas ’20.

McAlister is giving back to his home country of Ethiopia through the charity that he founded, H2OPE TC, a Trinity College organization dedicated to raising both funds and attention towards the lack of clean water in rural villages of Ethiopia.  The mission is to raise enough money to build a water well in Ethiopia to bring clean water to those in need. In order to make that goal a reality, he partnered with Drop of Water, an NGO that builds wells using the funding of organizations such as H2OPE. They have held multiple successful fundraising events this school year and are on their way to reaching the amount of money needed to build the well. He gives talks about water treatment to various groups on and off campus and at local schools in CT and MA, and to groups like Capitol Squash.  Ace also works with Engineers Without Borders Hartford, along with some classmates. A project they were working on was designing a storm water collection system to implement in Tanzania this summer.

Tulsi Sumukadas ’20 and Ari Basche

Tulsi Sumukadas ’20 has been involved in Hartford engagement work as the new coordinator of student-led community events at Trinfo Café, volunteer work with the Trinity Homelessness Project, and more fantastic work as a Health Fellow and with the Biology Club on campus and in Hartford. Tulsi said, “One of the reasons that I wanted to work at Trinfo and get involved in community service was to make sure I had opportunities to get off campus. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to organize an event and reach out to a lot of different groups.”

The Alexander A. Goldfarb Award for Community Service (Erin Evangelista ‘20)

Erin Evangelista ’20 with Brooke Agro ’20, Joe Barber, and Hands on Hartford’s Wanda Guzman

The Alexander A. Goldfarb Award for Community Service is awarded jointly by the City of Hartford and Trinity College to the Trinity student who, through community service, has done the most during this current year to benefit the City of Hartford and its citizens. This year, Erin has shown incredible leadership in her roles in the Trinity Homelessness Project, Doctors Without Borders, and more. In addition to her leadership with student-led clubs, Erin is also an Opioid & Health Educator in the Trinity College Health Center and has served in a number of other roles in service and health while at Trinity.

The St. Anthony Hall Community Service Award (Timothy Bogomolov ’20)

Tim Bogomolov ’20 and friends prepare for trick-or-treaters during Halloween on Vernon Street.

The St. Anthony Hall Community Service Award was established by the St. Anthony Trust of Hartford. It is awarded annually to a Trinity College fraternity or sorority member who has demonstrated initiative, creativity, and commitment in the areas of service, activism, and/or civic engagement during the academic year. In conjunction with this award, a financial contribution will be made in the recipient’s name to support a nonprofit organization or community programming initiative of his or her own choosing. This year’s recipient is Tim Bogomolov ’20 who is the Chair of Campus involvement for Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity where he has organized a blood drive with the American Red Cross, organized a community outreach barbecue with the Trinity College Men of Color Alliance, volunteered during Halloween on Vernon Street, volunteered at Cinestudio, and more.

Congratulations to Lucemy, Ace, Tulsi, Erin, and Tim! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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HMTCA-Trinity Partnership, News

On June 9, the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) Class of 2020 celebrated their graduation. As Trinity College’s partner school, the graduation ceremony is usually held on the Trinity campus. Due to restrictions on in-person events, HMTCA teachers and staff instead organized the graduation ceremony online and by car at the Learning Corridor located across the street from Trinity College.

Starting at noon, the virtual graduation ceremony included a number of speakers (See virtual graduation link here or video below). Principal Julie Goldstein kicked off the ceremony with her call to commencement. Students then offered a number of speeches and performances including Genesis Ramirez (National Anthem), Gloria Torres (Student Reflection), and Lola Kovalski (Senior Class Poem). (See full program here.)

The keynote speaker was Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney. President Berger-Sweeney offered a story based on her family history about perseverance and generational uplift. Finally, school counselors read each graduating student’s name with their picture on the screen.

Later that afternoon, HMTCA students and families participated in a diploma ceremony in transit. Students arrived in cars with their family to hear their name as a graduate, pick up a parting gift, and collect their diploma while having their photo taken on stage with social distance from the crowd.

Students and families decorated their cars, trucks, and jeeps as well as their graduation caps through the Learning Corridor campus, which was a city bus depot many decades ago. Lasting more than two hours, the graduation in transit was a way for students to enjoy their moment and to see many of their teachers and classmates after several months of their senior year being physically restricted for months due to COVID-19.

We wish the HMTCA graduates much luck on their next steps in college and work. And thank you to the HMTCA teachers, staff, and families for all their support of these graduates (full list below).

 

(Producer: Elissa Brauman)

 

HMTCA Graduates of the Class of 2020

 

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Covid Stories

Are we getting stuck up by the Covid-19? 

We knew it was coming. We saw it reaching its long hand out to touch us. Letting you know that this assailant was no longer hiding in the shadows, but in plain sight. We knew at some point that no longer will the Covid hide in the dark. Like a villain in one of those old time black and white movies with the guy at nightime under the tree, “Psst, hey you, come ‘ere, where are you going?” It can also be saying, “Hey, where’s your mask? Is that hand sanitizer in your pocket? Please step back.”

Covid holds us in its clutches, dictating how we will run our society from going to school, going shopping, or just hanging out with friends.  We all have to adjust to the new ‘norms,’ some more than others. 

I remember that first morning when numerous businesses and restaurants either closed or sent workers home to work online because of the Covid. I couldn’t even recognize anyone because of their masks, hoods, glasses. Any other time you think you would be getting stuck up in a robbery.

I always noticed the large population of people experiencing  homelessness in downtown even before I moved down here. Now with the few workers left downtown, it’s mostly the homeless and the downtown residents left. How can anyone ignore people walking aimlessly through the streets of downtown during the Covid-19? 

As I’m walking down Main Street I see a former student from one of the schools I worked in as Head Custodian, Jesse*. This school was for the students that didn’t always fit into the square hole. A troubled young man with mental health issues, homelessness issues, and I’m sure many other issues that were not in the Head Custodians log book or emails. I’ve been seeing him throughout the years. He’s been living in the streets, bouncing in and out of shelters. Since Covid hit, the shelters are now only taking people who are already there, so Jesse had to figure out something else. I asked him, “where are you sleeping at night?”

He tells me that he takes the bus to his cousin’s house in New Britain: “My cousin gets out of work at 8pm so she is usually home by 9pm. Sometimes she leaves the door unlocked so I can sleep in her house. If not, I’m more than welcome to sleep in the hallway of her building, which is what I do.” Jesse  has been from one house to another since he was a young boy. He goes on to tell me that he rarely has enough food to eat and since the Covid there has been more distance between people so very few opportunities to panhandle. “All I’ve had today was a little granola.” It’s nearly 12:30.

Jesse was able to have lunch today.

I went to another place that I knew I would be able to run into some more unfortunate residents without a home to live. St. Patrick and St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church is located on Church and Ann Street. This church has a long history in the city of Hartford for helping the homeless. Always.

There I met two other homeless guys, George* and Frank*. Frank was using the electrical plug outside the church to charge his flip phone. These guys, unlike Jesse, are not from the city. Frank is from Windsor Locks, and has been here in Hartford for over 15 years. George is from Enfield, I have seen him behind my building on several occasions. Yes, I have given him money before.

They had the same story to tell. They are sleeping where they can, sometimes on the bench, or under the underpass. Since the Covid the shelters have closed, or at least stopped taking new clients. George pointed out the new apartments that are slated for college students and said “The shelters are putting people in some local hotels on the Berlin Turnpike and in East Hartford.” I reached out to an organization that is located in Hartford. I wanted to verify that homeless people have been being placed in local hotels. When I called it turned out that the information was accurate. I was told that the shelters are complying with the 6ft rule. “In order to comply with the order from the governor’s office some were sent to these hotels. Since the hotels were empty many homeless were placed there.” This however made me think of the employees at the homeless shelters. That is another story.

I asked George and Frank how they’ve been  eating during the Covid.  Frank answered in a very nonchalant way, “We eat out the dumpster. But there’s less now because the restaurants downtown have closed.”

What I have noticed is that the homeless population is being completely neglected. Many of our homeless in the Downtown area have mental health and self medicated issues which leads many to drug addiction and alcohol abuse. These seem to go hand and hand from my observation. The city has also been developing new apartments in the Downtown area that are not accessible to the homeless or subsidized housing even though the apartments remain mostly empty. In this current administration we have the mayor’s office and city council fighting against the injustice of slum lords. Then on the other side of the table we have the ever powerful finance committee. This committee dictates many new developments that are slated to begin in the city such as the development of new retail around Dunkin Donuts Park, new luxury housing.  This committee, appointed by the mayor, also dictates the market rate and size of apartments in downtown. So why would the mayor fight against the slumlords where many of the impoverished residents live and then appoint this committee to out price the market and dictate housing size? With this formula families that live with mice, roaches, silverfish, and rats will continue to live that way while homeless people are left out of this conversation completely, living under bridges, alleys and shadows.  So many are left out of the new, bright future that the Mayor has planned for the City of Hartford. 

*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.


About the Author: My name is Levey Kardulis life long resident of Hartford and a concerned community activist. I worked for the city of Hartford for 26 years while ensuing that my four children all graduated from Hartford Schools. In the end you will not remember the words of your enemies but the silence of your friends.

Copyrighted by Levey Kardulis. Editorial assistance provided by Megan Brown. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of Downtown with Covid-19, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories

I lost my campus job when the Coronavirus first hit. It was a sudden and devastating moment — I was in shock. I went without work for two months. I even filed for unemployment, but I got denied because I was a student. I found that to be so unfair and disappointing because I actually needed help. 

I remember filling out questionnaires for Dunkin Donuts, Target, Hartford HealthCare, WalMart and many more. I applied to so many jobs I got sick of looking at my resume. Eventually, my job hunting skills paid off when I got a phone call from Walmart explaining  to me that I got hired in April. I became an essential worker. I did not know what I was getting myself into working in a super grocery store. 

Little did I know that I would be suited up with face masks and gloves working. That I would be washing my hands every chance I get because someone in my department has tested positive for COVID-19. That my hands would be dry and cracked because of how hard and often I would scrub them. That they would take my temperature everyday I would come in to ensure it was not 100 and over. 

Customers coming to ask me questions ignoring the 6 feet rule would upset me on a daily basis. Our aisles are labeled with what is contained in them. A white lady once asked me “ Do you know where the Panera Bread soups are?” As if soups and canned goods aren’t already in their respective aisle! There was no need to ask me. People not practicing social distancing would trigger me. The closer they would try to come up to me, the farther I would step back trying to put more distance between myself. 

This virus is a killer and I refuse to be a product of it. I have pre existing health conditions myself and I will continue to keep doing what it takes to remain healthy and strong. People are dying everyday and yet so many customers socialize in each other’s faces like there is nothing to be worried about. This makes me deeply concerned about whether the curve will be flattened. 

Being paid during a time in which millions are unemployed or furloughed is a blessing, but a paycheck is not more important than my health. 

Oftentimes, I find myself drifting into depression as I miss being social with friends and creating memories. I get discouraged and afraid when I see how many people of color are dying because of Coronavirus. My Black and Brown people are affected disproportionately. It is easy for my mind to wander to several negative places, but I have learned how to become hyper aware of this. I readjust my thinking into more optimistic and productive thoughts. 

Despite this grim reality, I must remind myself that our society has overcome atrocities like H1N1, SARS, MRSA, and COVID-19 will be no different. As I think deeply, I tell myself that we will get through this! There will be light on the other side of this dark melancholy tunnel the world is traveling through.  

Everyday I yearn to hear “Congratulations the world is free from COVID-19,” but I know that will not happen if people continue to be in large groups, not take quarantine seriously, and wear protective gear outside. Everyone has been affected by Coronavirus in some way, including myself, and I am doing everything in my power to keep myself healthy and not in the hospital. This pandemic will never be forgotten by me. It has left an imprint on my life forever.  


About the Author: Shian Earlington is a Biochemistry Major at Capital Community College.  Shian aspires to pursue a medical degree as a Neonatal Surgeon after completing her undergraduate requirements. She is passionate about her community and being able to help others thrive and succeed.

Copyrighted by Shian Earlington. Editorial assistance provided by Megan Brown. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “COVID-19, The Era of the Unknown”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories

I daresay that anyone who sees a heart on the front door or window of a house, automatically thinks of nurses, doctors, and all healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current use of the heart as a public symbol of support for healthcare workers—and every other person who goes out to ensure continuity of life and deemed essential by extension—is recognizable everywhere. It’s an international manifestation of gratitude.

I started taking photos of front doors and windows displaying heart(s) in support of #heartsforhealthcareworkers on April 7. I have since captured over 130 photographs documenting West Hartford. This show of gratitude comes in all colours and designs through simple single hearts to more elaborate art projects: hearts hand-drawn and cut, mass-produced and commercially available products, unique artisanal items, and sculpture pieces.

The following photographs are part of a larger documentary photography project, From Our Hearts | #beautyintheageofCOVID.


FOH_Trinity_CHER

About the author, Maria Tuckler: “In mid-March, when the world seemed to turn upside down and our lives would suddenly shrink to our immediate surroundings, I knew I would need an outlet to help me deal with the pandemic. I decided that I’d marry running with photography. I started documenting life (ironic eh) around me captured during my breaks from WFH. On my daily runs, walks, and bike rides, I go out in search of what I see as new and/or different in my neighbourhood and town. And to document the ways through which kids and adults are communicating with others outside of the matrix. I have photographed West Hartford Centre and its surrounding streets.”

Copyrighted by [author’s name(s)]. Editorial assistance provided by [Editor’s name]. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “From Our Hearts | #beautyintheageofCOVID”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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In its third year, The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a component of Trinity’s Summer Research Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will look a little different as students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners come together remotely to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. Through the last two years, we have seen how PHC gives students 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. We wanted to ensure that these opportunities would continue this year, despite our current struggles. From the large pool of applications, PHC selected sixteen students to work on five teams conducting research and crafting public humanities projects with each student receiving a $3500 stipend during this 10-week program. The Public Humanities Collaborative is coordinated by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning at Trinity College

Voces de la Migración with Aidalí Aponte and Christina Bleyer, Trinity College, and Jasmin Agosto, Hartford History Center
Zeinab Bakayoko ’23
Karolina Barrientos ’22
Mia Conte ’22
Krystal Philson ’21
Wendy Salto ’22
Gabriel Sorondo Guirola ’23

Audio Shelfie with Mary Mahoney, Trinity College, and various community partners across Connecticut
Esther Appiah ’21
Max Nortemann ’23

Making Visible Trinity, Hartford, and Caribbean Histories with Janet Bauer, Trinity College
Eviction Intervention and Prevention with Shaznene Hussain and Salmun Kazerounian, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Ayesha Malik ’22
Hassan Rashid ’22

Food, Wine, and World History with Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, Trinity College
Bringing American History to New Audiences with Rich Malley, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
Jaymie Bianca ’21
Kyre William-Smith ’21
Masho Strogoff ’22
Doris Wang ’21

Building an Online Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought with Maurice Wade, Trinity College
Investigating Welfare Liens with Shaznene Hussain and Sarah White, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Divina Lama ’21
Ananya Usharani Ravishankar ’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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Covid Stories

How could anyone truly enjoy this?

Each of us are stuck at home, limited in virtually everything we do. Numerous people are dying around the world every day. We are all faced with new ways of life. For some, it is bizarre, something straight out of a science fiction novel. For most, it’s uncomfortable. Yet, for a select few, it is serene.

On the other hand, this life-threatening illness elicits a strong sense of fear among all of us, which presents itself in a lot of different ways: fear of contracting the disease, fear for the wellbeing of loved ones, fear of what tomorrow might (or might not) bring. Many of us are having an exceptionally difficult time dealing with the mortality of this situation, in addition to social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation; these changes are affecting mental health, and they present hopelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll on the lives of people around the world. This virus poses negative impacts to all. With so many lives being threatened, friends and family being separated from one another, and normalcy being cancelled, it is difficult to see the good in this situation we all face. Is there any good?

For many introverts, myself included, social distancing and self-quarantine presents “good” that cannot easily be identified by others. Since this pandemic began to affect my personal life, back in early March, I realized the opportunity it set forth. Beforehand, I spent most of my days (and some nights) running around campus, interacting and engaging with new people non-stop. I worked different jobs, in addition to classes and extracurricular activities. Needless to say, it was a lot to handle, even for the most extroverted person. Back in the dorms, despite how much I loved spending time with my roommate, I never felt like I had time to myself. Many people, introverts or otherwise, identify this feeling as a reduction or exhaustion of social energy, or a drain on one’s “social battery”. Every day on campus, my “social battery” started at 10% and drastically decreased throughout the day. I never had any time to recharge.

Now, I am thankful to have my own room at home and a family that understands my need to recharge my “social battery”, or renew the social energy I expend from socializing. Being an introvert does not mean that you are antisocial or shy, despite it being defined by various sources as such. To me, being an introvert means that you are more likely to feel rejuvenated upon spending time alone, rather than in social settings. The introvert community is made up of a variety of people, as no one is 100% introverted or extroverted. As such, it is important to note that everyone (introvert or extrovert) can benefit from alone time, in the same way that everyone can benefit from socialization. Since social distancing began, I found I could “recharge” much easier than before; still, I miss creating new memories with family and friends. I miss what was once considered normal.

Nothing can change the fact that our new “normal” is totally unexpected and unwanted. Still, I encourage readers to see the silver lining amidst the mess this virus produces. One of my very best friends said it best during one of our routine FaceTime calls, “This is the perfect time to get to know yourself.” If you are able to, try to enjoy being in your own company. Try finding out everything you want to about who you are and what makes you unique.

As an introvert, I take time to self-reflect whenever I can, but I understand that it is challenging for others (even some introverts) to do this, especially as social distancing may raise new responsibilities such as balancing childcare, home schooling, and working remotely. A simple recommendation I can provide would be to start off small; take ~5 minutes to notice something new about yourself. Even with all of the time I spend alone, I still discover something new about the person I am. One of my favorite practices is to make lists of “my favorites”. If you’re indecisive like me, the lists tend to be pretty long. Some of the questions I ask myself are: What are your favorite qualities (in yourself? a friend? a significant other?) What words could you use to describe your personality? What are your favorite destinations to visit? Where do you want to travel when it is safe to do so again? What are your favorite stress-relieving activities? What do you need right now that will make you feel at ease? No topic is more significant than the other. I especially like these questions because they allow me to develop a more comprehensive idea of who I am, and remind myself that I can add even more to my lists once this settles.

One thing that helped me get through my difficult days, balancing multiple responsibilities on campus, is understanding that with every challenge conquered comes great strength. If dealing with isolation and social distancing is a challenge, spend time getting to know who you are and embracing it; finding peace in understanding who you are and who you wish to be. Push through feelings of discomfort, and learn to enjoy being alone but not lonely. Putting these ideas into practice may appear exhausting and never-ending, but each of them has value. I am thankful for the alone time I now have, as well as my past experiences stepping outside of my comfort zone on campus. I invite those who might find this time stressful to take an introvert’s perspective and find strength and enjoyment in doing the same.


About the author: Kelsey Brown is a First-Year student at Trinity from the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kelsey finds immense comfort in being surrounded by family and friends, but she especially cherishes spending time alone to reflect and learning to enjoy being in her own company.

Copyrighted by Kelsey Brown. Editorial assistance provided by Beatrice Alicea. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “Finding Happiness in Isolation”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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“Community service and civic engagement work is a team effort, and every year we are fortunate to work with a wonderful group of students to make things happen.  And each year, we have to say goodbye to some as they move onto bigger and better things.  This is just a small tribute to the members of the Class of 2020 who have given us so much to both the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and us personally.  Thank you, don’t be strangers, and congratulations on your successful completion of college.”

Beatrice Alicea and Joe Barber


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Covid Stories

This project is a comparison of space living in a one-room apartment underneath a townhouse with three other family members and two dogs in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a three-bedroom, Three Bath apartment with four other family members and one dog in Brooklyn, New York. the comparison is through Hand-drawn Mind Maps of both environments. Comparing the two mind maps allows viewers to understand mobility within both spaces, especially adjacent to the urban cities they are situated in. My sketches originally were in black and white, but in an effort to try to live in color I went for a more therapeutic method by recreating the scenes in watercolor.


This quarantine taught me how to stretch… Stretch my mind, my happiness, my attention span, and my suitcase. Having to move and adjust to two new spaces in less than a month not knowing when things would go back to normal forced me to learn how to be ok, when mentally and emotionally I was not.. But I am alive. I am breathing. But it is still hard.

I started my quarantine in Jersey City. Rather than going home to Georgia immediately , I wanted to stay closer to Trinity in the event that we were cleared to return to campus, or if I had to return to gather my belongings. My aunt, uncle and I moved into my cousin’s apartment to separate essential workers from those who did not have to leave the house. As a result, the living space that was intended for one overtime came to accommodate four humans and 2 husky puppies by the name of Lookie and Luda.

I slept on a couch in the living room that served as my classroom, chill space, dining space; everything space. Coming from a school where I had a variety of spaces for different functions, the shift was doable but not easy for my mental health. The best thing about the Jersey apartment was outside. There were not a lot of opportunities for sunlight inside, but the backyard allowed me to soak up as much sun as the sun would allow me to. I found myself trying to do as many assignments outside as possible, which weren’t many. I quickly learned the sun and laptop do not work well together.

Over the course of time, my uncle and cousin renovated the old fence with the spare time they had and we used the dry wood that was woven in the old fences for the fire pit. We had enough for two nights worth of good music and old stories. I will forever remember the good memories, they really helped to cut through the hard times.

The first half of quarantine was also during lent, which meant a lot of canned fish. I will be okay if I don’t see another can of tuna for a while. I cooked a lot of my meals before my aunt joined us so I had to re-learn time management balancing cooking and schoolwork. Every night after dinner we would gather together by the television and watch a few episodes of a series to end the day with family time.

The days, for the most part, followed the same structure: cooking, zoom classes, more cooking, homework, checking emails, zoom meetings, dinner, another zoom class, shower, family TV, sleep. Repeat.

I almost got used to the new structure until I had to move to Brooklyn.

My suitcase and I are now New Yorkers. Here I live with another aunt and uncle, two cousins, and one shiatsu by the name of Champ. I have a third cousin who is usually home, but given that he stayed on campus I was able to sleep on his bed.  Staying in Brooklyn has been a lot more colorful. My older cousin is an artist and we have had many creative conversations during my stay here. She was actually the one who inspired me to try my hand at watercolor for this project instead of the black and white sketches.

 

With the amount of change that was happening, there were many times where I felt like a robot following a routine while pressing buttons on a keyboard and adjusting my eyesight to focus on my laptop screen. It was not till halfway through quarantine that I realized I could use an HDMI cord and connect the old computer screen to my laptop to act as a second monitor. Doing that really changed the way I was able to work. I was able to gain more structure and difference in space, something that this apartment allowed that the other did not.

I did not have the opportunity to go outside as much. We were on the 5th floor and so the only time we went outside was when we had to go grocery shopping. Most of the time, it would be my uncle given that he already had to go outside for work. Here I have the option of cooking which allows me more flexibility in my time and priorities for the day.

My days were not too often the same. Many times, professors switched their teaching style which, in turn, altered my schedule. Overtime I just understood school as a stick of juicy fruit gum, slowly losing its flavor and consistency over time. I also learned the importance of communicating and being direct when I need help through this whole experience.  With a new understanding on how to navigate the situation I was able to reach out to the appropriate resources and get help with schoolwork, life, and the process of transitioning from college life to COVID-19 life.

The highlight of my time here aside from family has been the moments of solidarity. Every day at 7 on the dot, the neighbors bang pots and pans to show appreciation for the healthcare workers. On some days, the passing cars would also honk.

Even though the situation is not Ideal and there are days when I am really down, I have been able to have more stability and flexibility living in Brooklyn despite the location and the inability to be outside in the ways I was able to in Jersey  Family has been the thing that has allowed me to get through this time. The moments of going over old photos, having the time to have the “transitioning to adulthood” talks,  and the I love you texts from my mom everyday really brought warmth to my heart during these hard times. I could not be more grateful for my family.

 In my days before Covid I would incorporate color through my clothes, food, and language. With having to move so quick and live off of the means of others, my color is not quite the same. I recognize my color palette will no longer be the same, but with every conversation, time of reflection, and new experience I have had, I gain the pigments to reimagine the colors I choose to live in. 


About the author(s): Sonjah Dessalines, Urban Studies Major, First-Generation Haitian-American student at Trinity College. Promoter of difference and inclusion of thought and personal narratives.

Copyrighted by Sonjah Dessalines. Editorial assistance provided by Beatrice Alicea. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Trying to live in color: transition between 2 urban environments during Covid 19”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

 

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This is a short film that speaks to my experience with isolation. I think it’s a relatable film, and the intended audience are students living the same experience as me. A lot of people have discussed how bored they are trying to find anything to do to be productive, and their use of alcohol becoming an issue. I think my film speaks on the emptiness of this time and the internal feelings of chaos.



Copyrighted by Krystal Philson. Editorial assistance provided by Erica Crowley. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Isolated”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories

What can be gained from a difficult time? I find myself grappling with this question daily as I’m sure many Americans are. Like most, I do not have a clear role in society to combat the coronavirus pandemic. I am not a nurse, a doctor, or an essential  worker of any kind. I want to work in a grocery store, but my parents have forbade this: I could put my 64 year old mother and my twin sisters with asthma at risk if I bring the virus home. So I am merely a student, told by my parents, health experts and government officials that the best thing I can do right now is to remain inside and follow the social distancing guidelines. It doesn’t feel like enough of a contribution, because I want to do something more active, more tangible, more satisfying.

During my undergraduate career as a history major at Trinity, I have studied disasters both global and local. I have read about the devastating impact the Great Depression had on our country in the 1930s; how the food lines became endlessly long and people grew tired and weary of struggling day to day for basic necessities merely to survive. I have read Ellie Weisel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Aushwitz, both moving firsthand accounts of the Jewish genocide during WWII. I have researched the environmentally disastrous effects of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. Anytime I have immersed myself in a different historical catastrophe, I always have appreciated how peaceful and safe my life has been compared to those terrible days. I always reflect on how lucky I am to be living in the twenty-first century with all the benefits that a modern lifestyle holds. However, as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold of America, and I witness reports of people dying by the thousands daily, I am now personally confronting a catastrophe of historic proportions.

For the past month, I have been cooped up at home in order to obey rigid social distancing policies. At times I feel as though I am in a sci-fi film where technology rules over everyones lives and we all are slaves to a screen. We cannot imagine surviving without technology now. Without our cell phones with their myriad apps, everything from food delivery to language learning, without our computers for remote work and social media, or without our twenty four hour cable news, how could we weather this storm?

 In my house my sisters work remotely on computers and my mom stays in touch with the world through CNN and MSNBC. My mother’s coffee shop friends have started virtual coffee through zoom. I teach young Chinese children English online. Four new adorable Chinese children’s faces greet me on my screen  for half hour group lessons several times a day. I love my online teaching, but I deeply miss the immediacy of my former daily social interactions with friends, casual acquaintances, even strangers. 

Although we are living in peacetime, the way society has shifted to combat this coronavirus makes me feel like we are at war–a different, silent war. Not only a war for our lives, but also a war against our natural instincts to socialize and be heard and seen in person, not over a screen. So here we are, my third year into college, and it seems that history has suddenly caught up with me but in a twisted dystopian way unlike anything I have ever read about.

Whether I like it or not, the coronavirus pandemic has forced me to put my life on hold and look at the bigger picture. It has reminded me that we are all connected—our cities, our states, our country and the world. It is futile to pretend this disaster will not affect me or you because it has likely already touched everyone in ways both trivial and profound…whether that is in the form of a sick loved one or not being able to see family and friends.

 For me, one upside is that  I have realized that I can live without as much as I thought I needed—attending classes, spending time with friends, going to church, going out to eat, shopping, and studying in the library or at coffee shops are all luxuries I no longer enjoy. I surprisingly can make do with a lot less while being in one space for a prolonged period of time. The coronavirus quarantine has essentially made me realize that I have an inner strength—that some peace and happiness can be cultivated within me.  For those who have studied Buddhism or meditation, that might seem obvious. But for me it is a newfound breakthrough. I find happiness through long walks, meditation, and prayer. I find enjoyment by reading Jane Austen novels and self-help books. I have found my own little happiness during this time because I am lucky enough to be away from the frontlines of the battle against the virus… nestled in the comfort of my old, spacious, dependable colonial home.

While being at home I have committed to becoming the best version of myself possible… whether this means improving my Japanese language skills, reviewing my knowledge of American history, or reading about positive psychology. My first way that I have been productive is by keeping a daily Japanese routine. I use Duolingo, the language learning application, to brush up on various topics like food, family, and weather. Some of the Japanese I am practicing I already know, but I also find I’m learning new words as well. In order to ensure I am growing my knowledge of kanji characters I have been making a flashcard with a new word each day. I also have a special kanji application that allows me to go back and write kanji I have already memorized. I have even been keeping in touch through an app called Line with my Japanese friends whom I met on my semester abroad in Nagoya, Japan last year.

With that being said, this has also been one of the most challenging times because I feel so helpless and unable to make a difference. I know that the commercials on TV and the newscast reporters tell me that staying home will save lives, and it will, but it doesn’t seem like enough. My dad is the real hero. He’s the one who goes to work at the Emergency Room at Emerson Hospital every day, assessing coronavirus patients and admitting the ones with bad enough cases into the hospital. Although he and my mom are divorced and I already do not see him much, it was hard when he said I might not see him for months. A couple weeks ago, in preparation for the possibility that he might get sick, my dad texted me and my sisters that he has written his will. So far he has managed to stay healthy and for that I cannot be more grateful. My sisters who are twenty-five-year-old twins have left their one room DC apartment to come back to the comfort of home. Soon my oldest sister who is twenty six will also come home making it a full house. All of them are lucky enough to have work, so I can recognize that my family has been spared the worst of the coronavirus impacts. 

And yet here I am at home, sleeping more than ever and watching too much TV. Staying in seems like a lame cop out. An excuse. Avoidant. I am someone who likes to go to climate change rallies, to sign petitions, to raise my voice, to stand up to injustice and make my opinions heard. I am not one to go quietly through a global disaster. And yet this coronavirus is a silent killer that is doing its best to silence me.  It does not need my chants in the streets. It takes lives without my consent and there is no real way to protest against disease. The only way to protest is to help stop the spread by following social distancing guidelines and praying for those who have COVID19. I will keep all those who have tragically died during this pandemic in my heart as I continue to forge on. Everyday I will appreciate sunshine and the way the tree branches cut patterns in the blue sky. Everyday I will rise up in good spirits and hold my head high. I will continue to enjoy the little things: walks, playing board games with my sisters, and count my blessings. I hope through this tragedy that I will be more grateful than I might have been and have more compassion for others. We all can play our small part in that way.


About the author:Elizabeth Sockwell is a history major at Trinity College who loves studying Japanese, teaching English online, and going for long walks. You may also ask the student if they wish to submit a photo of themselves to go along with their bio.

Copyrighted by Elizabeth Sockwell. Editorial assistance provided by Beatrice Alicea. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “History Becomes Personal: Living Through the Pandemic of 2020″ I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Walking up to the admissions building with high anxiety and emotions, not knowing what would happen next, I walked into International Student Advisor Katie Clair’s office. Not seeing her around, I waited until she got to her office. Instantly, she was swarmed by her students. Everyone had the same emotions, fears, anxieties, and questions“What should we do? Should we just go home?” 

The college’s decision to go online for the following three weeks came on a Wednesday afternoon. After much anticipation throughout the week, we finally knew what was happening. There was a sudden moment of silence in Mather, as they read the email. Everyone had mixed emotionssome excited that they almost had an extended spring break, some upset about not being able to go for their spring break plans, and had to go back home, some worried and nervous about what they were going to do. 

No sooner did the email go out to the entire Trinity community, that I noticed all my international friends getting phone calls from their parents, worried about what was happening. Eventually, we got our answers after speaking to Katie, the deans, and our professors. While a few international students decided to go home instantly, most of us were stuck between wanting to go home but being scared to do so, even after receiving the necessary guidance. 

I had so many questions of my own before even trying to explain and convince my parents. If I go back, when will I return? Will I be able to return? What would happen to my academic visa? What about the graduating seniors? What about their jobs and our internships? What were we supposed to do if we couldn’t go back home? But those from higher-risk countries or countries with locked borders stayed back. I cannot even begin to think about how they are doing and how traumatic the lonely campus could be. While most of us are familiar with this loneliness, it is hard to bear it at times. Seeing parents help pack their child’s belongings and drive them off from Mather circle really tore us apart with conflicting feelings of both wanting to go home and being scared to leave. 

After talking to my anxious parents, from 7,000 miles away, almost knowing that they wouldn’t sleep that night, I had to be composed as I explained to them what the college’s advice was. I had to fight my tears as I spoke to them but eventually broke down after they hung up. I knew that they were worried, and that’s when I knew I should really go home. Even after making the decision to come back home, things weren’t easy. Nothing was the same. The possibility of catching the virus on a flight, not knowing if we were going to be put in the quarantine facility, or go home and self-quarantine⁠—it all heightened the anxiety. After clearing all immigration checks, I walked out of the airport, happy to see my mom. But my heart sank when, for the first time, I wasn’t hugged at the airport by my mother, who was relieved to see me safe but equally cautious. The good thing was, we had spring break, so it gave us all some downtime to settle into the situation. 

But the unusual spring break didn’t help as much. With the constant worry about potentially acquiring the virus and transmitting it to my family, I worried. But eventually, classes started. Online classes were just as hard. It was almost as if I wasn’t back home because I had to keep up with classes at erratic hours due to the time difference, which drastically altered my sleep schedule. My schedule was still aligned to college while figuring how to maintain sanity through this difficult period. Logging on to classes at 8 pm to join a 9 am class at Trinity, and then staying up until 6 am was tiring. It meant that I barely shared a meal with my family while I was home. It was something that hadn’t happened earlier. I was torn apart between waking up early and helping out with the house chores and my health because of my erratic sleep schedule. 

However, what broke my heart more was to know that some of my friends were forced to stay back on campus or were stuck in transit in a completely unknown country. Irrespective of my sleep and classes, I was at least home, eating home-cooked food, and I was so grateful. For the longest time, I couldn’t stop thinking about my friend who was stuck in a completely unknown country because his country had closed borders. My other friend was not allowed to be in a country where she lived for 15 years with her family, even with a residence permit. I heard several stories from my friends who said they finally reached home after five days of driving from a neighboring country. It was almost as if they smuggled themselves into a place they called home. While some of my friends absolutely loved the idea of being able to go back home for the rest of the semester, some of us had our whole world change overnight. 

Some of the students struggled with being able to find funds to get a laptop, while others faced Internet and connectivity issues. Students with mental health issues had to give up their cyclical counseling in an instant. While the Counseling Center has been extremely sensitive about this, due to regulations, they aren’t able to completely help individuals who are “out of state.” Individuals who depended on their on-campus jobs suddenly had no source of earnings and were not eligible to receive the $1200 stimulus. 

While the future is unknown to all of us, the worries about potentially getting a job post-graduation or being able to return for graduate school are worrisome for most international students due to the visa implications. The biggest overarching worry we all have is wanting to know if we will return to campus in the fall or even spring. It has not been an easy transition for any student, be it a high schooler or a college student. Nonetheless, I am grateful for everything the Trinity administration and faculty have done. They have stood by all of us in these distressing times and helped us with all the possible resources to complete this semester smoothly. Shoutout to all those professors that made our classes fun and helped us forget about the pandemic even for a little bit during class! As my mom says, “it’s the distressing time that shows you who supports you.”


Author bio: I am an international student at Trinity College with lofty missions but down-to-earth plans. 

Copyrighted by Anonymous student. Editorial assistance provided by Morgan Finn. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of Too Afraid to Leave, Too Afraid to Stay: My Experience as an International Student During COVID-19, I agree that this is my original work and that I retain the copyright.
Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my pseudonym to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories

If I have to read one more email from a professor or an administrator that begins with,

I know these are difficult times and we are all trying to cope as best we can,”

I am going to lose it.

It has been over a month since study abroad students were brought back to the United States due to Covid-19. Like some of my classmates, my untimely exit began with one phone call. I was deep in dream land when my host mom startled me one afternoon, violently shaking me to get my attention. I rolled over to see the reason for the intrusion. From what I was able to make out of what she said in French, I knew the call was important. I took the phone she handed me, rubbed the sleep dust from my eyes and groggily said, “Hello?”

There were less than five confirmed cases in Senegal in March and a week prior to that phone call, many of us had been going about life in the same manner every Senegalese was. We listened to the news and washed our hands frequently. Rather than panic, the air was filled with the feelings of love, care, and communal solidarity. I spent my days in class learning about Senegalese society, Wolof, and development. After class each day, my friends and I would make the short walk down to the beach. We would spend hours watching the waves roll in and quickly head back out to sea, as if each water drop was afraid of being stranded on the sandy shore. The world around me was alive with men running drills, swimming in the ocean, and coaches yelling out plays to their team while the young boys played soccer. My favorite time to visit was always before the last light faded with the sunset and night reared its head when, sometimes, I would perch myself on top of a rock, kick off my shoes and enjoy my favorite dish; attieke with fried fish topped with a bed of nicely seasoned vegetables. Like clockwork, the moon always followed with a bright light that illuminated the path back home.

How I wish I could go back in time and not pick up the phone call that ripped me away from my haven. On the other end of the line was one of our program directors.

She greeted me with the customary, “Salaamaalekum!”

It was a common greeting we had all come to learn meant, may peace be upon you, and I responded with, “Maalekum salaam!” a response that meant, may peace be upon you as well.

She proceeded to inform me of the countermeasure they were instructed to take after the head of our program in Portland received news about the headline of the day. Senegal would be closing its borders to protect its citizens in the next two days. The days leading up to the phone call had been hectic to say the least. With pressures from misinformed parents who were petrified their kids were going to die in Africa, to news reports tallying up the rising number of deaths in Italy, and the thirty-day travel ban on Europe; everyone was on high alert. To take precautionary measures, our program decided to get us all on the next available flights back to our respective homes. With every word she uttered, my stomach sank further and my heart raced faster. My devastation was two-fold; not only was I being ripped away from a place where I felt safe enough to truly be me in all my brightness, my mismatched clothes, colorful hair, and vibrant makeup looks, I had no agency in the matter. If given the choice between facing the pandemic in a beautiful nation with less than five confirmed cases or returning to the United States with confirmed cases reaching the thousands every day, I would have stayed exactly where I was. Unfortunately, as with many things in academia, the choice is never left to those who rely on schools for financial assistance. I had a confirmed plane ticket and instructions to be out of the country before daybreak within six hours of the conversation.

How does one even begin to pack up their entire life and say all the necessary goodbyes by the end of the day? After getting off the phone, I quickly dressed and gave my host mom a kiss on the cheek and explained I would be right back. I headed to the program office to give my passport information to our program director and to find out exactly what was going on. There were so many students there on their laptops frantically looking from one travel site to the next, trying to find a plane that could allow them to evacuate in a timely manner. I wanted to process my misery in private. I knew there was nothing I could do to aid the situation, so I grabbed my purse and went to say my goodbyes. I walked from Mermoz where I had been staying to Sacre Coeur. There, I walked up the stairs leading up to the two-story building I frequented. Unannounced, I opened the first door to my right. I relayed the information I had recently received and spent the next hour saying my goodbyes. My goodbyes were two months too early, but they had to happen then. After all was said and done, I headed home. Two of my friends came back to Mermoz with me to help me pack. When I arrived, my host mom was already fast at work folding my clothes so I could put them away in my suitcase. My host mom had the tendency of calling me, “Ma petite fille,” meaning my little girl, whenever she saw me. No matter how many times she had seen me on a given day. I knew I would forever be indebted to the family who opened up their home and welcomed me like I was one of their own. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I was part of a family. My host mom sent me off to school with a full baguette, an apple, and a mango coconut juice every morning. I don’t like apples. But apples became an essential part of my morning routine. I always ate every bite, and washed it down with my juice, knowing she woke up at 5am just to get it for me. I helped her fold and pack each piece of fabric until my presence was erased from the room.

I left Thursday evening and arrived in New York on Saturday. Three days, I spent flying across the globe, insomnia in full swing, desperately trying but unable to sleep, unable to decide the next fate of my life as I headed into the heart of the pandemic. Our journey took us from Senegal to Ghana. From Ghana to Nigeria, from Nigeria to Dubai, and finally, after two and a half days, we landed in La Guardia airport. I was met by an eerie silence which enveloped the once crowded space. I sped by immigration and spent no time waiting for my luggage.

I was picked up and brought back to the Bronx to begin what would become my own personal hell. In the wake of what had quickly happened to ensure our departure, I had not had much time to process the full scope of our evacuation. I was back home with my African parents, without anxiety medication, and in isolation. It was the perfect mix for a boiling stew of depression, insomnia, anxiety episodes, and as if matters could not get worse, my appetite was nowhere to be found. I spent the next two weeks in a deep depression. My days consisted of a shower, whatever food I could stomach, and twenty straight hours of tv under the covers in a dark room with the curtains pulled tightly shut. I was eating one meal a day, unable to sleep, unable to reach out to any of my friends, and unable to go outside for fear of accidentally spreading the virus to one of my fragile neighbors. I spent my days in my bedroom with a window overlooking concrete. By the third week, I knew I needed help. My inbox was pilling up with messages from various professors, administrators, and my program coordinators which all began the same.

“I know these are difficult times…,”

But honestly, do you really? Do you understand that your emails reach me under the covers in a deep depression? Do you understand that your request for assignments reach me while awake at all hours of the night afraid to sleep because nightmares keep me awake? Do you know what it is like to watch your parents step out the door each day to fulfill their duties as essential workers? Do you comprehend how truly difficult these times are when we are isolated with our triggers with no access to any of the coping mechanisms that make us full functioning human beings? Do you know how sad it truly is to receive emails with resources for internet access so we can fulfill our academic expectations as if we are not in a global pandemic? As if some of us do not have to spend eight plus hours trying to reach mental health specialists just so someone can prescribe medicine to alleviate this pain? Do you understand what a huge burden it is to be solely responsible for getting your sick loved ones medical attention because of language barriers? That some of our grandmothers and our mothers are sick in bed unable to breathe, clutching on for dear life? Do you really wish your emails reach us well? Better yet, why are we studying for a future you cannot guarantee us?

No one knows when this will be over. Our depression and anxiety looms present, growing stronger with every news of one more death, with every extension of our isolation. With every hour we spend in our rooms with the one window, overlooking nothing but cement walls.

Your emails are not finding us well. We are deep in survival mode, heavily relying on coping mechanisms that ensure our survival. We are not okay. We are tired, fed up, deeply exhausted yet we are still expected to keep up the same academic expectations. We are not okay and there is no cure for this kind of illness. There is absolutely nothing in our control to stop this but to have faith and be still, to wait, to lie down looking up at the ceiling day after day. Just waiting for that one phone call or that one news report that means we can finally sleep again without our mind snaring us in its trap. That one day after mother nature has had time to heal, and the last person has been released from the hospital, we may come out of isolation, and exhale a deep breath of air, unafraid of what is to come. Perhaps then, you may find us well.


About the author(s): Esther Appiah is a Ghanaian born advocate and educator who utilizes  empowerment and education to uplift and highlight the struggles of communities of color.

Copyrighted by Esther Appiah. Editorial assistance provided by Beatrice Alicea. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Isolated with our triggers: We are not well”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories

Stuck at Home – Life During Coronavirus is a digital storybook, pairing watercolor and ink illustrations with short pieces of text. The project is intended for younger children who might not understand what is going on in the world. The sheer amount of information about COVID is incredibly daunting, even to adults. During my own conversations with younger family members, I have found it difficult to explain the current pandemic. I want to be honest, but I don’t want to scare them. By pairing short, readable captions with colorful illustrations, I aim to provide real and valuable information to a younger audience.


Stuck At Home – Life during Coronavirus

About the Author: Olivia is a sophomore at Trinity studying Political Science and has been involved with CHER through the Community Action Gateway and the Research Fellows Program. She enjoys painting in her free time.

Copyrighted by Olivia Zeiner-Morrish. Editorial assistance provided by Megan Faver Hartline. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “Stuck at Home – Life During Coronavirus” I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

 

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Community Learning

This year’s Community Action Gateway students rose to new challenges to finish their partnership projects, meeting needs for Hartford partners while working from their homes across the country. As needs and expectations shifted because of COVID-19, students and partners alike were flexible and willing to take on the challenge of working together across a distant–continuing meetings over Zoom, shifting project plans, and finalizing edits over other collaborative platforms. In the end, students were able to complete digital products–reports, infographics, and flyers–that will be useful for partners as they take on the new and ever-changing needs of their constituents during this time.


Police Accountability with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women

Reagan Flynn ’23, Caroline Kilian ’23, Camp Mattison ’23, and Tiana Sharpe ’23 partnered with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women to examine how the Commission might continue to work on police accountability measures in Hartford. The team wrote the following report, which provides background research on police union contracts, codes of conduct, and culture and climate reviews.

 

Hartford Women’s Comission Final Report

 

Youth Digital Storytelling with COMPASS Peacebuilders

Catherine Doyle ’23, Leslie Macedo ’23, Riley Nichols ’23, and Allison Rau ’23 spent the semester researching digital storytelling and social media to create this report for COMPASS Peacebuilders to use in future digital storytelling programming.

 

Compass Digital Storytelling Guide

 

Digital Advocacy with the YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services

When Makayla Boucher ’23, Micaela Rufus ’23, and Leah Winters ’23 were suddenly unable to plan an on-campus event to share resources from YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), they pivoted to creating infographics and social media images that SACS can use to stay connected with their clients during this time, especially as domestic and sexual violence have risen since stay-at-home orders began.

 

 

Power Mapping on Translation and Interpretation Services within Hartford Public Schools with Make the Road CT

Finally, Addison Cox ’23, Josh Jacoves ’23, Marshall Montner’ 23, and Citallli Rojas Huerta ’23 partnered with Make the Road CT to continue investigating budgets and policies for translation and interpretation services within Hartford Public Schools. One aspect of their work was compiling a power map to identify the different local and state level governmental players in educational funding. For more information on issues of translation and interpretation, you can see their video from fall 2019.

Make the Road Power Map

Across the board, students managed these complex projects with thoughtfulness and dedication, especially considering the personal and societal upheaval that they faced throughout the semester. Congratulations to all the students on completing the Community Action Gateway and showcasing the wide range of work you’ve managed to complete in partnership with Hartford organizations during your first year of college!


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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Covid Stories

My first-person story is about international students who are unable to go home during this pandemic, struggling to decide whether to travel to home, and the difficulties they have faced during and after travel. The intended audience is anyone in the Trinity community but I think anyone in general can feel the story at the time of this pandemic. I feel so attached to this story and I believe many other international students around the globe will relate to this. 


It was morning time in my place when I received a video call on WhatsApp from my friend, Harieth, an international student at Trinity College from Tanzania. I picked up the call without delay as I realized it was almost midnight in the USA. She was cooking rice at midnight to tone down her stress. As she stirred the rice Harieth said, “ Trinity has become so quiet and it is frustrating to stay in college when you all have already left home.” She had decided to stay in college as she had a summer research in the USA, and she did not feel going back home and coming back to Trinity again within a month would be feasible. But every mobile notification brought sad news and fear  about the explosion of the virus, the death toll, and the uncertainty to follow. “I’m starting to wonder if I should go home and be with my family,” she said. She turned her camera back and showed her room. Most of her things were packed in a box except few of her necessities, as if she would leave her room within an hour. She turned back the camera to herself and said, “I cannot decide, Archana. I have been packing and unpacking for the whole day.”

Going back home was not easy by then. The epidemic was at peak and travelling internationally for more than a day was riskier. Fourteen days of compulsory quarantine in the government’s place did not seem easy and trustable. Online classes added difficulty due to the requirement of the internet connection. These circumstances left her stuck in her room overwhelmed by the thoughts that were trying to predict and see through those uncertainties. I completely felt her stress. I knew the pain of loneliness and indecisiveness. I knew the feeling of anxiety and bursting desire to be at home with family especially after watching friends’ parents come to drive them home. I had been experiencing this feeling for the endurable summer, haunting December, and agonizing first few days of this spring. My thoughts clashed – can I get back home safely? Will I be putting my loved ones at risk?  The guilt of risking my own family members due to my exposure was not less than that disturbing loneliness. But staying on campus was not easy either when I could not predict the possibilities.

I could not help Harrieth with any decision. There was not a concrete answer. The post travel was not easy either. As much tough the decision was, I knew the earlier she made her decision the better off she would be.

Talking with Harieth reminded me of my other friend, Sujata, an undergraduate student in Canada, from Nepal, who is now stranded  in Canada because she could not get back home. I had called her the morning I left the USA to let her know that Nepal would cancel all international flights starting next midnight. By that time, we only had 1 and half days to decide, pack, and travel 27+ hours to be at home. She had not thought about returning to Nepal as her college residence was not closed until then. But she called me six hours later, when I was at Boston airport, panicked on receiving an email from college, which asked her to leave college residence within 4 days. She scrambled to search for the flights to Nepal but unfortunately she was six hours too late. There was no flight she could catch to travel to Nepal. The email six hours later made her clear that she should return back home, however, those six hours left her stranded in Canada with no home.   

I did not want Harieth to be stuck without any other choices in the USA like Sujata in Canada. I told her to decide as early as she could though I knew none of the decisions had an easier path.

On hanging up the call with Harieth, I wanted to check in with Sujata. I scrolled through the Facebook messenger, but she was not online, and I realized that it was already past 1 am in Canada. I waited until the night in Nepal and called her a second after she was online. She was then staying in a friend’s empty apartment, who left home after that short notice from college. She shared how she had been short on her groceries but scared to go to the market. She told that she would come back home right after lockdown, but she also knew that the day would not show up anytime soon with this increasing crisis. She understood that her oncampus job would end soon but this epidemic would not, neither her requirements for money to pay rent and food would.

We both had left Nepal almost one and half years ago on the same day and had discussed returning together. I was already at home, aware how worried her family were for her. I could see fear, growing impatience, and willingness to be at home in her eyes too. That did not feel right to me. I could not talk; we both could not talk, and we hung up a call after a long silence.

I stared at my laptop screen for so long. Every thought crossing my mind reminded me how lucky I was to be with my family during the uncertainty. As I had met my parents after one and half years, I was upset about not being able to hug my parents, be around them, and talk to them all the time due to my home quarantine, but that did not feel like a problem at all after talking to my friends. I could not think anything but just be grateful to be with my family, my loved ones.

My phone blinked. I received a text from Harieth, “I am on the way to the airport.” I sent my thoughts and prayers to both of them. 


About the author: Archana Adhikari ’22 is a sophomore at Trinity College, from Nepal. Archana is majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Studies.

Copyrighted by Archana Adhikari. Editorial assistance provided by Erica Crowley. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Far From Home: International Students During Covid”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Hands On Hartford continues to distribute meals through our Community Meals Soup Kitchen and groceries through our Community Pantry.  You can help brighten the day of our guests by creating cheerful notes to go along with the to-go meals and groceries.

Notes don’t have to be large.  If you cut a sheet of paper into quarters that works well.  Samples are attached in the photo below.

You can get the cards to Hands On Hartford in by:

  1. Mail the cards to:

Hands On Hartford

55 Bartholomew Avenue

Hartford, CT 06106

  1. Email a PDF of your cards to Trinity College Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement at Joseph.Barber@trincoll.edu.

Please have notes to Hands On Hartford by Wednesday, May 20th.

If you have any questions please contact, Katie Thibault, Volunteer Coordinator at kthibault@handsonhartford.org

Thank you Joe Barber, Erin Evangelista and Kyle Fields for working with Hands on Hartford to coordinate!

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Covid Stories

In mid November, I left for Athens, Greece, to study abroad in the neighborhood of Pangrati until May. due to Covid-19, I was sent home in late March. I decided to depict my relationship and goodbye to the city through this series of poems.  

 

Maybe I Will Realize I Am Unknowable in This City 

 

This city was more than I had inside of me. 

At first, I thought it was just a giant womb turned

inside out, the product of plasma,

but it was so much more. 

 

It was only a few short weeks before

I told myself I knew the hills, 

those slipping pink sunsets 

or the sweet carrots from the morning 

market that we would eat,

whole, in the calm clamoring 

of Friday mornings. 

 

Maybe I even told myself

I knew the man who slept

in the doorways and steps

of our street. Sometimes at night

as I stood on the balcony

I could see the orange and white cats

circling around him in the dark, 

and only then knew it was impossible.

 

Baudelaire said the city swarms

With innocent monsters. Sometimes

I would look down at my hand 

on the leather seat 

as the taxi sped through the boundless city,

and I swore it looked so foreign

I sometimes thought it was not 

my own. 

 

What the City Said It Was

 

Sometimes, the city was just the man

who sold blood oranges on the corner, 

his Έχεις όμορφα μάτια! exists like quicksilver,

but then flickers and is gone. 

In the early mornings, it was an old priest

waving through the net of vines 

on the yellow church windows. 

Here, it smells like salt and potatoes,

sweet pipe smoke and cats. 

 

It takes me awhile to love Syntagma Square 

and its quick ignition like the start of a star

in the same way I loved the pink sea

dissolving into sequins at sunset, 

or the quiet turns of the big garden,

but in the end everything gives me

some strange ache. 

 

At night, green birds chanted in the holes

of the sour orange trees.

I would grab the hand of whoever was beside me-

it never seemed to matter there- and say

I’m staying forever with my eyes

refracting the purple hills

as they melted into gold. 

 

February 8, 2020

 

The first call came through on the balcony

outside our apartment. Here it was a day of blues,

the dark mountains lying quietly 

under the indigo sky that I knew would melt 

into navy and stay that way until

sunrise. In China, the 63rd person died

since morning. I’m glad you are happy there, Mom said 

through the phone, while my fingers flicked on my thigh,

I am I am I am! There was something new in her

beautiful phone voice. 

 

We wanted to sunbathe but 

were told it was too American

so we sat in our clothes, 

revelling in the tick tick of dripping

sweat. Are you being safe I asked,

Are people beginning to worry?

Church bells began somewhere in the city below,

then stopped and echoed into the loud 

silence of the streets, the bells 

last murmur chanting with her,

I am I am I am. 

 

A Week Before 

 

The heat wave began before I left for Venice, 

but it was there too. I felt it

curled up in the alleyways, 

hanging low in the canals. I saw a cruise ship 

pull up to the docks from the top of Saint Marks, 

harsh and white and huge in the flush of dusk. 

 

When I got back

I was sick with fever, but 

the oily hit of pigeon wings as they slapped

together, the thick stench of urine and marijuana,

the sticky musk of the city cats didn’t help. 

 

A doctor was sent to my room. There was suddenly

a hundred of him in the mirrored walls of the elevator,

two hundred small eyes staring

above the blue mask. I lay on my bed, the springs 

digging into my back as he fingered 

each rib, Your last name sounds German. Are you

German? and my flatline response.

He says you don’t have it but 

washes his hands, anyways, until

they are raw.

 

As the elevator doors shut on a hundred grinning

doctors, I was alone in the dark. 

The shadows from the AC vent split my skin 

into lines. Through it I could hear the couple 

that began fighting at 9 pm each night

starting early, the men on the bottom floor catcalling 

the refugee girls from their balcony, a baby crying 

into an empty room below. 

 

Last Night

 

My fever sputtered, then petered out

on the day the government said 

we wouldn’t go to class again. 

The dark streets called us out, 

pulsing, and we let them take us 

into the salty midnight. I know you 

as a reckless city, a fuck-me city, 

a caring city, a big golden puddle city. 

 

The Polish woman that owned the bar

knew this was the last night for a while. 

The old man who was a famous artist

sat under the awning, watching us 

like we were flames. I guess it was

obvious that we thought we were invincible.

I heard he might close the borders tomorrow morning,

and we’ll be stuck here but we didn’t believe

  1. Then the calls from the US came before 3 am. 

 

The boys down the street were wild

in the denial of leaving, but they 

would be on planes in 2 days. 

As we walked back from the bars, 

the palm trees lining the streets 

caught in their hair. I saw the 

slow shimmer of every sunset they had ever seen

settled in their eyes; a never-leaving sediment.

I wondered if I looked in the mirror

I would see it there, too. 

 

Syntagma Square was empty as we walked home. 

The street dogs were stretched out on the road

sleeping and I went from dog to dog to make sure 

they were breathing. 

 

The stars moved as they always did.

 

The First Time I Cried 

 

The first time I cried was on the hill with the small white church. 

It was covered in cactus. People carved their names

into the thick palms, and I tried but my fingers bled, so

I stopped. I let my legs swing over the hill’s edge 

and watched the low-hung orange moon fall

towards the sea. The white church turned

pink and everyone went quiet, except for 

the rogue voice of a woman on her phone

predicting a lockdown. From here, 

it was obvious how the empty 

purple mountains squeezed 

the city together, and how easily

the city gave in. My fingers throbbed 

as I cried for the first time into the colored 

silence, and I wondered how something

so perfect could make my heart bend

and almost break. 

 

What the City Is 

 

I walked out to greet the 3 am taxi,

oranges catching under the wheels

of my luggage. The drivers voice 

was muffled behind a mask-

I’ve been going back and forth from the airport 

all night, you Americans really are trying 

to get out. As car began to move 

through the black, the panic

stirred low inside me. I tried to catch

one last look at our top floor balcony,

but it was too high. I swore I saw the homeless man 

shining against the marble stairs in the moonlight.

I felt ashamed I never 

looked him in the eyes. 

 

I cried as I watched the empty city flicker by-

the pockets of pine and cypress,

the orange trees below the white city blocks,

some windows thrown open in the early morning. I wanted to

catch the curtains and hold on. I wanted to drive until the sky turned pink. 

We passed the stadium and I cried because it was empty,

I cried because I couldn’t see the mountains in the dark, I

cried because I wanted to say thank you, thank you, 

thank you. 

 

The highway was deserted except for

a single blue car. The driver still managed to

give us the finger while weaving wildly

across lanes- maybe once

I would have been scared but now I clinged

to his recklessness, the last extension of the daring

city. I am not ready to face the whiteness of the airport

after three months in blue,

but my hand sits steady 

on the seat of the taxi.  


About the Author: Lillia Schmidt is a Junior at Trinity College, double majoring in Art History and Urban Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware.

Copyrighted by Lillie Schmidt. Editorial assistance provided by Ari Basche. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Poetry in Athens, Greece During Covid,” Iagree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright.

Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

 

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Covid Stories

This photo essay is inspired by New York Times’ digital exhibition entitled The Great Empty, which showcases some of the world’s most crowded spaces looking hauntingly abandoned. This photo essay provides a glimpse of what Trinity’s campus looks like in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak and in an age of global isolation. I wanted to capture images of a once-bustling dining hall, academic buildings, library, and other spaces around campus that are representatives of student life–these empty spaces stood in stark contrast to the perfect spring weather. As I walked around campus taking pictures for this article, I was saddened to see so many beautiful flowers blooming all over campus, yet there was no one to appreciate them. I sincerely hope the true Spring will arrive for all of us and that soon we can all return to campus safe and healthy.


Students pick-up prepackaged meals at Mather Dining Hall.

Silence proliferates Mather Dining Hall that was once filled with students’ chatter and laughter.

The Mill, a student-run arts venue, remains empty but students’ creative expressions and artistic collaborations continue as their events move online.

The Williams Memorial Library would normally be packed with students preparing for finals.

Quarantine dinner.

An empty classroom at Seabury Hall.

The empty Long Walk.

The Trinity Film Festival held annually at the Cinestudio will be premiered online on May 2nd.

Vernon in the time of Corona: Empty and silent.

Beautiful spring day at Trinity.

The once-packed Admissions parking lot. Beautiful campus, no visitors.


About the author: Matin Yaqubi ’23 is a first-year international student from Afghanistan pursuing a double-major in International Studies and Sociology with a minor in Arabic.

Copyrighted by Matin Yaqubi. Editorial assistance provided by Carlos Espinosa. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College. 

As the creator of “Trinity in the time of Corona: a photo essay”, I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Growing During Covid is a story that combines photos and writing on farming in Hartford during the pandemic. As sales outlets for farmers, like restaurants and farmers’ markets, have closed, many farmers are struggling.
At the same time, farming offers solutions to some of the most pressing problems presented by the pandemic. Local farms provide an alternative to depleted and crowded grocery stores and provide much needed nutrition to struggling families. We intend for this story to show the Trinity and Hartford communities that farmers need their support right now and also that they too can turn to growing for mental and physical healing. Even if we can’t be in community with each other, we can commune with the earth at this time and in doing so we feed ourselves, feed our souls, feed each other, and strengthen our community.

Growing During Covid-19

About the Authors: Gabby Nelson is the program coordinator at the Center for Urban and Global Studies and a graduate student in public policy at Trinity. She grows cut flowers at KNOX’s urban farm in Hartford. Adyanna Odom ’23 is a lifelong urban gardener and will intern in Summer 2020 with the Hartford organization Summer of Solutions, a youth-run, non-profit organization that focuses on urban gardening and youth leadership.

Copyrighted by Gabby Nelson and Adyanna Odom. Editorial assistance provided by Gabby Nelson and Erica Crowley. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the co-creators of “Growing During Covid”, we agree that this is our original work, and that we retain the copyright. Also, we grant permission for this work to be distributed with our full names to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, we keep the copyright to our work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share our work, but only if they credit the creators, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

 

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I have been living in my home in New Haven for about a month during the mandatory quarantine, and my family and I have already suffered from the financial burden I believe other low income families are experiencing at this very moment.

I live with my single mother and brother. My mother works at a middle school as a cook, and when the school  shut down because of the quarantine, she was suddenly out of work. It was stressful because although her job had to close down because of the pandemic it didn’t stop the bills being sent to our house, infuriating my mother and causing her anxiety. My mother’s job told her to file for unemployment during this crisis to get some cash flow into the house, but it has already been three weeks and she still hasn’t gotten any aid. We believe there are two potential reasons for this: either everyone else is filing for unemployment and the process is becoming slower by the minute, or she was denied unemployment. Hopefully not the latter. Luckily for us, my mother’s job recognized our problem and are trying their best to give her some type of compensation. They went as far as to send her four $50 gift cards to Stop N Shop. I remember my mother’s face relieved when her boss from the school she works at wrote to her that they are doing their best to give her some type of compensation during this pandemic. However, she also felt resentful because although it helps with buying food for the house it doesn’t help pay the rent and the bills of the house. 

We were so desperate to stretch our money that we even resorted to buying groceries on Amazon using gift cards that I won from my horrible singing at a karaoke event in Trinity College. I was planning to save them for something else in case I wanted to buy something on the website. However, my mother was desperate to save money for food so she had me use the gift cards to buy food online, which was the first for me as I tried to navigate how to order the food. I learned that Amazon has a food item limit in order for people to not buy too much of an item that others want. I made sure to always get the max amount of items I could purchase on Amazon in order to get all the food my family needed. This was mostly canned goods and mashed potato packets since these items were more available, unlike the frozen foods that we also wanted to buy. I did feel annoyed that I had to waste these gift cards on food, but I knew I had no right to complain because it was essential items that we needed if we were being quarantined. We do all we can to save money and wonder when this pandemic will end.

One of my mother’s childhood friends heard that we were struggling, and he has been coming to our home early in the morning to drive us to Wal-Mart since we did not own a car of our own and we can’t trust using Uber or the city bus because we are practicing social distancing. Since I was little, he has always helped out my mother, and she has returned the favor by helping out with washing his clothes and giving him a place to sleep from time to time. Our trips to Walmart these days consist of making a list of the food that we need in the house as well as the essential items that we need to stock during times like this. Because of the pandemic, we make sure to wear face masks and gloves to prevent us from getting sick. Our attire for these trips is usually hoodies that we have been wearing for months because the quarantine made us too lazy to switch our clothes. We usually buy canned soups, mostly chicken soup, during times of financial crisis or state emergency because they are cheaper than other items and easier to cook when we don’t feel like preheating frozen food and making meals from scratch. We don’t take excessive amounts of junk food because we want to stay healthy if we were going to be stuck in the house for a while. That is why we shop for salad, turkey meat and canned fruit in order to have a balanced diet. It was difficult and frustrating at times to get the supplies we need while trying to manage our budget at the same time when going to Wal-Mart.

The night after our first Wal-Mart trip, though, we were finally able to escape some of the worry caused by this crisis.  My brother and I huddled in my mother’s room with her and turned on Tiger King on Netflix. Since we can’t go outside, the least we can do is spend quality time with one another by watching the story of Joe Exotic and debate whether he or Carole Baskin was the worst. My mother always seemed to bring back leftover snacks like fruit and crackers when she was still working, which we ate while watching our shows together. It’s heartwarming moments like these that help us get through our financial stress and have us realize that there are some things that money can’t take away. Although money tends to come up during this quarantine, we can always destress our worries through the power of streaming services that is in our hand.


About the Author: I am a Trinity Student that lives in New Haven and is experiencing the changes in life in terms of how it affects the way I live and the new struggles my family is suffering during this pandemic. My intended audience is mostly to students at a low income and are trying to help their family get through this pandemic and try to get by with the limited resources they have.

Copyrighted by Anonymous student. Editorial assistance provided by Megan Brown. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “The Pandemic’s Financial Struggles,” I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. 

Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with a pseudonym to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Covid Stories


About the Author: Allison Rau is a freshman at Trinity who enjoys bringing a smile to others, even on the hardest of days!

Copyrighted by Allison Rau. Editorial assistance provided by Megan Faver Hartline. This work is part of the “Telling Our Covid Stories” project by the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) at Trinity College.

As the creator of “Millie the Succulent Takes on Quarantine,” I agree that this is my original work, and that I retain the copyright. 

Also, I grant permission for this work to be distributed with my full name to the public, including formats such as print and the Internet. Under this agreement, I keep the copyright to my work, but agree to share it under a Creative Commons Attribution—NonCommercial—NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (BY-NC-ND). This allows the public to freely download and share my work, but only if they credit the creator, use it for non-commercial purposes, and do not make any changes. Learn more about Creative Commons licenses at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

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Teacher and parents: Are you looking for some online material to help keep your students engaged during the school day? Trinity College Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Sarah Raskin, is sending in how-to videos for science experiments that can be done at home with very few household materials.

In the video above, Sarah talks about vision and how your brain deals with visual information coming in from your eyes. The first experiment in this video uses a single sheet of paper to put a hole in your hand (don’t worry, it’s not a real one). Spoiler alert: this is how 3D movies work to trick your eyes. See this experiment and other vision experiments in the video above.

CHER welcomes feedback and suggestions on future educational videos for kids. Submit your ideas to Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu. See also our recent blog posts, Free Storytime Read Alouds with Trinity Students, Send Thank You Cards to Health Care Workers in Hartford, and Online Learning and Reducing the Digital Divide During School Shutdown.

 

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News

The past few months have been difficult and stressful in many ways, and we have also seen amazing warmth and kindness in the Trinity and Hartford community amidst the Covid pandemic. Earlier this month, Archana Adhikari ’22 put together a template to send thank you cards to grocery store employees in the Hartford area, and this week Claire Pritchard put together a template to thank our health care workers. These essential staff are putting themselves on the front lines every day to make sure our family, friends and neighbors are healing and cared for to the best of their ability. We encourage you to use the template below to send cards to Hartford area health care workers, or to health care workers in your community. We also welcome additions and corrections to this list, which can be emailed to Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu. Thank you Claire Pritchard ’20 for authoring these messages and compiling our list!

If you are ready to create and send out your cards, great! Be sure to post your cards on social media and tag @trincollcher before you place them in the mail.

Sample Messages
  1. You are real-life superheroes, setting an example of selflessness, compassion, and bravery for all.
  2. I am so grateful for your generosity; from giving your time and your compassion to those who need it most.
  3. In a time like this, you are a beacon of hope, a reminder of how much good there is in the world and how we can all embody that.
  4. I can never forget your selfless dedication to the health of your community, and for that I commend and thank you.

Here are a few templates in Canva you can add your message to and then print out. Alternatively, you can hand write and color your own cards like the one below! See cards you can print and color here.

Once you’ve finished making your cards, it’s time to put them in the mail. Here is a list of Hartford hospitals, clinics and other medical providers and their mailing addresses:

Hartford Hospital testing location at Hartford Hospital Education and Resource Center – 560 Hudson Street, 06106

St. Francis Hospital – 114 Woodland St, Hartford, CT 06105

UConn Health – 800 Connecticut Blvd #1, East Hartford, CT 06108

Hartford GYN Center 1 Main Street Suite N1, Hartford, CT 06106

First Choice Health Centers – 94 Connecticut Blvd, East Hartford, CT 06108

Community Health Services – 500 Albany Ave, Hartford, CT 06120

Charter Oak Health Center – 19 New Park Ave, Hartford, CT 06106


Claire Pritchard ’20 is a senior Theater and Biochemistry major at Trinity College and a TrinCycle instructor.

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News

The Center for Hartford Engagement and Research would like to congratulate Tiana Starks ‘21 on being named a Campus Compact 2020-21 Newman Civic Fellow!

The CHER team recommended Tiana, a Sociology major and Community Action minor, for the leadership and civic engagement she has demonstrated in her coursework in the Liberal Arts Action Lab, various Community Learning Courses, as Community Service Chair of the Trinity College Black Women’s Organization (T.C.B.W.O.), an Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps member, a student worker at Trinfo Café, a Community Action mentor, and so much more. 

Tiana Starks, a third-year student at Trinity College, is committed to addressing issues of equity and justice for young people, particularly in educational spaces. And as a Hartford native, she is passionate about connecting the city where she grew up with the college she now attends. Over the last three years, she has worked closely with community partners on summer learning loss and racial equity; with faculty on projects related to the school to prison pipeline and human rights through music and performance; and in the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps to provide more teacher awareness of trauma and mental health issues within the public school system. Beyond these projects, she is a leader in the Trinity community as the Community Service Chair for the Trinity College Black Women’s Organization; a participant and mentor for the Community Action Gateway program; and Lead Front Desk Ambassador at the Center for Student Success and Career Development. Across all of these projects and activities, she prioritizes the needs of Hartford youth, working to enhance educational justice and equity across the city.” –Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Tiana has been a student leader deeply committed to social change during her time at Trinity. Her interest in social justice began in high school when she began to pay attention to issues around educational equity, and she has continued to study these issues in her classes and community-based research projects. She has also shown her passion for connecting Hartford high school students with Trinity’s campus and was recently named one of Trinity’s “50 for the Next 50,” a group of 50 women who will have a lasting impact on the college for the next 50 years.

As a first generation student at Trinity from Hartford, I have both specific knowledge of issues that need to be addressed in the city and a strong desire to connect every aspect of my education with community work… By combining all aspects of my college career with community engagement, I’m able to begin addressing the issues that I saw as a student so that others have more opportunities for an equitable and just education.” – Tiana Starks ‘21

Congratulations again to Tiana! You have been a force at Trinity in growing new leaders both on and off campus, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds.

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

 

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News

At Trinity College, we are fortunate to be surrounded by incredible writers. Lucy Ferriss, a writer in residence at Trinity volunteered to put together a series of daily writing prompts for 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students that can be completed at home. These prompts are designed so that they can be done alone or in pairs, remotely with a school friend, or at home with a family member. We encourage you to share these prompts with others. Enjoy!


3rd and 4th grade prompts

Go through your family’s old photos. Find a moment that you remember. Write about that moment, but as if you are there right now. So instead of describing the photograph, like “In the photo my mom is holding my baby sister,” you might write, “Mom holds my baby sister, Tina, on her lap, and I feel jealous.” Try to write at least 4-6 sentences.

Answer some of these questions. (You don’t have to answer all of them). When you have answered some of these questions, put the answers together and add any details you like to make a little story of your early life.

  1. When and where were you born?
  2. What do you know about your birth? Who told you?
  3. What is your earliest memory?
  4. Where did you live before you started going to school? (If this is still the place you live, tell us about it.)
  5. Who lived with you?
  6. Where did you play? Describe a favorite thing that you played with.
  7. What did you find amazing?
  8. Tell us about a daydream you used to have.
  9. Were there any animals you loved as a child? If so, describe them.
  10. What do you remember about your first days in school?

Describe yourself from someone else’s point of view. For instance, if you were your mom, what would you say about you? What would you say if you were your best friend? What would one of your stuffed animals say?

5th and 6th Grade

Go into your back yard, or into a park nearby. Write down all the things you notice. Then, either writing outside or back home, do this:

  1. Describe the yard or park from the point of view of a bird, but don’t mention the bird, or that she has a nest, or anything to give it away.
  2. Describe the yard or park from the point of view of a thief, but don’t mention the thief or that he’s stolen anything.
  3. Describe the yard or park from the point of view of a person parachuting from a burning plane. Don’t mention the fire, the plane, or the parachute.

Now read your three descriptions aloud to someone in your family and see if they can guess which is which.

 

Here’s a poem by Robert Kelly about a snow-woman. “Palaeolithic” means like a cave person, and “fecund” means ready to give birth, the way spring gives birth. I’ve underlined parts of the poem and explained that below.

The snow-woman we’ve seen all week,

big-breasted, big-hipped, small

headed, is much melted now

by the side of Mount Rutsen Road.

 

It has come to her by day

and the warm melting

is registered each cold night

and held there one more day.

 

Today her chest is gone

almost and her head’s

a little prong. But the enormous

shapeless hips are where

 

the upper body’s gone.

She is palaeolithic now, cave mother

a naked, pure big belly

 

as if this road and this town too

were fecund, and spring will come

here fantastically and soon.

 

Do you notice that the poem has three tenses? I’ve underlined them for you. Something’s happening now, something happened before, and something’s going to happen in the future. Can you write a poem that has one part in the past, one in the future, and one now? Mix up the times any way you like, but see if you can imagine three moments of time in one poem.

 

Try to answer some of these questions. (You don’t have to answer all of them.) When you’ve answered some of these questions, put your answers together in a paragraph or two that tells the story of your life from the time you started school till now.

  1. Recall your earliest memories of school. What do you remember feeling about your first few years in school?
  2. Who were your friends when you first started school, and what did you most like to do together? Who was your “best friend,” and how did your friendship begin? What do you think you were given through this friendship?
  3. What do you do when you come home from school? Who is usually there?
  4. Describe a usual evening in your home; a usual Saturday or Sunday.
  5. What kinds of music did you hear when you were younger, and what do you listen to now? Write of a memory that involves music.
  6. What types of reading material do you have in your home? Which books are your favorites?
  7. What does “being good” mean in your family?

 

7th and 8th Grade

This exercise takes two people. You can do it with someone in your family, or over a video call with a friend, taking turns. One person should shut their eyes while the other one reads the following. Be sure your eyes are shut before you start!

Go back in your mind to something you always do, or used to do, after school or during the summer. In your mind, look at what was surrounding you. See the place where you were playing or working: an afterschool program room, a library, a lemonade stand, a beach, a swimming pool or park, your home with your sisters or brothers. Notice all the shapes and colors of what is around you. Look at whatever you might be holding in your hands: notice its shape and its colors.

            Now look at the other people who are there with you: parents, brothers or sisters, friends, babysitter, neighbor, store owner. Choose one person and observe that person closely. Notice what the person is wearing and the expression on his or her face. What’s this person doing as you watch?

            Begin to hear the sounds in this scene. The sizzle of hamburgers on a grill, the hum of a machine, water splashing, a phone ringing, the thump of music, whatever. Listen to the voices around you: what are they saying? Maybe you’ll hear a line or two of dialogue. What is that person you observed say, and what do you or someone else say in reply?

            Now let yourself experience the smells in this scene: food cooking, fresh-cut grass, sweat, flowers, salt, candy. If you’re eating, you might want to be aware of tastes – the salt in the pizza, a chocolate bar that’s already melted and slick, the fizz of a Coke, the crispness of an apple.

            Look around you and be aware of the climate. Is it summer or winter? If you’re outdoors, what’s the weather like? What time of day is it? If you’re indoors, is the air stuffy or fresh? If you looked out the window, what would you see?

            Next, become aware of touch and texture. Are the things you’re playing or working with soft or rough, smooth or fuzzy, wet or dry? Notice heat and cold, like the damp icy feel of a glass of soda or the warm texture of a child’s hair, or maybe something that’s gone oily or gooey.

            Now turn your sense of touch inward. What movements are you making? How do your muscles feel? Turn to your emotions. Are you tired and depressed, happy and excited, scared? What are you looking forward to after you leave this scene?

            Finally, do you like or dislike the people around you? What do you feel about that person you chose to observe? What do you think that person feels about you? What would you like to say to this person?

            When all these things are clear in your mind, but not until then, open your eyes and write them down as fast as possible. Write in present tense, as if you are still in the scene.

When you’re done, you might read what you’ve written aloud to the person who helped you, and when it’s their turn, they can read aloud to you. These aren’t stories yet – but they might be the start of stories!

 

Let’s write a sonnet! You may think a sonnet is hard and old-fashioned. But “sonnet” just means “little song.” The main rules of a sonnet are easy – it should have 14 lines, and somewhere along the way, there should be a shift in the feeling of the poem. That’s it. You can rhyme or not. You can have lines as long or as short as you need. Let’s look at this sonnet by Rita Dove, who was recently Poet Laureate of the United States:

Nothing can console me.  You may bring silk
to make skin sigh, dispense yellow roses
in the matter of ripened dignitaries.
You can tell me repeatedly
I am unbearable (and I know this):
still, nothing turns the gold into corn
nothing is sweet to the tooth crushing in.

I’ll not ask for the impossible
One learns to walk by walking.
In time I will forget this empty brimming.
I may laugh again at
a bird, perhaps, chucking the nest –
but it will not be happiness,
for I have known that.

Do you notice how in the first part, she talks about how very sad she is, how nothing makes her feel better? And then, in the second part, she realizes that she will feel better in time, though she’ll never again be as happy as she was before.

One last thing. You don’t have to focus on rhyme or rhythm unless you want to. But you can listen to your language and your sentences. For instance, you might write:

My hair wilts when it gets hot in the summer.

Think about moving that sentence around a little. For instance,

In summer heat, my hair always wilts.

Summertime, heat, and wilting hair.

Whose hair never wilts in the summer? Not mine.

Any of those lines might give your sonnet more “punch,” more sense of the music that will make it a “little song.”

 


Lucy Ferriss is a Writer in Residence at Trinity College and the author of 10 books, mostly fiction. Foreign Climes, her forthcoming book, is a collection of stories. Her website is http://lucyferriss.com.

If you are a Hartford-area community partner with specific needs (material items, technology, or volunteers), scroll down and enter into this form.

If you are a Trinity student, faculty, or staff member with ideas or skills to offer to the Hartford community, scroll down and enter into this form.

CHER encourages remote volunteering. See recent CHER News posts about staying safe while being civically engaged during Covid 19. If people choose in-person volunteering, exercise caution and follow social distancing guidelines for your location from the CDC or the State of Connecticut (see also CT FAQ sheet) or Trinity College Advisories.

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News

Covid and recent social distancing measures have drastically changed the workings of many community organizations, at least temporarily. Since CHER launched our Volunteer Page, we’ve seen many community partners request different kinds of web and social media help. To answer some of those questions and to make life easier for others, we’ve decided to launch a series of blog posts under the umbrella of “Social Media & Digital Resources for Community Partners” — aka skills and tricks that are quick to learn but make a big impact on your digital strategy! This is the first of many “how to” posts to come on a variety of digital skills including how to make GIFs for data viz or photos, how to create an online volunteer form, tips for Zoom, how to record a presentation with voice over, how to create short links, and how to use a content calendar for your communications. We encourage partners to submit other requests to us at http://cher.trincoll.edu/volunteer.

One of the first requests we received was for tips on using Facebook Live to host events or community discussions that were previously scheduled to take place in person. Many of our partners have turned to streaming on Facebook Live to stay connected to their members. Facebook Live allows users to stream events directly from their mobile phones, tablets, or desktop computers to their Facebook newsfeed, and allows for two-way communication between viewers and hosts. Plus, live videos generally see 3x the engagement that traditional videos do on the platform, so it’s a great tool to use if you’re looking for lots of back-and-forth conversation and wide reach during your event. If you would like to borrow a digital storytelling kit (table top tripod, smart phone holder, and microphone attachment) to help with your streaming, contact Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

Facebook has recently introduced Live Producer, which allows for streaming from desktop, laptop, or mobile device and includes newer features that allow you to simultaneously view your stream and comments, monitor your stream health, and create interactive components like polls and questions. Live Producer allows you to use higher-end production equipment and streaming software if desired, but for the purposes of this post we will focus on streaming directly from your internal webcam or mobile phone camera.

How to go live from desktop computer

To go live from your desktop computer, you need to use the Google Chrome browser or you will get an error. First, go to your business/organization page and go to Create –> Live to enter Facebook’s Live Producer. 

Then, under Live Video Setup choose “Use Camera” and allow Live Producer to access to your laptop or desktop’s camera and microphone, like shown above.

Next, set up your live stream with a video title and 1-2 sentence description. Be sure to tag relevant partners in the description by using @[enter their name]. Live Producer also allows you to “Share Your Screen” during the broadcast and it creates a URL to direct people to the live videos on your page, as shown above.

There are several options under “Settings” you may want to use, but we think  “allow users to rewind the live stream during playback” is probably the most useful one.

How to go live from your mobile phone

To go live from your cell phone, simply open the Facebook app, go to your organization’s Page, and click “Live” under “Create a post.” Then, write a sentence or two to describe your video and tag your relevant partners by using @[enter their name]. If you’re having trouble finding the organization you’d like to tag, make sure you’re using their correct username. You can find this by going to their Facebook page and checking underneath their profile photo. The username should be underneath, and it should begin with an @ symbol. 

Share the stream and drive engagement

Before you go live, we recommend that you post or email out an announcement about 1 hour beforehand, with a picture of yourself or other participants, and (if emailing) a link to your page. If you’ll have a long event with a series of questions, we recommend sending out an agenda too! This will help keep others informed and remind them to join and share your stream.

When you go live, ask your colleagues, partners, etc to share the stream. Live streams from Pages (as opposed to Group or Event live streams) allow others to share your stream to their business or personal pages. You can also encourage other Pages or individual people to host a Watch Party for your live stream in order to gather more participants.

If you have participants who cannot join by watching Facebook Live, desktop Live Producer allows you to create a dial-in number with an access code that people can call. Listeners cannot be heard when they call in. See instructions here.

Moderate your discussion and interact with participants

Once you are live, a small version of your stream will appear in Live Producer’s right hand side, and the comments will appear on the left hand side so you can monitor comments and view your stream simultaneously.

Tips for audience engagement”

  • Read, react to, and respond to comments live by using the left-hand pane.
  • Create polls with up to 4 options or ask questions of your audience throughout your stream by selecting “Polls” or “Questions” in your right hand pane, like shown below.

Once your event is over, you should end your broadcast and Facebook will as you to confirm that you want to end the stream. Your video should automatically post to your feed so that others can view it later.

That’s all for now! Are you using Facebook live for your events? CHER encourages community partners to send additional tips for this post to erica.crowley@trincoll.edu.

 

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Community Service, News

At this point into the Covid pandemic, even weekly trips to the grocery store can be incredibly stressful. So many of us are doing all we can to take care of our families and our communities, and with the backdrop of a pandemic, it’s tiring to say the least. Essential workers at grocery stores are putting themselves on the front lines every day to make sure we are fed, which is no small task. To continue our work finding creative ways for people to stay civically engaged, we decided to invite Trinity students to put together a template so folks can mail thank you cards to Hartford-area grocery stores. Thank you to Archana Adikhari ’22 for compiling this template, and to Alex Chambers ’22 (and siblings) for getting putting together the first cards to go in the mail!

We encourage you to use the template below to send cards to Hartford area grocery stores, or to grocery stores in your community. We also welcome additions and corrections to this list, which can be emailed to Erica.Crowley@trincoll.edu.

If you are ready to create and send out your cards, great! Be sure to post your cards on social media and tag @trincollcher before you place them in the mail.


Sample messages:
  1. It’s people like you who are helping everyone get through this. Thank you for showing up each day.
  2. Thank you so much for supplying groceries and feeding us even in this time of crisis. We all acknowledge your contribution in making our community a feasible place to live. We are grateful to you for supporting us and our community even during this pandemic. 
  3. At this time of epidemic, opening grocery stores and supplying food to our community is heroic. We salute your courageous soul to be there for people and community before yourself. 
  4. You’re helping to keep us all nourished and fed, and that isn’t going unnoticed. We realize how hard you’re working, and just want to say thank you!
  5. Food is an essential supply for the human body. If grocery stores were not open, then we had to face misfortunes due to food shortage more than this pandemic. We appreciate your contribution in keeping us and this Hartford community alive during these hard times.
  6. Thank you for feeding us — we are so grafeul. You are the reason this community can keep functioning. We all are sending love, light, and blessings to you and your family. We hope these blessings of thousands of people out here will keep your family away from any difficulties.

 

Hartford-area Grocery Stores and Mailing Addresses:

 

Stop and Shop

150 New Park Ave, Hartford, CT, 06106

 

ALDI 

511 New Park Ave, West Hartford, CT

 

CTown Supermarket

1744 Park St, Hartford, CT, 06106

 

CTown Supermarket

394 New Britain Ave, Hartford, CT, 06106

 

CTown Supermarket

442 Main St, East Hartford, CT, 06118

 

CTown Supermarkets

165 Wethersfield Ave, Hartford, CT, 06114

 

The Greenway Market

71 Asylum St, Hartford, CT, 06103

 

D&D Supermarket

179 Mather St, Hartford, CT, 06120

 

Hartford Foodmart

915 Main St, Hartford, CT, 06103

 

Five Star Farmers Market

475 Flatbush  Ave, Hartford, CT. 06106

 

Bravo Supermarkets

685 Maple Ave, Hartford, CT, 06114

 

Bravo Supermarkets

1291 Albany Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06112

 

Appletree

480 New Park Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06110

 

Price Rite of W. Hartford

983 New Britain Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06110

 

Royal Indian Grocery

560 New Park Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06110

 

A Dong Supermarket

160 Shield St, West Hartford, CT, 06110

 

Athemy Supermarket

3 Wethersfield Ave, Hartford, CT, 06114

+1 8605489616

 

Albany Grocery Store

1160 Albany Ave, Hartford, CT, 06112

 

Viva Mexico Grocery Store

624 Park St #1, Hartford, CT, 06106


Author bio: Archana Adikhari is a sophomore at Trinity College, from Nepal, who is always up for any type of community involvement. Archana is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Writing, Rhetoric, and, Media Studies.

CHER encourages remote volunteering. See recent CHER News posts about staying safe while being civically engaged during Covid 19. If people choose in-person volunteering, exercise caution and follow social distancing guidelines for your location from the CDC or the State of Connecticut (see also CT FAQ sheet) or Trinity College Advisories.

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of everyday life are now more challenging. Over the last few weeks, students in public schools have moved from in-person, physical learning to different kinds of online class. This move online has added new difficulties to learning for students and families.

At this difficult time, Trinfo Café recently refurbished and donated laptops to schoolchildren in a variety of Hartford schools, including a donation of twenty-five laptops to partner school, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). These laptops will be used by HMTCA students that still need a device to connect to online learning.

While HMTCA is only steps away from Trinfo Cafe, the delivery took a team effort. On the Trinity side, Trinfo Cafe Director Carlos Espinosa and Program Manager Arianna Basche (top right) helped to deliver the laptops safely. And Principal Julie Goldstein, Holly Heller (top left), Sherrille Payne (bottom right), and Juan Medina helped receive and prepare the laptops at HMTCA.

The next few months will be challenging for everybody, including HMTCA and Trinity College students, faculty & staff, and parents. So we hope to continue to working together with our students, faculty and staff, partners, and home city during this difficult time.

 

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Over the past few weeks, our team has been collecting read-aloud stories to share out with Hartford parents, educators, and others. This project is inspired in part by Hartford’s Kennelly School Twitter account which features a nightly 7:30pm read-aloud, where staff read a book to children on live video, which is also recorded (See: https://twitter.com/kennelly_school).  Below you’ll find some read-aloud videos submitted by Trinity students, with more to come on this Youtube channel.

Are you a Hartford resident, community partner, or Trinity student, faculty or staff member interested in recording a video of your own? We’re especially interested in multi-lingual submitters for stories in languages including Spanish, Portuguese, French & Haitian Creole, Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese), ASL and others. See instructions and sign up to record a video here: http://bit.ly/TrinReadAloudInstructions

See also our recent blog post “Online Learning and Reducing the Digital Divide During School Shutdown” and our CHER Volunteer page where community groups and organizations can submit needs and view skill offers: http://cher.trincoll.edu/volunteer


One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Read by Jill Schuck ’23 (3-6 years)

The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder – Read by Annabel Nottebohm ’21 (3rd Grade)

Where the Wild Things Are – Read by Sarah Baskin, IDP

Little Fur Family – Read by Ella Pepper ’21 (3rd Grade)

Strega Nona, An Old Tale – Read by Brooke Agro ’22 (4-8 Years)

The Rainbow Fish – Read by Remy Chester ’21 (3rd Grade)
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As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., higher education institutions are taking the necessary steps to keep their students, staff, and faculty safe. Many campuses, including Trinity, have moved to remote classes for some length of time as our communities are being told to practice social distancing, which is the correct public health message, and one that requires us to invent entirely new ways for people to stay connected to each other and civically engaged.

Civic engagement is incredibly important to the health of communities everywhere, so during these challenging times, the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College (CHER) is thinking creatively about our partnerships and how we can stay true to our mission (while keeping everyone safe). We know that many people in our community are in need, and many want to help, so we posed the question: “How can you become civically engaged while practicing social distancing?” 

To answer this question, we decided to go directly to our community partners and ask them what their current needs are, which is important since Covid 19 has drastically changed the operations and staffing structures of many community organizations. To help match those needs, we then invited our Trinity students, faculty, and staff to contribute ideas and skills they can offer to the Hartford community. Thanks to the work of our team and the flexibility of our community engagement database in Airtable, several of these listings now appear publicly on our new web page “Volunteer in the Hartford Area During Covid 19.” This public web page, coupled with a series of CHER blog posts and social media content, will also help us to create new partnerships and expand existing partnerships between community organizations and Trinity students, faculty, and staff.

To help get the ideas flowing, our team created this ever evolving list of online community engagement ideas:

We all need to support each other and stay connected during this difficult period. Feel free to contact any member of the CHER team if you would like to discuss ideas or questions that are on your mind. We’d love to hear from you!


CHER encourages remote volunteering during Covid 19. If people choose in-person volunteering, exercise caution and follow social distancing guidelines for your location from the CDC or the State of Connecticut (see also CT FAQ sheet) or Trinity College Advisories. See also recent CHER News posts about staying safe while being civically engaged during Covid 19. 

 

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News
Kennelly School staff share read-along videos online

One strategy to continue student learning outside of schools during the COVID-19 public health crisis is to share free online learning resources. The CHER team compiled this list below, with a special focus on those created by Hartford-area schools, organizations, and volunteers. We encourage you to share this link with others, and contact us if you have additional suggestions to offer, especially those created here in Hartford.

Let’s be clear: sharing links is a great start, but not the only step we must take to address educational disparities that existed long before this public health crisis, and will intensify during the length of this public school shutdown. Read CT Mirror reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas’s story on how the digital divide continues to grow as some of Connecticut’s richer school districts and families have shifted to online learning, which is not yet possible for many poorer school districts and families. Contact the CHER team if you can expand online access to Hartford-area families (by donating computers, helping people connect to internet services, etc.) or have other creative strategies to offer. In addition, we are sharing, though not necessarily endorsing, these special offers by internet service providers to low-income families during the Covid crisis:

  • Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots: now open to everyone. See link for map of coverage in your area.
  • Internet Essentials from Comcast: New Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service, which is available to all qualified low-income households, afterwards $9.95/month plus tax. Check for availability in your area.
  • Cox Connect2Complete service for qualified lower-income families: first month free, then $9.95 per month, free wifi modem, free installation, no deposits. Check for availability in your area.
  • Frontier Lifeline Discount program for qualified lower-income families. Check availability in your area.
  • EveryoneOn.org: non-profit organization with tool to find low-cost internet and affordable computers in your area.

Free online learning resources created in the Hartford area:

  • Hartford’s Kennelly School Twitter account features their nightly 7:30pm read-aloud, where staff read a book to children on live video, which is also recorded and made available online. If other people in Hartford wish to create more family-friendly read-aloud videos, please feel free to contact CHER to help circulate them.
  • Active City, a Hartford non-profit dedicated to increasing access to affordable youth athletic programs, is creating sports and exercise videos on Facebook and YouTube for kids and families.
  • Hartford Sweat is also offering exercise and meditation online on Facebook.
  • The researchIT CT service from CT State Library & local public libraries “allows Connecticut library cardholders to search thousands of databases, magazines, journals, newspapers, and catalogs. Signing in may require your library card number.” Resources are organized by topic and audience, including K-12 learners, college students, and adults. Learn more on this Hartford Public Library resources page.
  • Hartford Public Schools created this set of digital learning packets, organized by grade level. Would anyone like to volunteer their time (and their photocopier) to print out packets to distribute to students, perhaps through the HPS Student Meal Pickup locations around the city? Contact CHER if you’re willing to help.

Additional free learning resources from other locations:

 

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HMTCA-Trinity Partnership

Last month, Laura Lockwood, the Director of Trinity College’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) visited HMTCA students. Working with Trinity College alumna Mel Cavanaugh (T ’11) and HMTCA history teacher, Laura visited with the school’s Girls Club. Here is a short interview with Laura about her visit to HMTCA as the Director of WGRAC. Learn more about WGRAC and Women’s Herstory Month (March 2020) here.

 

Q: Why did you visit the Womens Club at HMTCA?

Laura: Over the past four years, a WGRAC student and I have been invited to talk about the issues of consent and related topics at the HMTCA Girls Clubs annual conference in the spring. On this occasion I was asked to talk to them after they had watched The Hunting Ground, which deals with the incidence of sexual assaults on college campuses.

The film ends positively with survivors across the country organizing to hold college administrations accountable. Hence the organizations: End Rape on Campus; Know Your IX. WGRAC hosted the latter organization at Trinity in 2015. The student discussed topics such as victim shaming; why women/girls wait to come forward and report; the #MeToo movement; and more. One 9th grader asked if she could volunteer at WGRAC!

Q: What did you share with the group this time?

Laura: I provided a listening ear to their thoughts and opinions, affirmed their feelings, and, helped them sort through the complexities of these issues. We talked about consent, supporting each other, social media, sexting, and why gender based violence is not about looks or attraction, but about power and domination.

Q: What are your next steps with group?

Laura: The club will visit WGRAC at Trinity College again this month, walking over after school. We would like to show the girls what a “Women & Gender Resource Action Center” on a college campus looks like, what we do, and, how students create a respectful space. Over “comfort” food we’ll continue our conversation, and invite a few WGRAC students to join in as well.  If HMTCA students leave feeling empowered and positive about speaking up and out, creating change at their school and in their community, they will embody the essence of WGRAC’s mission.

 

The responses have been lightly edited for clarity. This interview is a collaboration between CHER, HMTCA Partnership, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

 

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Newsletters

Welcome to the CHER February Newsletter! Each month, we send out an e-newsletter to keep the campus and community updated about what we’re doing here in the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College (affectionately known as CHER😎). Over the past month we’ve visited student workers at Trinfo Café, reopened the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, taking HMTCA students bowling, and celebrated the power of women. Take a look at our highlights below, and be sure to contact us if you are interested in collaborating.

Tulsi Sumukadas ‘20 Receives a #CHERShoutout for Leadership at Trinfo Café and Community Service!

When you see Tulsi Sumakadas ‘20 around campus, be sure to say congratulations! Tulsi was chosen this month for a #CHERShoutout due to her Hartford engagement work as the new coordinator of student-led community events at Trinfo Café, volunteer work with the Trinity Homelessness Project, and more fantastic work as a Health Fellow and with the Biology Club on campus and in Hartford. Tulsi said, “One of the reasons that I wanted to work at Trinfo and get involved in community service was to make sure I had opportunities to get off campus. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to organize an event and reach out to a lot of different groups. Also, helping the clients here is more than just answering a five minute question. I helped a woman a few months in a row who needed assistance with her resume, then a job application, and then she ended up getting the job and I helped her with the paperwork she needed to start. So it’s been really nice to spend time with people and make a bigger difference.

Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café Reopens for 2020

Tax season is here, and the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open now through April 15th Located at 1300 Broad Street, next to the Trinity College campus and the Learning Corridor. This Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic is one of several in Hartford sponsored by the United Way. VITA offers free income tax preparation services to households generally with incomes of $55,000 or below, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak languages other than English. Professor Serena Laws and students enrolled in her “POLS 310: Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” Community Learning course have been trained as tax preparers. Make an appointment calling 2-1-1 or by going online to http://www.211ct.org. The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and Fridays from 10am to 5pm.

Community Partners: Submit a Proposal to the Liberal Arts Action Lab by Friday 2/28

Got an idea about how to strengthen Hartford? 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 in Fall 2020. After review by the Action Lab, your proposal will publicly appear online to help us match you with interested faculty fellows and students. Any neighborhood group, non-profit organization, government agency, or social entrepreneur, large or small, is encouraged to submit a proposal by Tuesday February 28th, and we will contact you after the Hartford Resident Advisory Board prioritizes proposals in early March. Apply here and contact Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu with any questions.

Community Action Gateway Starts Spring Research Projects

After last semester’s successful video projects, students in the Community Action Gateway are starting semester-long research projects with four community partners: Sexual Assault Crisis ServicesMake the Road CTCompass Peacebuilders, and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women. Each of these groups have asked students to conduct research with them and help them present their findings to a larger audience. Pictured above, Caroline Killian ’23, Tiana Sharpe ’23, and Camm Mattison ’23 attend a meeting with community partners at Hartford City Hall. Read more about their projects here.

 JZ-AMP Mentors and HMTCA Middle-School Mentees Go Bowling Together

Last weekend, Trinity student mentors and HMTCA middle school mentees in the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring program took a field trip to go bowling together! In addition to their after-school tutoring and life skills coaching, the mentees also participate in enrichment activities like this throughout the year. This year, they’ll be continuing their tech skills series over at Trinfo Café. Read more about JZ-AMP’s collaboration with CHER programs here.

JELLO Community Service Club Volunteers at Second Saturdays at The Wadsworth Atheneum and Amistad Center for Arts & Culture

Last weekend, JELLO Community Service students were busy yet again! They spent time volunteering at the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Amistad Center for Arts & Culture for the free programs on  Second Saturdays for Families. Needless to say, the collage-making station was incredible! See more photos here.

Trinity’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center Visits with Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) Young Women’s Club

Earlier this month, Laura Lockwood, the Director of Trinity College’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) visited HMTCA students. Working with Trinity College alumna Mel Cavanaugh ’11 and HMTCA history teacher, Laura visited with the school’s Young Womens Club to discuss what a “women’s center” looks like as well as issues around consent and sexual violence after they had watched film “The Hunting Ground.” Read Robert Cotto Jr.’s interview with Laura here.

Trinity’s “50 For The Next 50” Event Recognizes Many Women Involved in Hartford

On February 7th, as part of the “Women at the Summit” commemoration of the 50th anniversary of coeducation, Trinity College honored a group of 50 women who will have a lasting impact on the college for the next 50 years. CHER congratulates all of the honorees! Not coincidentally, we also note that many of the women selected for this award also have dedicated countless hours to building meaningful relationships between Trinity and Hartford. See all the honorees and their bios here.

Abby Williamson Named Next CHER Director
We are pleased to announce that Abby Williamson, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Law, will be the next director of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) beginning in September 2020. Professor Jack Dougherty, the inaugural CHER Director, will be stepping down from his two-year term as scheduled. Congratulations to Abby!

Applications Due Wed Feb 26th: Liberal Arts Action Lab  and CT Data Collaborative are hiring a paid Nonprofit Data & Technology Consulting Intern for Summer 2020.

Free Workshop Wed Feb 26th: “What is a Healthy Relationship?” An interactive workshop and paint night about healthy relationships to bring awareness to domestic violence. Co-Sponsored by Trinfo Café, Alpha Chi Omega, and YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Service. 6:30–8:00 p.m. Trinfo Café, 1300 Broad Street. Free and open to the public.

Free Lunchtime Lecture Fri Feb 28th: Free lunchtime lecture: “Frontiers in Historical GIS, the Geohumanities, and Narrative Visualization” by Professors Anne Kelly Knowles (University of Maine) and LaDale Winling (Virginia Tech), 12-1pm at the Liberal Arts Action Lab, 10 Constitution Plaza. Co-sponsored by UConn, Capital Community College, and Trinity College. View the entire program. Free and open to the public. Lunch provided: first come, first served.

Free Event Fri Feb 28th: Trinfo BINGO: Join us for BINGO night! Delicious food and prizes for the winners. Free and open to the public. Co-Sponsored by Trinfo Café and the Office of S.A.I.L. 6:00–7:30 p.m. Trinfo Café, 1300 Broad Street. Free and open to the public.

Weds March 4th: Blood Drive 10am-3:30pm, Washington Room, Mather Student Center. Sign up for a time slot in-person in Mather Hall during lunch week of Feb 24th or e-mail Joseph.Barber@trincoll.edu.

Free Workshop Fri March 6th: “Writing Strategies For Strengthening Community Partnerships” with Dr. Erin Brock Carlson. Are you interested in learning more about how to use writing strategies to strengthen your community partnerships? To create a broader impact on the community? Join us for a workshop focused on how to use many types of writing to meet your goals. 11am-3pm, Liberal Arts Action Lab in Downtown Hartford (10 Constitution Plaza). Open to the public, and designed for higher education faculty, staff, and community partners. RSVP here.

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Community Learning, Trinfo.Café

Tax season is here, and the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open now through April 15th Located at 1300 Broad Street, next to the Trinity College campus and the Learning Corridor. This Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic is one of several in Hartford sponsored by the United Way. VITA offers free income tax preparation services to households generally with incomes of $55,000 or below, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak languages other than English. Make an appointment calling 2-1-1 or by going online to http://www.211ct.org. The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo.Café is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and Fridays from 10am to 5pm.

Political Science Professor Serena Laws coordinates the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, which is staffed by students in her “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” course. “Students get very practical information about how to do taxes, and at the same time receive academic information about tax policy in the United States, so it’s a great combination of policy and real world experience,” explains Laws. In preparation for reopening the clinic, all students completed training to become IRS-certified tax preparers. Two Trinity students who participated in last year’s clinic have returned to take on more responsibilities this year. In addition, Linda Martinez, long-term Hartford resident and member of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) Advisory Board at Trinity, will serve as an additional site supervisor for the clinic to offer extended hours.

In 2020, the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic aims to double its goals from last year. During the 2019 pilot year, student tax preparers provided services in both English and Spanish at Trinfo.Café,  where they served 161 clients with total refunds reaching $224,217, which saved them $43,953 in tax prep fees. The average annual income of families served was $18,304 and the average return for a Hartford family was $1,494, and for families with kids that number was $4,410. “Our goals this year are to double the number of hours the clinic is open, double the number of completed tax returns, and increase the number of first-time VITA clients at our site,” says Laws. The 2020 expansion of services by the tax clinic was funded by generous donations to Trinity College including from Robert F. McCammon Jr. ’61.

Featured photo by Nick Caito.

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CHER News, HMTCA-Trinity Partnership

Earlier this month, Laura Lockwood, the Director of Trinity College’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) visited HMTCA students. Working with Trinity College alumna Mel Cavanaugh (T ’11) and HMTCA history teacher, Laura visited with the school’s Young Womens Club. Here is a short interview with Laura about her visit to HMTCA as the Director of WGRAC. 

Q: Why did you visit the Womens Club at HMTCA?

Laura: Over the past four years, either me or a Trinity student have been invited to talk about the issues of consent and related topics at the girls clubs annual conference in the spring. This occasion was to talk to them after they had watched The Hunting Ground, which deals with the incidence of sexual assaults  on college campuses and the efforts of some schools to discourage reporting or to protect alleged assailants.

The film ends positively with survivors across the country organizing to hold college administrations accountable. Hence the organizations: Stop Rape on Campus; Know your IX. WGRAC has had the latter group to campus. The discussion turned to victim shaming between girls and why that happens; why women/girls wait to come forward; #MeToo; and more. One 9th grader asked if she could volunteer at WGRAC!

Q: What did you share with the group this time?

Laura: Mostly I helped them with the difficult answers to the questions I just listed plus how talking about an incident can not only help them but others. I helped them learn how to support each other and how to seek help. We talked about consent, social media, power versus attraction (sexual assault is about power and intimidation and violence).

At WGRAC we want to show the girls what a “women’s center” looks like and how our students make it their space; what a respectful space is; what we do and how our main objective is to help students find and grow their voice and agency. We will have food and continue the conversation we started last week. I’d love it if the girls left feeling more powerful and positive about what the can they can do to create change at their school, among their friends and in their community.

Q: What are your next steps with group?

Laura: The club is visiting WGRAC at Trinity College on Feb. 27th at 3pm. They are walking over after school. We will be continuing our conversation about the film, The Hunting Ground.

 

The responses have been lightly edited for clarity. This interview is a collaboration between CHER, HMTCA Partnership, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Community Fellow, Robert Cotto, Jr.

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Community Learning, Community Service
50 for the next 50 event photo
Honorees Tiana Starks ’21 (left) and Sam McCarthy ’21 (third from left) with supporters Giovanni Jones ’21 and Megan Faver Hartline.

On February 7th, as part of the “Women at the Summit” commemoration of the 50th anniversary of coeducation, Trinity College honored a group of 50 women who will have a lasting impact on the college for the next 50 years. Women selected for the “50 For the Next 50” initiative were nominated last fall and represented a variety of roles (students, faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, friends of the college, or local community members) with a connection to Trinity.

50 for next 50 event photo
Honorees Erica Crowley (center) and Sam McCarthy ’21 (back) circled by supporters Joe Barber, Morgan Finn, and Megan Faver Hartline.

CHER congratulates all of the honorees! Not coincidentally, we also note that many of the women selected for this award also have dedicated countless hours to building meaningful relationships between Trinity and Hartford. See list of all honorees below, with link to biographical sketches:

Yasmin Affey ’19
Jasmin Agosto ’10
Fatima Al Ansar ’17
Lisa Banks ’90
Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Wildaliz Bermudez ’04
Francesca Campanelli ’20
Stefanie Chambers
Lori Clapis P’18
Erica Crowley
Hanifa Darwish ’22
Kathryn Dissinger M’13
Kristin Duquette ’13
Margaret Elias ’17
Elizabeth Elting ’87
Eleanor Faraguna ’21
Emily Garner
Nicole Hockley ’92
Laura Holt ’00
Caroline Howell ’18
Amelia Huba ’22
Taniqua Huguley ’15, M’17
Tamsin Jones
Burabari “Peace” Kabari ’20
Nicole Katav ’17
Michelle Kovarik
Elissa Raether Kovas ’93
LaTanya Langley ’97, H’17
Trinna Larsen ’20
Brooke LePage ’19
Donna-Dale Marcano
Samantha McCarthy ’21
Beth Miller  IDP ’00, M ’03
Colleen McGlynn Moody ’98, M ’01
Karraine Moody ’01
Selina Ortiz ’19
Consuelo Pedro ’15
Ilda Ramos
The Reverend Allison Read
Courtney Roach ’16
Pearl Rourke ’21
Jacquelyn Santiago ’00
Simran Sheth ’19
Tiana Starks ’21
Hamna Tariq ’20
Monique Tarrant ’08
Molly Jane Thoms ’17, M’19
Cornie Thornburgh ’80
Vidhi Vasa ’22
Hyacinth Yennie P’02, P’06

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Community Learning

Photos: L – Ali Kara ’20, Jennifer Crookes-Carpenter (Night Fall), and Robert Cotto (Trinity College) talk and take notes during an Oral History for Social Justice Workshop. R – Students in Professor Seth Markle’s Intro to Hip-Hop course learn the ins and outs of graffiti writing with Lindaluz Carillo

The “Writing Strategies for Strengthening Community Partnerships” workshop will take place on Friday, March 6 from 11am-3pm at the Liberal Arts Action Lab in Downtown Hartford (10 Constitution Plaza). Register for the workshop here. 

Are you interested in learning more about how to use writing strategies to strengthen your community partnerships? To create a broader impact on the community? Join us for a workshop focused on how to use many types of writing to meet your goals! 

We all use writing to communicate every day (through emails, text messages, and social media posts, as well as larger, more official tasks such as reports, white papers, or websites), and this workshop will help you consider how to navigate these genres of writing and more to build sustainable relationships. Faculty, staff, community partners, and students are invited to join us as we discuss multiple strategies and tools for using writing to document, develop, and reflect on the meaningful connections we make through community-university partnerships. Participants will hear from community-engaged scholar Dr. Erin Brock Carlson, learn to inventory and assess their writing practices, and take part in small- and large-group discussions about how best to approach writing and communication during your projects.  

Guest Speaker: Dr. Erin Brock Carlson, West Virginia University

Register for the workshop here

Preliminary Schedule: 

    • 11:00 – Opening and Welcome by Megan Faver Hartline, Director of Community Learning at Trinity College
    • 11:15 – Keynote address by Erin Brock Carlson
    • 12:00 – Design Thinking and Writing Activity
    • 12:30 – Lunch
  • 1:00 – Presentation by Megan Faver Hartline
  • 1:30 – Small Group Discussion
  • 2:30 – Wrap Up with Erin and Megan

This workshop is presented by Trinity College’s Office of Community Learning and co-sponsored by Campus Compact Southern New England.

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Newsletters

Welcome to the CHER January 2020 Newsletter! Each month, we send out an e-newsletter to keep the campus and community updated about what we’re doing here in the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College (affectionately known as CHER😎). Over the winter break we’ve been out volunteering around the city, preparing for the Spring 2020 semester’s Community Learning courses, getting ready to re-open the VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo Café, prepping for five Liberal Arts Action Lab Hartford research projects, and much more! Take a look at the highlights below, give us a follow on social media👇, and be sure to contact us if you’re interested in working together. Happy New Year!

 

Our first #CHERShoutout of 2020 Goes to the January Week of Service!


Here’s our first official #CHERShoutout because the January Week of Service was a success! This past week, a group of Trinity students in the JELLO Community Service Club came back to campus early to complete a week of community service projects with partner organizations around Hartford, including the Church of the Good Shepherd, Night Fall, Cinestudio, Place of Grace Food Pantry, Habitat ReStore, and Knox. Congratulations to Brooke Agro, Alison Cofrancesco, Hanifa Darwish, Amelia Huba, Amodini Katoch, Sarah Kennedy, Eve Pollack, Jonah Silverglade, and Emily Wertheimer! Stay tuned for twice monthly shoutouts about students, staff, faculty, teams, and community partners who are doing great work in Hartford. See more photos from the JELLO Week of Service here.

 

Faculty and Community Partners: Apply for the Summer 2020 Public Humanities Collaborative by Friday January 31st

Are you interested in working on an oral history collection, interactive website, community discussion, exhibit, educational curriculum, or public performance? Do you need a team to help you? The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) is currently accepting research proposals from Trinity faculty as well as Hartford area individuals and organizations pursuing humanities-based projects who are interested in employing 2-4 student researchers during Summer 2020. 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 cher.trincoll.edu/phc or contact Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu. More information about student applications is coming soon.

 

Free Tax Help Available! The Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo Café Opens January 30th

Tax season is here, and the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo Café will open on January 30th! This weekend, students in Senior Lecturer in Political Science Serena Laws’ “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” course will be trained as IRS-certified tax preparers to get ready for the re-opening of the clinic at Trinfo Café, located at 1300 Broad Street, Hartford. The tax clinic is one of several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in Hartford sponsored by the United Way. VITA generally serves households with incomes of $55,000 or below, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak languages other than English. Appointments can be made starting in January by calling 2-1-1 or by going online to http://www.211ct.org. [Photo by Nick Caito]. VITA at Trinfo is open the following days and times starting 1/30:

  • Tuesdays 10:00am-2:00pm
  • Thursdays 10:00am-2:00pm
  • Fridays 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm

 

HMTCA Students Visit Cinestudio at Trinity College

On December 20, 2019, HMTCA students visited Trinity College’s on-campus movie theater, Cinestudio. Along with their science teacher and Trinity alumna, Zuleyka Shaw, students viewed the film, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Thanks to Mrs. Shaw for the great photo!

 

Student Leadership Initiative Continues at Trinfo Café: Stay Tuned for Spring 2020 Community Events


These days, there’s always something happening at Trinfo.Café. Last year Trinfo.Café began its student leadership initiative as part of a commitment to establishing Trinfo as a broader use community space. In addition to greeting community guests, teaching computer literacy, and offering drop-in tech help, Trinfo.Café student workers are taking on the task of independently organizing free public events for the Trinity and Hartford community. Last year’s events included TrinfoBingo, yoga, LGBTQ+ movie night, community discussions, open mic night, community garden meetings, and more. Stay tuned for the lineup of Spring 2020 events!

 

Trinity & Capital’s Liberal Arts Action Lab Hosts Five Hartford Research Teams for Spring 2020

From the fifteen proposals submitted by Hartford community partners, the Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed five research teams for Spring 2020. These project teams will focus on a diverse set of issues facing Hartford: telling the story of Hartford’s first black church, understanding neighborhood communications, researching treatment approaches for opioid addiction, and identifying workforce development barriers for community health workers providing care to folks living with HIV. Read more about the proposed projects 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

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) Partnership Director: Robert Cotto Jr.

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Newsletters
It’s been a busy September here at CHER!  New faculty are workshopping ideas for Community Learning courses across disciplines, Community Action students are learning about social change, video creation, and community organizing with their Hartford partners, Research Fellows are taking a deep dive into community based research methods, and more! Take a look below at a few of our September highlights, and if you or your organization are interested in partnering with Trinity College CHER programs, be sure contact us.

Newer Trinity Faculty Design Community Learning Courses

Please join the Community Learning program in celebrating the Trinity College faculty who will be part of the 2019-20 Community Learning Faculty Fellows program! This program was created to support faculty in developing teaching connections with Hartford community partners. Courses range from rhetoric, to public policy, economics, and studio arts. Congratulations to Elise Castillo, Rachel Moskowitz, Ibrahim Shikaki, and Lynn Sullivan. Read more about their courses here.


Community Learning Research Fellows Work With Hartford Partners

We are proud to announce the 2019 Community Learning Research Fellows! This is a competitive program that allows selected students with previous community engagement experience to challenge their learning and perspective by taking on a research or creative project with a Hartford community partner. Fellows will spend their semester collaboratively designing and executing their research projects which cover topics like education funding policy, maternal mortality, ESOL programs, gun violence prevention, national park usage, sexual health education, and child care programs. Read one-paragraph summaries of their projects here. 


Partners Visit Campus to Start Projects with First-Year Community Action Students

This Fall, Professor Stefanie Wong is instructing the Community Action Gateway “Envisioning Social Change.” Through the Fall semester, their assignments will give them an introduction to Hartford: they’ll attend off campus events, visit new places in Hartford, and try out riding the bus around the City. Most importantly, they’ll get to meet and work with community partners at Public Allies CT, the CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Night Fall, Make the Road CT, and the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice  to create 1-minute videos. Read more about their work here.


Trinity Do-It Day with Students and Employees

Earlier this month, Trinity celebrated the 21st Annual Do-It Day where over 350 students from Trinity Athletic teams and student groups were placed with 18 different organizations across the City. We caught up with a few of the teams throughout the day– Men’s Swimming was loading furniture for Journey Home, the JELLO Community Service Organization was sanding, priming and cleaning at Place of Grace Food Pantry, Women’s Softball was cleaning up at Bushnell Park, Trinity Employees at Camp Courant, and more. Overall, the 21st Annual Do-It Day was another big success, thanks to our community partners, Trinity Athletics, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, Office of Community Relations, and the Exempt and Non-Exempt Staff Councils. Read more about the 21st Annual Do-It Day and Employee Do-It Day on our blog.


Submit Proposals to Liberal Arts Action Lab by September 30th

The Action Lab is diving into this semester while preparing for the next. The educational partnership is now accepting proposals for Spring 2020 projects until 9/30, and Hartford community partners are encouraged to read more and apply at https://action-lab.org/apply/partners-and-proposals/.  As they’re accepting potential projects for next semester, this semester’s Liberal Arts Action Lab teams have hit the ground running! This week, students are establishing group norms and exploring questions like, “What is the role of research in social change?” as they begin designing their research projects. Through the Fall semester, teams will work to answer the following questions proposed by community partners:

  • SINA: Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance asks for research on the prevalence of absentee-owned, small multi-family properties in the south end to help them strategize about community development plans.

    • Students: Michael Serrano (CCC), Lena Wright (CCC)

  • Active City asks for research about who is and is not participating in organized youth sports in Hartford, hopeful that the information with help them increase participation in organized youth sports and facilitate the development of effective initiatives.

    • Students: Gayler Grace (CCC), Lily Everett (TC ‘20), Erick Peña (TC ‘20), Katie Marlow-Bendick (TC ‘20)

  • CT 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.

    • Students: Karolina Barrientos (TC ‘22), Clare Donohoe (TC ‘22), Clare Blanchard (TC ‘22), Jeremiah Rodriguez (CCC)

  • Lilly Sin Barreras asks for retrospective research on what went well and what went wrong during the relocation of refugees from Hurricane Maria to Hartford.

    • Students: Christian Gardner (CCC), Maria Martinez (TC ‘22), Olivia Painchaud (TC ‘21)


Trinity-HMTCA Partnership Expands

The start of the school year marked the start of plans for an expanded Early College program at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), thanks to a new 10-year partnership agreement between Hartford Public Schools and Trinity College. Approved earlier this summer by the Hartford Board of Education, the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lays out plans to expand programming for public high school students on the Trinity campus, increase partner engagement through a new advisory committee, and provide professional development for staff to strengthen their cultural competency. Read more here.


Join us on September 26th for an Open Lecture by Anthony Jack, Author of “The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students.” This event will be held in the Washington Room in Mather Student Center and seating is first come first serve. See details here.

CHER Advisory Board Welcomes New Members

The CHER team is excited to welcome new members for the 2019-20 Advisory Board. The CHER Advisory Board consists of Hartford residents, Trinity faculty & staff, and CHER program leaders who provide feedback about current efforts and offer guidance on future directions for CHER. We are excited to welcome Hartford resident Stacey Lopez ‘11, faculty members Aidalí (Lay) Aponte-Avilés and Rebecca Pappas. Read more about the CHER Advisory board here.

Save the Date: Halloween on Vernon Street Sunday October 27th 1-3:30pm. Trick or treating, games, activities, family friendly.

MOCA Community Cookout at Trinfo.Café. September 29th 2-5pm at 1300 Broad Street. Sponsored by Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), Alpha Pi Kappa, and Trinfo Cafe.

TrinfoBingo. October 4th 5:30-7:30pm at Trinfo Café 1300 Broad Street. Sponsored by S.A.I.L. and Trinfo Café.

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Newsletters

Welcome to the CHER December Newsletter!  Over the past few months we’ve presented community-based research, created print and digital materials for Hartford organizations, helped residents stay warm during the winter months, and engaged students of all ages in theater & dance Community Learning collaboration. At the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College our mission is to strengthen educational partnerships with students, faculty, staff, and the Hartford community. If you are interested in getting involved or partnering with CHER programs, be sure to contact us.


Community Learning Research Fellows Present Hartford Projects

Last week, Hallden Hall was buzzing with Trinity students, faculty, staff and Hartford community partners as ten of our Community Learning Research Fellows presented the results of their semester long projects. Throughout the semester they have worked closely with Professor Laura Holt, TA Samantha McCarthy ’21, Community Consultant James Jeter, and Trinity faculty advisors to design and execute community-based research projects in partnership with Hartford organizations. The projects were wide-ranging: Community College Student-Parents with the CT Early Childhood Alliance, Maternal Mortality with YWCA Hartford, Bilingual Education Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez ‘04, Cultural Variation in Parent Engagement and ESL Resources at Jubilee House,Firearm Recovery with CT Against Gun Violence and Hartford Communities That Care, Sexual Health Education with NARAL Pro-Choice CT, Child Care Center Research with Trinity Community Child Center, and Coltsville Park Usage with the National Park Service. See more on our blog here. 


Theater & Dance’s Peter Kyle Hosts Community Learning Collaboration Honoring Hartford Native & World-Renowned Multi-Media Pioneer Alwin Nikolais

This semester Assistant Professor of Theater & Dance Peter Kyle established a Community Learning collaboration that brought together college students from Trinity College and Saint Joseph’s, high school students from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and ACES Educational Center for the Arts, and Nikolais Foundation for Dance’s Alberto del Saz to restage iconic pieces from Nikolais (1910-1993) at the Trinity Fall Dance Concert. In the lead up to the Fall concert, Kyle also hosted a panel discussion at the Connecticut Historical Society with Hartford area Historian Steve Thornton and two veteran Nikolais collaborators, Ruth Grauert and Phyllis Lamhut and an improvisation master class for 80+ HMTCA high school students. Kyle said, “It’s thrilling to be reminded how we can use the arts, in this case Nikolais’ creative genius, as a touchstone for inspiring Trinity students and so many others to expand on their own artistic aspirations within a larger educational context here in Hartford.” Photos courtesy of Peter Kyle, Alex Fishbein, Larkin De Laria ’21 and John Atashian. See more on our blog here.


Liberal Arts Action Lab Teams from Capital and Trinity Present Hartford Research Projects

Last week, four Liberal Arts Action Lab teams presented results of their projects at the Digital Poster Fair downtown. Teams of Capital Community College and Trinity College students and faculty collaborated to answer questions posed by Hartford partners. This semester, the teams conducted research on Absentee Landlords with Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA), Youth Sports participation with Active City, relocation of families displaced by Hurricane Maria, and Youth Homelessnessoutreach with CT Coalition to End Homelessness. If you missed it, take a look at our photo gallery, video recaps, and the websites each team created on our blog here.


Trinity Homelessness Project Helps Serve 600 People at Footwear With Care Annual Boot Party in Downtown Hartford

This semester, the Trinity Homelessness Project Community Service student group has been out volunteering in Hartford almost every weekend: moving furniture with Journey Home, serving breakfast and donating to the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford, and more. Over the past few weeks, they prepared hundreds of sandwiches and boot donations for Footwear With Care’s Annual Winter Boot Party in Downtown Hartford. Thank you Erin Evangelista ’20, Joe Barber and Beatrice Alicea, Chartwells Dining Associates, community partners and many more who made these partnerships possible. See more on our blog here.


“Writing for a Digital World” Community Learning Students Design Print and Digital Products for Hartford Partners

This semester in Leah Cassorla’s RHET 125: “Writing for a Digital World” Community Learning course, students learned about multimodal composition and digital rhetorics, and then put that knowledge to use when designing print and digital materials such as brochures, invitations, social media content, and websites for Hartford community partners. Read more about their class and view their products on our blog.

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Action Lab

After a semester of research, collaboration, and learning, the Action Lab Project Teams of Capital Community College and Trinity College students shared their findings at the Liberal Arts Action Lab Digital Poster Fair this past Monday. From crafting the right research questions to developing their own WordPress websites, the Action Lab is a unique opportunity where teams of students and faculty from two institutions collaborate to answer questions posed by Hartford community partners. These students have worked incredibly hard this semester to cross the finish line and we couldn’t be prouder! If you missed the poster fair, take a look at the project summaries and links to each team’s website below.

We want to thank Trinity’s Megan Brown and Capital’s Jeff Partridge as well as the faculty fellows, our community partners at Active City, Lilly’s Sin Barrera/ Lilly Without Barriers, SINA Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, and CT Coalition to End Homelessness, and everyone who came out on Monday night for their overwhelming show of support for these Hartford research teams. 


Absentee Landlord

Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) asked about the prevalence of absentee-owned, small multi-family properties in the South End to help them strategize about community development plans, and Capital Community College’s Lena Wright answered the following questions:

  • “How many 2 to 3- family properties in the South End of Hartford are owned by absentee landlords?”
  • Are absentee-owned properties cared for differently than owner-occupied properties?

For a community development nonprofit like SINA, answers to these questions are critical for their future real estate acquisition strategies. SINA’s current strategy is to buy vacant properties owned usually by public entities, such as the city of Hartford or the federal government, or property held in foreclosure by banks. The research Lena has presented here will inform SINA’s interest in acquiring 2-4 family properties owned by absentee landlords.

This is a responsibility I did not take lightly. I have had some experience and exposure as a volunteer arbitrator in landlord and tenant disputes for non-payment of rent, evictions, and destruction of properties which interested me in this topic. But for this project, we needed specific data about properties we could only get by going out and talking to people who live there. When I started, I didn’t know what the end result was going to be, but the more I got into the more I wanted to do it.” – Lena Wright, Capital Community College

Learn more on the Absentee Landlord site here: action-lab.org/absentee-landlord

Student Researchers: Lena Wright (CCC)

Community Partner: Melvyn Colon, Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA)

Faculty Fellow: Emily Yen, Trinity College


Hurricane Maria Relocation
Community partner Lydia Herrera, Olivia Painchaud (TC ’21), Maria Martinez (TC ‘22), Christian Gardner (CCC),

Integrating the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria in Hartford was a long process and one that was not at all smooth. Having now settled almost all of the families, community partners at Lilly Sin Barreras/Lilly Without Barriers proposed that this Action Lab team conduct retrospective research on how families were resettled and document the lessons learned about what went well and what went wrong during relocation.

This project was super exciting to me and that there was diversity on the team… and I argue this all the time, that the next generation after mine, my daughters and my granddaughters, are so passionate and so committed to finding out what’s happening in our communities. So the passion, and just what [Christian] said right now, and the fact that we’re here so we’re gonna be part of history together, that’s awesome.” – Lydia Herrera, Lilly Sin Barrera

In the video above, Lydia Herrera of Lilly Sin Barreras and team member Christian Gardner (Capital Community College) discuss their process of working together on this project. Learn more on the team’s website at: action-lab.org/hurricane-maria

Student Researchers: Christian Gardner (CCC), Maria Martinez (TC ‘22), Olivia Painchaud (TC ‘21)

Community Partner: Lydia Herrera, Lilly Sin Barreras

Faculty Fellow: Sarah Raskin, Trinity College


Youth Homelessness
Jeremiah Rodriguez (Capital Community College) and Karolina Barrientos (TC ’22) present their findings to Carl Asikainen of the CT Coalition to End Homelessness

CT Coalition to End Homelessness has made significant inroads engaging students throughout the state in understanding their rights and the rights of their peers under McKinney-Vento, the federal legislation which functions as the homeless student’s Bill of Rights. One of their challenges is to figure out how to scale the work they have done on a school-by-school basis throughout the state, so they asked this Action Lab team to look at the work they’ve done and develop a model for reaching schools in the Greater Hartford area.

 

In the video above, CT Coalition to End Homelessness’ Carl Asikainen and Clare Donahoe ’22 discuss their partnership and how Carl plans to use the team’s web content to help educate teachers and administrators in Hartford about youth homelessness. Learn more on the team’s website: action-lab.org/youth-homelessness

Student Researchers: Karolina Barrientos (TC ‘22), Clare Donohoe (TC ‘22), Clare Blanchard (TC ‘22), Jeremiah Rodriguez (CCC)

Community Partner: Carl Asikainen, CT Coalition to End Homelessness

Faculty Fellows: Stefanie Wong, Trinity College


Youth Sports

As an organization, Active City believes that not enough children in Hartford receive the benefits of participation in youth sports and recreation, and because of the decentralized nature of the organizations who run sports and recreation programs, there is littler formal data to help understand how Hartford compares to others in physical activity and participation in programs. Active City asked this Action Lab team to quantify this problem and possibly get a better understanding of why it is the way it is in order to facilitate the development of effective initiatives to increase participation.

Erick Peña (TC ‘20), Katie Marlow-Benedick (TC ‘20) present

I really enjoyed working with the community partner on this and really just being able to be engaged with the community. That’s been like my favorite part about Trinity being able to take classes in the City and really get outside of campus. So, we really just worked hard to do surveys all around Hartford [for Active City]. And I found this great opportunity to do online surveys as well to try to reach representative populations in Hartford.” -Erick Peña ’20

Learn more about the Youth Sports project on the team’s website at: action-lab.org/youth-sports

Student Researchers: Gayler Grace (CCC), Lily Everett (TC ‘21), Erick Peña (TC ‘20), Katie Marlow-Benedick (TC ‘20)

Community Partner: Margaret Girard, Active City

Faculty Fellow: John Michael Mason, Trinity College


In the Liberal Arts Action Lab, Hartford community partners define problems facing the city and collaborate with teams of students and faculty from Capital Community College and Trinity College to research and publicly share possible solutions. The goals of the Action Lab are to strengthen the city and its role in the region, spark social innovation, and support civic engagement and sustainability. View past projects and learn more about applying as a community partner, student, or faculty fellow at action-lab.org.

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News

This semester Assistant Professor of Theater & Dance Peter Kyle established a Community Learning collaboration that brought together college students from Trinity College and Saint Joseph’s, high school students from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (GHAA) and ACES Educational Center for the Arts (ECA), professional dancers from the greater Hartford community, and the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance’s Alberto del Saz to celebrate the work of Alwin Nikolais (1910-1993). The project culminated in performances of a full program of Nikolais’ repertory at the Trinity Fall Dance Concert.

In the lead up to the Fall concert, Kyle also organized a panel discussion at the Connecticut Historical Society with Hartford area Historian Steve Thornton and two veteran Nikolais collaborators, Ruth Grauert and Phyllis Lamhut, pictured below.

Peter Kyle with Nikolais collaborators Ruth Grauert and Phyllis Lamhut and Hartford area historian Steve Thornton at the Connecticut Historical Society.

“It’s thrilling to be reminded how we can use the arts, in this case Nikolais’ creative genius, as a touchstone for inspiring Trinity students and so many others to expand on their own artistic aspirations within a larger educational context.”  – Peter Kyle, Trinity College Assistant Professor of Theater & Dance

Additionally, Kyle worked with various community partners and veteran Nikolais collaborators Ruth Grauert, Phyllis Lamhut, and Alberto del Saz (Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance) to host a master class and performance at Saint Joseph’s 5×5 Festival, an improvisation master class at Trinity, a lecture-demonstration for 80+ HMTCA high school students.

“Not only was it an incredible honor for our students to have the opportunity to perform these historical works, it was awesome for students to have the chance to connect with those from other schools.” Mariane Banar-Fountain, Director of Dance at Educational Center for the Arts

Peter Kyle and Ari Basche, Program Manager at Trinfo Café, Trinity’s off-campus technology and community space.

To ready the campus and community for the Fall Dance concert, Kyle also set up exhibits of photos documenting Nikolais’ work by noted dance photographer, Tom Caravaglia, around Trinity and Hartford: Saint Joseph’s, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Trinfo.cafe, the Liberal Arts Action Lab, and on Trinity’s main campus in the Mather Art Gallery.

 

English 494 and Studio Arts 150 students present poem and photo responses to Nikolais’ works at the Crescent Center for Arts and Neuroscience

Trinity students in Professor Clare Rossini’s ENGL 494 Poetry Workshop and Professor Andrew Worth’s STAR 150 Digital Documentary Photography classes were one of the first groups on campus to see the restaged Nikolais works. Kyle invited to attend and respond to rehearsals for the performance of one of the Nikolais pieces, Crucible. Afterwards, the students created original poem and photo responses that they displayed and presented on at the Crescent Center for Arts and Neuroscience on campus.

Thank you to Peter Kyle, the many collaborators, courses, and community partners, the Austin Arts Center, and to Trinity College and the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation for supporting this project. Photos courtesy of Peter Kyle, Alex Fishbein, Larkin De Laria ’21 and John Atashian.


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 semester, the Trinity Homelessness Project Community Service student group has been out volunteering in Hartford almost every weekend. From moving furniture with Journey Home, to serving breakfast and donating to the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford, this group has steadily been growing and Hartford community partners are taking notice. This student-led group was founded by Kyle Fields ’21 last year, and has since been picked up by Erin Evangelista ’20. 

Todd Kawahara ’22, Erin Evangelista ’20, Lara Ferris ’23, Anastasia Hanifin ’23 work with Trinity Dining Associates to prep sandwiches for the Winter Boot Party.

The holiday season is a particularly important time for the type of service Trinity Homelessness Project provides. Over the past few weeks, they prepared hundreds of sandwiches and boot donations for Footwear With Care’s Annual Winter Boot Party in Downtown Hartford. This event provides winter boots and shoes along with socks, mittens, gloves, hats, flu shots and medical checkups for Hartford residents in need during the colder season. Additionally, Trinity Homelessness Project students spent their Friday afternoon working with Chartwell’s Trinity Dining Associates to prep 400 sandwiches to be passed out during the event.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Erin Evangelista ’20, Joe Barber and Beatrice Alicea, Chartwells, community partners and many more who have made these partnerships possible.


The Office of Community Service & 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. To learn more and/or get involved, visit the CSCE web page here.

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Community Learning, News

How can we help students see that their writing can have real outcomes in the world? And how can students’ writing help community partners do their work? These are the questions sitting at the center of Leah Cassorla’s course, RHET 125: Writing for a Digital World. In this class, students learn about multimodal composition and digital rhetorics then use their new knowledge and schools to collaboratively design print and digital compositions for their partners. 

“My students read a lot of rhetorical theory in this class, and I use this as the culminating project for this course so they can take the theory and combine it with the design skills they learn so they can make an impact. I want them to see rhetoric and themselves as rhetors as having power in the world to create change” – Leah Cassorla 

Students partnered with HARC, Kamora’s Cultural Corner, and Hartford PD Not Safe for Women (HPDNSFW), and Trinity’s VITA Tax Clinic at Trinfo Cafe. After initial meetings in October, students spent the second half of the semester designing, revising, and finalizing their products for their partners. These included: websites, social media posts, flyers, brochures, bookmarks, and more. Each group spent time considering the audience their partner wanted to reach before deciding on web and print genres for their products and thinking carefully about the design choices they were making. 

Students’ print materials for Kamora’s Cultural Corner, Trinity’s VITA Tax Clinic, and HARC.

At their final presentations in December, students spoke about the intricacies of designing documents to do work in the world. The group working with VITA discussed the complexities of deciding on what information should go in their brochure about other nearby community resources that people coming to the tax clinic might also be interested in. It was especially important that they figure out a way to link people quickly and easily to online resources, which they ultimately did with a QR Code. Professor Serena Laws who founded and runs Trinity’s VITA site said that students’ work with her was extremely valuable: “This is not something I would have had time to do before this year’s clinic, and it’s going to be a really helpful resource to give to the people we work with.”

Other groups talked about working within pre-existing branding styles and condensing large amounts of text to make their texts easily understood by readers. The HARC student group took several steps to ensure the volunteer brochure they created was consistent with other branding by getting HARC-specific colors and fonts from their partner, Marlisa Smith, as well as access to an online photo album of volunteer pictures. Other groups, like HPDNSFW, were more focused on streamlining text. Students said that the amount of information available through their organization was great, but it was hard to navigate because there was so much of it. They focused on creating a cohesive website that made it easier for people to find information, possible solutions, and how they can get involved. 

The VITA Tax Clinic group poses with their brochure.

One student in the course, Wendy Schon, who partnered with Trinity’s VITA Tax Clinic, says that “Working with a non-profit organization on a physical piece that the organization values was the highlight of this course. We were able to implement design principles learned in class to make something visually appealing.  Positive feedback from our contact person at the non-profit organization made us feel that our work had a useful purpose.” Through this project, students put into practice what they learned in class and were able to see how their rhetorical work made a difference for these organizations.

Leah explained that most of her students are not from Hartford, and they were “choosing the groups they work with for personal reasons,” often because they connected with the mission. This project “allowed them to assist in an organization’s mission that they align with in a community they don’t necessarily belong to and see the impact of their work.” Students in Leah’s course and others like hers are able to learn more about good work happening in Hartford and see how they can directly make an impact as part of that work. They learn about different ways to engage with communities and do good work in the world, no matter where they are.

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Community Learning

This week, Hallden Hall was buzzing with Trinity students, faculty, staff and Hartford community partners as ten of our Community Learning Research Fellows presented the results of their semester long projects. Throughout the semester, these fellows have worked closely with Professor Laura Holt, TA Samantha McCarthy ’21, Community Consultant James Jeter, and Trinity faculty advisors to design and execute community-based research projects in partnership with Hartford organizations. The topics were wide-ranging in terms of topic area, research methods, and type of organization partnered with. 

Fellows Coordinator Professor Laura Holt, Community Consultant James Jeter, and Director of Community Learning Megan Faver Hartline

Each week during the semester, the fellows explored a series of different topics: identifying a question and designing a research project, communicating a research plan, developing good interview skills and techniques, analyzing and visualizing data, designing visual presentations and posters, and managing expectations and addressing challenges in collaborative projects. Instructor Laura Holt provided s syllabus full of helpful resources, presentations from subject area experts in the Trinity community such as Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem and Liberal Arts Action Lab Director Megan Brown, as well as a number of useful public resources such as the Community Toolbox.

These Fellows have taken significant leadership roles in their own learning this semester, and we are so pleased to see them joining a group of dedicated faculty, staff, students, and community partners who are committed to Hartford. Take a look at photos and electronic versions of their posters below.


Emily Schroeder ‘20 – Community College Student-Parents: Experience, Persistence, and Outcomes

Community Partner: CT Early Childhood Alliance (CECA)
Faculty advisor: Jack Dougherty

Merrill Gay (CT Early Childhood Alliance) and Emily Schroeder ’20

Abstract: Adults who occupy both the role of student and parent represent a unique population within the American higher education system, as they must balance their dual responsibilities in the classroom and at home.  Unfortunately, little research on “student parents” exists regarding the additional challenges they face as they balance their responsibilities and the degree of success they find in their academic careers.Thus, in partnership with the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance (CECA) and Capital Community College, we endeavored to answer the question of what differences exist between the experiences of parent and non-parent students in regards to their attendance, persistence, and experience in community college, as well as how student parents navigate their long-term educational goals versus the immediate responsibilities of parenthood.  I used a mixed methods approach, using qualitative interviews of two parents as well as data from the 2012-17 Beginning Postsecondary Student Survey from the National Center for Educational Statistics to answer these questions. As Connecticut is one of two states that severely restricts access to childcare subsidies to only parents on TANF, this study will help the CECA, who seeks to use the results to help pass legislation in the upcoming Connecticut Sessions.

Emily Schroeder Final Poster

Isabelle Alexandre ‘20 – Examining Differences in Maternal Care of Women with Medicaid vs. Private Insurance: Phase 1

Community Partner: YWCA Hartford
Faculty advisor: Dina Anselmi

Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Carlos Espinosa, and Isabelle Alexandre ’20

Abstract: According to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world, with 26.4 deaths for every 100,000 live births. The prevalence in Connecticut is 19.0 deaths per 100,000 live births. Research has identified factors contributing to the high maternal mortality rate in the U.S; however, it is less clear whether these factors also are at play in Connecticut. The number one contributing factor to high maternal mortality rates is access to insurance or lack thereof. Less access to insurance leads to diminished access to prenatal care, which can further adverse health effects for pregnant and postpartum women. This project aims to compare maternal pre and postpartum care for individuals on Medicaid versus private insurance in Connecticut for women of all ages that have experienced birth in the last 12 months. The methodology of this project involves a two-step process. The first step will be interviewing approximately five YWCA partners to ascertain their perspectives on critical care needed for a healthy pregnancy. The second step will be to conduct focus groups of women identified by the YWCA partners. The results obtained from the focus groups will help to develop a series of recommendations for the YWCA as it develops its policies to address gaps in service that limit women in having equitable care.

CLIC Fellows presentation 2.0

Alejandra Zaldivar ‘20 – State of Bilingual Education in Hartford: Opportunities for Growth

Community Partner: City of Hartford Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez ’04
Faculty advisor: Aidalí Aponté-Aviles

Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez ’04, Alejandra Zaldivar ’20, Former Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools Hernan LaFontaine, and Professor Aidalí Aponté-Aviles

Abstract: This project analyzes which Hartford elementary schools currently have bilingual programs. There is a necessity to see the evolution of bilingual programs over the recent years. To gain a better understanding of how many students are learning English as a second language, I examined individual school reports between 2017 and 2018. Also, I analyzed the demographics of seven Hartford schools to determine why these schools have bilingual programs. Furthermore, I interviewed two officials from the Department of Education to understand the condition and background of this program in the state. Two key findings were that there are two different bilingual education practices within the Hartford Public Schools: transitional bilingual programs and dual language programs. Overall, these two bilingual programs differ in their purpose, duration and how much funding and resources they receive each year.

Abstract: Ale Final Poster Draft


Jackie Monzon ‘20 – Cultural Variation in Parents’ School Engagement: Evidence from the Jubilee House

Community Partner: Jubilee House
Faculty advisor: Stefanie Wong

Michele Prizio (Jubilee House/House of Bread), Brenda Ordonez ’22, and Jackie Monzon ’20

Abstract: There are many different challenges immigrant parents face that limit them from being physically involved in school, including language barriers, conflicting work schedules, and cultural barriers. However, research has shown that just because immigrant parents cannot always meet the standard definition of what it means to be an “involved parent” in the United States, it does not mean they are uninvolved or do not value the education of their children. Since 1997, the Jubilee House has been a community adult education and social service center that serves the Hartford immigrant and refugee population. The Jubilee House provides many resources, especially English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) classes. The mission of the staff at Jubilee House is to help immigrants and refugees become proficient in the English language so that they can sustain independence to find employment, find social networks, become active citizens and community members, and if applicable, be able to help their children also be successful. Given that many people who use Jubilee House’s services are parents, I sought to examine the following research questions: How do a parent’s studies impact their children? What practices and supports could be added into the Jubilee Program to promote family literacy? I conducted semi-structured interviews with parents at Jubilee House to explore how they think about their child’s education and how they are involved. I identified four key themes from parents’ responses: specific roles they enact to support their children’s education, aspirations and goals they have for their children, values they wish to teach their children, and how their education at Jubilee House sets an example for their children. I offer specific suggestions for how Jubilee House might expand their programming to meet the needs of immigrant parents.

Jackie Monzon Final Poster

Brenda Ordonez ’22 – Challenges Encountered by Adult ESL Tutors in the Classroom: A Study of ESL Resources at Jubilee House

Community Partner: Jubilee House
Faculty advisor: Stefanie Wong

Brenda Ordonez ’22 presents findings

Abstract: Adult literacy and ESL programs face unique challenges that K-12 or higher education settings do not encounter. ESL programs often have a limited budget and are run by community organizations that have volunteer teachers with little to no experience or training in teaching a language and literacy class or other pedagogical content knowledge. Jubilee House provides English literacy and social integration services to Hartford residents, especially immigrants and refugees. Through these programs, Jubilee House is able to help its students become active citizens and sustain their independence. Given the amount of preparation Jubilee tutors receive and the limited resources offered, my research question focused on the following: What kinds of ESL resources currently exist at Jubilee House and what do tutors find most helpful and useful about them? What kinds of additional resources do new tutors want? To answer this question, I conducted interviews with both incoming tutors and experienced ESL tutors on what resources they currently use in their teaching and what type of resources they would like, but can’t easily access. Additionally, I analyzed the characteristics of each type of resource to determine what components they share and/or how they differ. I provide recommendations on how my findings can be used to develop a tutor orientation packet for new tutors with Jubilee House’s ESL program.

Jubilee House Final Poster Brenda Ordonez

Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ‘22 and Richard Perry ‘22 – Uncovering Data on Firearms Recovered in Hartford

Community Partner: CT Against Gun Violence and Hartford Communities that Care
Faculty advisor: Sarah Raskin

Professor Sarah Raskin, Larry Johnson (Hartford Communities That Care), Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ’22, and Richard Perry III ’22
Joe Barber, Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ’22, and Richard Perry III ’22

Abstract: While hundreds of illegal firearms are confiscated in Hartford every year, there persists a staggering lack of publicly-available information on these guns. This has provided a considerable challenge to our community partners, CT Against Gun Violence and Hartford Communities That Care, two local organizations committed to reducing gun violence. In our research, we aim to remedy these informational deficiencies and provide data which will support their advocacy efforts. Our research was guided by three specific questions: First, what types of firearms are recovered in Hartford? Second, what criminal offense is associated with each recovered weapon? Finally, what is the geographic distribution of these recovered firearms? From the Major Crimes Unit of the Hartford Police Department, we obtained data on six hundred and forty-five firearms recovered in the city between January 1, 2018 and October 26, 2019. We subsequently consolidated and visually represented this data in a more accessible format than the complex Excel sheets and crime reports we received. As our final product, we analyzed and visualized the emerging trends in order to deliver our community partners useful visualizations of this previously inaccessible data.

CLIC poster Richard and Olivia

William Tjeltveit ‘20 – Modeling Visitation at Coltsville National Historical Park

Community Partner: National Park Service
Faculty advisor: Daniel Douglas

Kelly Feltner and Andrew Long (National Park Service, William Tjeltveit ’20, and Dan Douglas

Abstract: Coltsville National Historical Park (NHP), located in the City of Hartford, will be one of the first of its kind, combining an already present city park with a new federal historical interpretive center. Before it can become a full National Historical Park, both the City of Hartford and the National Park Service need a clearer understanding of how often the park will be visited and how people will use the new park. To make these projections, I have undertaken several tasks. I combined a model designed to estimate park visitation with progressive modeling of similar National Historical Parks and data of set park usage. Doing so allowed me to estimate visitation for the future Coltsville NHP based on a number of different scenarios. With no real renovations to the city park and a small visitor center, visitation is predicted to be 439,483. With thorough renovations and the visitor center, annual visitation would be predicted at roughly 541,316 persons. With this information, along with suggested methods for increasing confidence, not only will Coltsville will be one step closer to becoming an official National Historical Park, but other new sites will be able to employ a simple method of estimating park usage.

Tjeltveit Park Visitation Poster

Eleanor Faraguna ‘21 – Organizing Strategies for Comprehensive Sexuality Education Campaigns in Connecticut

Community Partner: NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut
Faculty advisors: Erica Crowley and Jack Dougherty

Liz Gustafson (NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut) and Eleanor Faraguna ’21

Abstract: In my research, I examined the basic principles of community organizing, including issue development, leadership development, and coalition building, to support the Healthy Youth Coalition’s effort to organize and pass statewide comprehensive sexual health education in Connecticut. For my methodology, I conducted an extensive literature review on sexual health campaigns, undertook interviews with major stakeholders such as Planned Parenthood and lawmakers, and I describe a case study in which I analyze the current comprehensive sexual health campaign efforts in New York. I offer specific recommendations on how the Healthy Youth Coalition by applying successful elements of the New York campaign. This report will be utilized by members of the Healthy Youth Coalition to understand the realities and challenges of organizing a comprehensive sexual health campaign in Connecticut.

Eleanor Faraguna final presentation

Download a PDF of Eleanor’s report here.

HYC report-4

Renita Washington ’22 – What do Higher Socioeconomic Families Value in Child Care Centers?

Community Partner: Trinity College Community Child Care Center (TC4)
Faculty advisor: Jack Dougherty

Renita Washington ’22 presents.

Abstract: Trinity College Community Child Care Center (TC4) has served children, ages six weeks – 5 years, and their families since 1985. Their mission is to “serve the children and families of the surrounding Hartford community and the Trinity College community by providing high-quality education in a safe and nurturing environment that celebrates the diversity…” TC4’s goal is to serve a diverse group of families, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or disabilities. TC4 is interested in recruiting more higher-income families to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of the Center as it servers various populations. To support TC4 in meeting this goal, I undertook two steps: First, I analyzed anonymized enrollment records from the Center to determine what types of families (SES, Trinity or community membership, other demographic factors) TC4 has served/subsidized with scholarships over time. Second, I interviewed eight families from higher SES backgrounds to determine what qualities are most important to them when they are looking for child care. I found that enrollment of low-income families at TC4 has been relatively stable over the last 10 years and that there is significant racial/ethnic diversity among enrolled children. I also found that higher socioeconomic families prioritize location, NAEYC accreditation, and cost, but may assume that TC4 only enrolls families affiliated with Trinity.

Renita Washington Final Poster small size

Manny Rodriguez ‘20 – Connecticut Pre-K Policy, Parental Choice, and the Trinity College Community Child Center

Community Partner: Trinity College Community Child Care Center (TC4)
Faculty advisor: Jack Dougherty

Manny Rodriguez ’20 presents.

Abstract: Traditional public-school programs in Connecticut have experienced being pushed out and overtaken by newer schooling options such as magnet and charter schools. This has largely occurred due to the landmark Sheff vs. O’Neill decision, which resulted in a host of regulations and policies aimed at ensuring schools were well integrated across the state. One of these policies called for the development of magnet schools. The influx of magnet pre-k programs has caused preschools like the Trinity College Community Child Center (TC4) to lose enrollees and, in turn, revenue. For this project, I researched how state funding policy changes impact the decision-making process of parents when deciding where to send their children to school. Specifically, I sought to discover how the growth of magnet pre-k programs in Connecticut has influenced the decisions families make when choosing who will care for their 3-to-5-year-old children. I conducted research analyzing data from the CT Office of Early Childhood the CT State Department of Education, and other scholarly sources. I also conducted qualitative interviews with current and formerly enrolled parents at TC4 to investigate what traits they find attractive in pre-k programs. The results show that parents are generally more pragmatic than idealistic when it comes to where to send their children for childcare. Many parents expressed that they would send their children to a traditional public school if it was more convenient, but others saw those programs as too under-resourced and underperforming. Overall, parents identified issues within the magnet system but still wanted to do what was best for their children’s future.

Manny Rodriguez Final Poster

Community Action Gateway alum who joined the Research Fellows.

Congratulations to all the Fall 2019 Fellows. To learn more about the Community Learning Research Fellows Program, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/fellows or contact Program Coordinator Laura.Holt@trincoll.edu or Director of Community Learning Megan.Hartline@trincoll.edu

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CHER News

Save the date for Spring 2020 Community Arts events at Trinity College. These include the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, SambaFest, Trinity Film Festival, the Spring Dance Concert, and many other events and performances that are open to the Trinity and Hartford community. Check back here for more detailed information!


March 26th-29th 2020: Trinity International Hip Hop Festival

Each year, the festival brings together hip hop artists, academics, activists and fans from dozens of countries to perform, share and teach. Founded in the spring of 2006, the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival was created to combat the disunity, segregation, and violence of Hartford, CT and Trinity College. Using the historically education-oriented and politically revolutionary medium — Hip Hop – and focusing on its global potency and proliferation, the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival works to unify Trinity College, the city of Hartford, and the Globe. Take a look at scenes from past festivals:


March 2020, Theater and Dance Department Spring Dance Concert

Annual showcase of student works and choreography at the Austin Arts Center on Trinity College’s campus. More to come.


April 25th, 2020: Samba Fest

Samba Fest is a community festival that strives to bring attention to Hartford’s cultural diversity throughout the Central Connecticut region. The festival is free and features Brazilian, Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Cuban, and West Indian musical groups. It also includes dance workshops, food, games, and activities. Take a look at scenes from the 2014 Samba Fest in the video below.


May 2nd, 2020: 9th Annual Trinity Film Festival

Founded in 2012, the Trinity Film Festival brings together undergraduate students from around the world to premiere their short films on the big screen. This non-profit student-run film festival is held annually at Cinestudio on Trinity College’s campus. This event is open to the public. More information and ticket information can be found at https://www.trinfilmfestival.org.


More to come.

 

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Newsletters
Welcome to the CHER October Newsletter! At the Center for Hartford Engagement & Research at Trinity College our mission is to strengthen educational partnerships with students, faculty, staff, and Hartford. Over the past few months we’ve knocked doors in the surrounding neighborhood, hosted student-led community events, engaged in community-based research with Hartford partners, and worked with faculty as they teach and develop community learning courses. If you are interested in getting involved or partnering with CHER programs, be sure to contact us.

Trinity’s Relationship with Hartford:
Results from a Community Resident Survey

In the summer of 2019, Trinity College undertook a door-to-door canvas survey of residents in the 15 square blocks around the campus. The purpose of this survey was to listen to and learn from the neighbors who live near the Trinity campus. Teams of student and community interviewers spoke with 114 neighborhood residents about their perceptions of their neighborhood, their knowledge and perception of Trinity College and its community-facing programming, and their direct experiences with the campus. See the full report on our blog and attend a presentation & feedback session: Friday October 25th at 12 noon at McCook Conference Room at Trinity College; Tuesday Nov 12th at 6pm at Southwest/Behind the Rocks NRZ meeting; and Thursday Nov 14th at 6pm at Maple Ave NRZ meeting.


Students and Faculty: Apply to Join a Liberal Arts Action Lab Research team by Thursday 10/31

In the Liberal Arts Action Lab, teams of students and faculty from Capital Community College and Trinity College work together on research projects proposed by Hartford community partners. Capital and Trinity students and faculty should apply for any of the 6 project options by October 31st at http://action-lab.org/apply. Contact Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu with any questions.


Trinfo.Café Students Lead Community Events: TrinfoBringo, Yoga, LGBTQ+ Movie Night, Paint Night, Moonlit Movies

These days, there’s always something happening at Trinfo.Café! This semester, Trinfo.Café continued its student leadership initiative– Trinfo student workers are teaching computer literacy, offering drop-in tech help, and taking on the task of independently organizing free public events for the Trinity and Hartford community. Mary Meza Celis ’22 aid, I think Trinfo’s effort of having students organize events where students and people from the community can participate is a positive of the campus…Sometimes the campus can feel very exclusive, and for me the [events like this] are like a stress relief because you don’t feel like you’re always in a bubble. I like seeing other people and knowing there are more people I can talk to and more people I can connect with in Hartford. Click here for details about the upcoming Halloween Moonlit Movies, Community Paint Night, and more!


Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy and La Voz Latina Celebrate
Hispanic Heritage Month

Last week, Trinity College La Voz Latina students and Compass Youth Collaborative joined HMTCA students, families, and educators for a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. Major highlights of the celebration included a dance performance by HMTCA students (directed by Ms. Carmen Rivera) and La Voz Latina’s demonstration of “papel picado” which is a form of Mexican folk art that uses tissue paper and repetitive designs to create wall hangings. This small collaboration complements the focus on multiculturalism and multilingualism in the renewed partnership agreement between HMTCA and Trinity College. Read more on our blog here.


Trinity’s Project PACKS is Largest Contributor to Hands on Hartford
Backpack Nutrition Program

This week, we caught up with Project PACKS leaders Alison Cofranceso ‘20 and Hadley Santana Queiroz ‘20 to hear about their work organizing the campus to contribute to Project PACKS, a student group that donates food filled backpacks to the Hands on Hartford Backpack Nutrition Program every week. There’s something really tangible about packing 40 backpacks full of food that are going directly to kids in Hartford. We’re the largest outside contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program, and I think it’s really important not only to be giving back to the community that we’re in, but giving back in a way where we’re relied upon. – Hadley Santana Queiroz ’20. Read more on our blog here.


Trinity Joins YWCA Hartford Panel for Week Without Violence: Know the Facts, Hear the Stories of Survivors, Take Action

“You are not alone, you’re not to blame, and there’s a way out.” – In case you missed it, Trinity College Women & Gender Resource Action Center’s Laura Lockwood and Samantha McCarthy ’21 joined YWCA Hartford Region and University of Saint Joseph’s Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Director Rayna Dyton-White for a “Week Without Violence” panel discussion on how to take action in your community. Take a look at our blog for the highlights. Thank you Melinda Johnson and Terry Fitzgerald at YWCA Hartford for the invitation to partner!

Community Learning Faculty Fellows Begin Building Relationships in Hartford

The 2019-20 Community Learning Faculty Fellows are delving into their work developing teaching connections with a diversity of Hartford community partners. Their courses range from writing & rhetoric to public policy, economics, and studio arts. Congratulations again to Leah Cassorla, Elise Castillo, Rachel Moskowitz, Ibrahim Shikaki, and Lynn Sullivan. Read more about their courses here.

Join us for Halloween on Vernon Street Sunday Oct. 27th 1-3:30pm

This event is free and open to the public from 1-3:30pm at 114 Vernon Street.

Additional upcoming dates:


CHER Director:
Jack Dougherty
CHER Communications & Data Assistant: Erica Crowley
Community Learning Director: Megan Faver Hartline
Community Service and Civic Engagement Director: Joe Barber
Community Service and Civic Engagement Assistant Director: 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

These days, there’s always something happening at Trinfo.Café. This semester, Trinfo.Café continued its student leadership initiative as part of a commitment to establishing Trinfo as a broad use community space. In addition to greeting community guests, teaching computer literacy, and offering drop-in tech help, Trinfo.Café student workers are taking on the task of independently organizing free public events for the Trinity and Hartford community.

This semester they’re set to offer about 10 community events ranging from discussions and lectures, arts and activities, fitness and health, and more. Last week, we caught up with Mary Meza Celis ‘22 who has had lots of experience working at Trinfo Café as a student worker and through the VITA Tax Clinic. Mary’s studies focus on environmental science and psychology (plus she’s taking the Theater & Dance Class “Principles of Body Movement”) so she decided to organize a yoga class at Trinfo to focus on mind-body connections and wellness in the community.

“I feel like people in the community really need a space to do some self-care. A lot of people who come to Trinfo come here to do homework because they’re taking community college classes, or they’re paying their bills, or they’re busy with a lot of stress. So I thought it would be a nice event for people in the community to come and relieve some of that stress– plus I added a component where we practice finding instructional videos online because many people don’t know you can access these for free.” – Mary Meza Celis ‘22

The Trinfo students are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of someone else — “What’s an event I might like to go to on a Friday night? What’s something that’s both educational, fun, and builds community?”  — and then the dates start going on the calendar. From start to finish, student leaders are deciding on advertising, flyers and posters, icebreakers, food, photos, and other items needed to make their event a success.

“I think Trinfo’s effort of having students organize events where students and people from the community can participate is a positive of the campus. I feel like it can change the college dynamic for the better. Sometimes the campus can feel very exclusive, and for me the [events like this] are like a stress relief because you don’t feel like you’re always in a bubble. I like seeing other people and knowing there are more people I can talk to and more people I can connect with in Hartford.” – Mary Meza Celis ‘22

 

 

Over the past few weeks, Trinfo student leaders also helped to organize TrinfoBingo with S.A.I.L. and LGBTQ+ movie night with Trinity College EROs and the Queer Resource Center. Plus, there are already more events on the calendar for the rest of the semester. Thank you Ari Basche, Carlos Espinosa, Trinfo student workers, and many others for making these events possible.

 

Upcoming events include:

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Community Service

Every week, Trinity College’s Project PACKS (“providing academic change for kindling students”) delivers 40 backpacks filled with food to Hands on Hartford for distribution to students in Hartford who receive free or reduced price lunch. The purpose of the backpacks is to fill the gap for kids who may not have these consistent meals over the weekends.

This week, we caught up with Project PACKS leaders Alison Cofranceso ‘20 and Hadley Santana Queiroz ‘20 to hear about their work organizing the campus to contribute to Project PACKS. Alison and Hadley both agreed that being a contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford has helped them feel connected in the Hartford community — in fact, they said Trinity is the largest outside contributor to the Backpack program.

“There’s something really tangible about packing 40 backpacks full of food that are going directly to kids in Hartford. We’re the largest outside contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program, and I think it’s really important not only to be giving back to the community that we’re in, but giving back in a way where we’re relied upon.” – Hadley Santana Quieroz ’20

As Project PACKS leaders, Hadley and Alison have been able to engage many other groups on campus like the Chapel Singers, the CLEO fraternity, and other Greek Organizations. Every Spring, they help to organize a fundraiser called the Chapel Formal where donations are collected and each organization is asked to sponsor a week’s worth of food.

Hadley Santana Quieroz ’20, Bianca Almanzar (Hands on Hartford), and Alison Cofrancesco ’20.

“I’ve had Project PACKs and other jobs and projects that have had me taking the bus and walking around Hartford since my first semester. I love the city more than I expected I would, and since I’m from a college town myself I think those connections are so important. – Alison Cofrancesco ’20

Due to their hard work organizing others on campus, they’re at a fantastic level of volunteers this semester, and they’ve even had campus organizations reach out to them to come back and volunteer their time packing backpacks. Soon they’ll be working on passing leadership to the next class before they graduate. 

Thank you to community partner Bianca Almanzar at Hands on Hartford! To get involved in Project PACKS on campus, contact Alison and Hadley, and to learn more about donating items directly to the Hands on Hartford Backpack Nutrition Program, visit the Hands on Hartford website.

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Urban Ed

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, students, families, and educators at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. Joining HMTCA families were students from Trinity College’s La Voz Latina and Compass Youth Collaborative, which helped organized the event.

With nearly half of HMTCA students identifying as Latinx/Hispanic, the celebration offered a variety of activities to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. A major highlight of show was a dance performance by HMTCA students (pictured to right). Directed by Ms. Carmen Rivera, the group of young ladies danced a Dominican merengue and a classic Puerto Rican plena entitled, “Cortaron a Elena.”

 

Reflecting on the performance, Ms. Rivera stated, “For me it was a great opportunity to teach this group, because even though they are Hispanics (most of them), they didn’t have a chance to do this before.  They were so excited to dance in front of the crowd…I am very proud of them.” Also, Ms. Rivera hopes that the students will get other chances to perform.

In addition to the dance performance, students read poems, a parent shared a brief salsa dance lesson, and organizers shared a variety of Puerto Rican and Peruvian dishes.

Adding to the celebration, Trinity College students from the group La Voz Latina offered a “papel picado” demonstration, which is a form of Mexican folk art that uses tissue paper and repetitive designs to create wall hangings (pictured to left).

Leading the Trinity College group was the President of La Voz Latina and senior, Neve Rivera T ’20 (pictured above first on left). Neve stated that it was an honor to participate in the event and that it was important that HMTCA’s Latinx “students and staff are provided support and resources to learn about and celebrate their culture.”

Neve also shared that, “La Voz Latina’s mission is to increase the awareness of Latinx/Hispanic heritage, politics, and social issues by providing educational programming to students and residents of the greater Hartford. As a student-led Latinx organization so close to HMTCA, La Voz Latina strives to be an asset to the school by inspiring and encouraging young students to also engage in various topics of their culture. We hope to serve as a support system for HMTCA students to take pride in who they are and explore the beauty of their cultural heritage.” 

This small collaboration complemented the focus on multiculturalism and multilingualism in the renewed partnership agreement between HMTCA and Trinity College. Read about the partnership here.

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Community Service

Photo: Laura Lockwood, Trinity Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC); Jessica Weaver, YWCA Hartford; Samantha McCarthy ’21, Trinity College Green Dot Violence Prevention; and Rayna Dayton-White, Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Director University of St. Joseph’s

This week, Trinity’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) Director Laura Lockwood and Sam McCarthy ’21 joined the YWCA Hartford Region and University of St. Joseph’s Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Director Rayna Dayton-White for a panel discussion for the Week Without Violence, a global initiative that aims to raise awareness and engage action to end a broad spectrum of gender based violence. This year, the YWCA invited local colleges to participate in panel discussions — Melinda Johnson, YWCA’s Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy approached the CHER team and WGRAC and we jumped at the opportunity to connect with Hartford community partners on critical issues of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.

Panelists agreed that one of the most important pieces of their work is to create a campus and community environment that is open, educated, and resourced when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct. Laura and Sam both discussed the importance of Green Dot on Trinity’s campus, which is a bystander intervention program that works to prevent violence, specifically focusing on sexual assault, IPV, and stalking. Green Dot operates with the idea that everyone on campus is responsible for changing the culture, and it includes faculty, staff, and administrators in addition to students.

Laura Lockwood pointed out Trinity’s effort to ensure that the Sexual Assault Response Team is representative of the identities of victims and survivors who need to report on campus. She says so many times people don’t believe that violence happens in gay and lesbian communities or outside the gender binary and the typical ways people think about intimate partner violence or sexual assault.

We have photos of abusers in our head we need to get rid of, the myths. And in terms of resources on a small campus, what’s really important to remember is how incredibly hard it is to come forward with this especially if you are a member of the LGBTQI community or other marginalized group. If you’re coming forward you want to see people that look like you or identify with the same gender identity or expression, or practice the same faith as you, are first generation, or otherwise share you background. So one thing we’re doing at Trinity is creating a community of resources at Trinity where the representation is there on our Sexual Assault Resource Team. – Laura Lockwood, Trinity Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC)

Sam discussed her role in organizing Green Dot on campus. She says it started out as a small group of people who care and who speak up, and slowly start bringing others on campus into the work. She hopes to see further connections on campus and in the community to create a network of people across campuses and in the City who support victims or survivors and are committed to ending power-based violence.

I’ve heard students often say, ‘Oh, they could never. I know they’re on this team and part of this organization and they’re so nice when I see them.’ Green Dot helps you understand, especially in a small community, that the way you know someone in public is not the way everyone knows them. I think the most important thing you can say to a survivor is “I believe you.” – Sam McCarthy ’21, Trinity College Green Dot Violence Prevention Program

Rayna Dayton-White of St. Joseph’s also brought up an important point about how reporting operates in a small community. Sometimes, people who consider themselves to be a public figure or who otherwise have a highly visible presence in the campus community may not feel safe to come forward, so fostering connections between campus and community resources is critical.

What about a victim who feels like a public figure on campus? What happens when people say, “How did you let that happen? You have money. You have ways out.” I understand why a Dean or a cabinet member or a student may not want to ‘come out’ on their campus if they’ve been victimized. In Hartford there are ways to get help confidentially out in the community. – Rayna Dayton-White, Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Director University of St. Joseph’s

Thank you to community partners at YWCA Hartford and to panelists Rayna Dayton-White, Laura Lockwood, and Samantha McCarthy ’21 for participating in this panel and continuing to connect Trinity with resources in Hartford.

Special shoutout to Laura for this takeaway message: You are not alone, you’re not to blame, and there’s a way out.


To learn more about Green Dot at Trinity College and resources on campus, visit https://www.trincoll.edu/greendot. 

 

 

 

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Action Lab, CHER News

CHER will briefly present and listen to community feedback on our latest report at these public events: 

– Tuesday October 15th, 2019 at 5:30pm, Frog Hollow NRZ, 70 Vernon St
– Friday October 25, 2019 at 12:00 pm in McCook 201 conference room, Trinity College
– Tuesday Nov 12th at 6pm, Southwest/Behind the Rocks NRZ, Free Center, 460 New Britain Ave
– Thursday Nov 14th at 6pm, Maple Ave NRZ, St. Augustine Church, 10 Campfield Ave

Download a PDF of the full report.


Report for the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) Trinity College

About contributors to this report: Megan Brown is the lead author of this report, and primarily responsible for the content of this analysis. Mabel Silva provided analysis assistance and conducted interviews with residents. Luis Rivera provided translation services and interview training. Erica Crowley provided interview training and managed the day-to-day canvas operations. Karen Navarette, Tyesha Rodriguez, Yadira Rivera, Janet Rice, Shakira Acevedo, Kristian Cruz, Jonathan Cruz, Luci Lebron, and Eli Hernandez conducted interviews with residents. Jack Dougherty contributed research planning and coordination, and edited the final draft with Erica Crowley.

Funding for this report was generously provided by the Trinity College Office of the President and Community Relations, the Dean of Faculty, the Faculty Research Committee, the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research, the Office of Community Learning, Trinfo Cafe, and the Liberal Arts Action Lab. The findings are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funders.

Executive Summary

In the summer of 2019, Trinity College undertook a door-to-door canvas survey of residents in the 15 square blocks around the campus. The purpose of this survey was to listen to and learn from the neighbors who live near the Trinity campus. Teams of student and community interviewers spoke with 114 neighborhood residents about their perceptions of their neighborhood, their knowledge and perception of Trinity College and its community-facing programming, and their direct experiences with the campus.

Key findings from the survey:

1) Familiarity with Trinity’s community-facing programs is relatively high throughout the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the campus.A majority of residents surveyed were aware of Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, Trinfo Cafe, and the Koeppel Center. A smaller portion had made use of the services or visited the buildings.

2) Neighborhood residents associated Trinity College with quality, but also privilege.Many residents perceived Trinity to be a high-quality school, with 28% of respondents mentioning the college’s perceived quality. However, nearly 20% also associated the college with wealth and privilege, indicating that the college was, as several put it, “for rich kids,” and suggesting that it was not for the residents.

3) Residents perceived the campus as comfortable, but not welcoming. On one hand, a substantial majority (78%) of residents interviewed reported feeling somewhat or very comfortable on Trinity’s campus. On the other hand, less than half of the people we surveyed had actually visited campus, despite living within a few blocks. When asked open-ended questions about their engagement with the college, many community residents described a campus environment that was not welcoming to them.

4) Many residents reported overall positive feelings about their neighborhood, while some discussed problems such as crime and quality of life concerns. Residents were more likely to describe the neighborhood as “quiet” than any other descriptor. However, many residents in our sample were still concerned with drugs, crime, and quality of life concerns (like wild traffic).

5) Neighborhood residents report limited access to technology, high-quality internet, and free tax preparation services. We asked residents about their access to technology and tax preparation services because Trinity College supports programs specifically aimed at these issues. Although access to technology has increased since 2001, 40% of residents in our sample reported having only a smartphone in their home, and another 18% use only cellular service for internet connection. In addition, 38% of residents we talked to paid a professional for tax preparation services, rather than using free services.

Perceptions of Trinity College and Knowledge of Programs

We asked interviewees a series of questions about their familiarity with various Trinity programs to gauge both their knowledge of the programs, previous experience with the programs, and overall perceptions of Trinity College. To encourage detailed qualitative recollections and opinions about places and programs, we prompted these conversations using pictures of the place or program in question. We showed interviewees pictures of the six buildings below, without captions. While showing the picture, we asked interviewees first if they were familiar with the place or program. Then, to gauge the level of their familiarity, we asked what they knew about the program. Finally, we asked if they had been inside the space or attended the event.

Note: Interviewees were shown full-size images, without captions, to gauge their familiarity. Top row: Trinfo Cafe, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), Trinity Library. Bottom row: Cinestudio, Koeppel Community Center (ice rink), the Long Walk.

We also showed three images of Trinity events that are designed with the community in mind.

Note: Interviewees were shown full-size images, without captions, to gauge their familiarity.Left to right: Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, Samba Fest, Halloween on Vernon Street.

Perceptions of the campus as comfortable, but not welcoming

One person who reported feeling very comfortable on campus made a distinction between feeling comfortable and feeling welcome: after saying she felt “very comfortable” on campus, she said, “but we don’t feel welcome because the students don’t greet the community.” Yet another person, although they felt very comfortable on campus, said, “I feel like I’m infiltrating.” These moments of disconnection – whether because of the campus gates, the sense that students aren’t engaging with community members, or the chance of being targeted by public safety officers, increase the perception that Trinity is for some people and not others.

Perceptions of the campus as a quality school, but privileged

Residents commonly describe Trinity as a “good” college. One person, for example, said that “Es el mejor colegio que hay aquí [It’s the best college here].” Other people said that it was “one of the best around,” and “I’ve heard of it as a really good college, in the same conversation as Yale and Harvard.” But a significant portion expressed a sense that the college was removed from the community and not accessible to residents. Of our sample, 22 people (19%) associated Trinity with wealth, whiteness, or the impression that the institution was not accessible.  One person said “it’s where rich White kids go.” Another person said “it’s private – it has nothing for us.” These opinions highlighted the perceived wealth of the student body and the fact that the school itself was expensive, drawing a barrier between the college and the community.

Recommendations

By conducting this door-to-door survey, Trinity’s goal is to be a better neighbor, to match our available resources with community needs when feasible, and to find ways to expand educational partnerships. Based on these responses, and remembering that the biggest hesitation going into this project was whether it would lead to real changes, we have outlined some recommendations for the Trinity College community (administrators, faculty, staff, students) and our Hartford community partners.

1) Trinity should conduct proactive communications with neighborhood residents, in both print and social media, in both English and Spanish.Many people we spoke with were excited to hear about the programs we discussed, and were disappointed that they had not heard more about them. Trinity College should invest in communicating directly with our neighbors to encourage engagement with community-facing programs and on-campus activities. The importance of Spanish-language material to reach the neighborhoods surrounding the college is apparent based on our sample: 45 of 114 interviews(about 40%) were conducted in Spanish. Trinity’s existing English-only and print-only communications materials are not effectively reaching residents, as only 20% had ever seen a copy of the College’s bi-monthly English-language Broad Street Happenings newsletter. It is also clear that social media and internet-based sources of communication are important, but not sufficient measures: only 16% of people mentioned using social media regularly to get information about the neighborhood. By expanding methods of  communicating Trinity’s activitiessuch as posting flyers in local businesses, mailings, and news reports, as some residents suggested — we can maximize the chance of activating informal communication channels that are prevalent through the neighborhood.

2) Continue investing in services like Trinfo Cafe & the VITA tax clinic. Our survey suggested that familiar challenges surrounding access to technology and high-quality internet connectivity remain an issue in the neighborhood. That said, the contour of need has changed since 2001, as more people have access to internet connectivity, just not high quality services and full-service technology. Additionally, we found evidence that volunteer tax preparation services are also needed and currently underutilized. Trinity should continue investing in these programs, expand as possible, and continue to match the services with the neighborhood needs.

3) Trinity should improve the condition of its property adjacent to the neighborhoods. While several neighborhood challenges belie simple solutions, such as the drug trade and violent crime, many of the frequently-cited challenges require mostly elbow grease to fix. Trinity College should increase its investment in visible efforts to improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods by improving and maintaining its property along the edges of campus. Other contributions could include investment in physical neighborhood amenities such as bus stops.

4) Expand community-engagement partnerships with institutions that neighborhood residents trust. Trinity has several long-standing relationships with community partners, but we are also searching to expand partnerships with organizations that matter most to the community. Our discussions with community residents suggest that there are many neighborhood faith-based organizations that are visible and trusted within the community,  such as St. Augustine Church. Also, health centers and clinics, such as Hartford Hospital and the Charter Oak clinic, are well-known in the neighborhood. Expanding our community-focused partnerships with these organizations would allow for a more visible presence in the neighborhoods directly surrounding our college.

5) Work towards creating an open and welcoming campus environment.It is encouraging that many people in our survey reported feeling comfortable on campus. However, it is clear that work remains to be done. One way to make the campus more welcoming to the larger community is to  proactively invite neighborhood residents to participate in campus events. Campus events designed with Hartford residents in mind, such as Halloween on Vernon, the Samba Fest, and the International Hip Hop Festival, for example, were very positively received by the neighborhood residents who knew about them. We should use and publicize these existing events to create a more welcoming campus environment. Moreover, existing campus space could be improved by including welcoming signage and other indications that areas on campus are available for community residents.

What if Trinity Made Welcome Signs?

Broad Street/Vernon Street Entrance

Rather Library Entrance

Click here to download a PDF of the full report.

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Community Service

Recruitment and our Zero Waste Campaign – Although classes just started, we’ve been busy recruiting and training more students to join our campaigns here on campus. In the first few weeks, we reached over 700 students in classes and tabling events, engaging 26 volunteers and 7 student leaders. We’ve been talking about our ongoing campaign to move our communities beyond plastics so we can start to reverse the worst impacts of plastic pollution for us and future generations.

Trinity ConnPIRG students with CT Secretary of State Denise Merrill

National Voter Registration Day – Although the presidential election is still 13 months away, we know it’s important for students to be active citizens all the time. That’s why we prioritized running on-campus events to help start the conversation about voting early on. Thank you again for your support in spreading the word for our event. This event engaged students, faculty and administrators to participate in registering students to vote. We even had the Secretary of State, Denise Merrill stop by to talk with students about the importance of voting! After a historic midterm turnout in 2018 , we’re excited to report that students do seem more engaged and interested in voting – but we’ve got a lot more work to do to make sure that every eligible voter has the tools they need to participate. Below you can see a full recap of the work we did on campuses all across the country! In the meantime, we will continue to hold similar events where we hope to register over 150 students over the course of the next semesters and work to implement a voter institutionalization policy at Trinity.

Trinity ConnPIRG students register others to vote on campus, visit with Senator Mae Flexer

Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas and we look forward to meeting with you sometime soon!

Caroline Munn, caroline.munn@trincoll.edu, Trinity CONNPIRG Chapter Chair.

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Action Lab

It’s week 4 of the Liberal Arts Action Lab Fall semester, which means students are beginning data collection! This semester, one of the Liberal Arts Action Lab teams is studying Absentee Landlords in Hartford in partnership with community partners at Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA). SINA is a community development nonprofit that considers various real estate acquisition strategies, and they asked for an analysis of 2-4 unit homes in the area– the key question is: is this unit owner-occupied? What part of the neighborhood stock is owned by absentee landlords?

Action Lab Director Megan Brown and the Absentee Landlords Project Team

To get started on their research, Capital Community College students Michael Serrano and Lena Wright decided to try a few observations on Allen Place with their faculty fellow Emily Yen (Trinity College) and Action Lab Director Megan Brown. All the teams are considering questions this week such as, “How should I collect data so that I can be sure I can analyze it later?” and, “What are the benefits and costs of different qualitative data collection strategies?” This team started by choosing a random sample of multi-family homes in the area and walking along to each unit to take notes on what clued them into whether the homes were owner-occupied or not. After taking notes individually on a few units, they came together as a group to share what they wrote down and begin deciding on a team note taking strategy that everyone will understand.

Urban Studies Trinity Faculty Fellow Emily Yen and Capital Community College Students Lena Wright and Michael Serrano

Faculty Fellow Emily Yen suggested using a 1-5 scale to indicate whether a team member could tell strongly one way or the other if a unit is owner-occupied. Lena Wright suggested to write down the number of mailboxes on the outside of a building and how many units there were, and Michael Serrano suggested looking for the number of mailboxes on the outside of the home and ringing the doorbell to see if anyone could answer in person. Both Michael and Lena had a few opportunities to talk directly with residents to find a clearer answer on whether units were owner-occupied or not.

This team is off to a great start! Stay tuned for more to come…


The Liberal Arts Action Lab is a partnership between Trinity College and Capital Community College where Hartford community partners define problems facing the city and collaborate with teams of students and faculty to research and publicly share possible solutions. To learn more, visit http://action-lab.org or contact Action Lab Director Megan.Brown@trincoll.edu Student and faculty applications for Spring 2020 teams are due October 31st and possible projects will be announced this week. 

 

 

 

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Community Learning

#ICYMI last week Trinity College Public Humanities Collaborative students presented at the Summer Research Symposium! Scroll through the photos below for details on the projects they worked on this summer (and upcoming events). Thank you to Director of Community Learning and PHC Coordinator Megan Faver Hartline for making this all possible 👏


 

 

 

 

  • Sophia Lopez ’22 presented on working with Professor Alexander Manevitz on data visualization of social networks in Seneca Village — a free black community that was destroyed to build Central Park — and on creating a digital tour of urban renewal in Willimantic with Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center. (Not pictured, team member Kaytlin Ernske ’20). Read more about their project in our blog post “Forgotten Pieces of Seneca Village” https://cher.trincoll.edu/phcsenecavillage/

Congratulations to all the teams and presenters! If you’re interested in learning more about Community Learning at Trinity College or the Public Humanities Collaborative, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/community-learning. 

 

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Community Learning

The Center for Hartford Engagement & Research is proud to announce the 2019 Community Learning Research Fellows! This is a competitive program that allows selected students with previous community engagement experience to challenge their learning and perspective by taking on a research or creative project. Fellows will spend their semester collaborating with faculty advisors and Hartford partners to design and execute their research projects. 

Community Consultant James Jeter and Professor Laura Holt

Fellows have access to a number of resources and great minds in the Trinity community– they’ll attend meetings with their faculty advisors and community partners, prepare questions and request feedback on their research design from various faculty and staff during monthly colloquium meetings, and attend weekly fellows seminars to learn about research design and methods with instructor Laura Holt and TA Samantha McCarthy and Community Consultant James Jeter. 

Each week the fellows are exploring a series of topics: identifying a question and designing a research project, communicating a research plan, developing good interview skills and techniques, analyzing and visualizing data, designing visual presentations and posters, and managing expectations and addressing challenges in collaborative projects. Instructor Laura Holt has a syllabus full of helpful resources, presentations from subject area experts in the Trinity community such as Instructional Technologist Dave Tatem and Liberal Arts Action Lab Director Megan Brown, as well as a number of useful public resources such as the Community Toolbox.

The Fall 2019 Community Learning Research Fellows are:

Emily Schroeder ‘20 – Parents Enrolled in College

Community Partner: CT Office of Early Childhood (CECA)

Faculty advisor: Jack Dougherty

  • CT Office of Early Childhood asked, “How do parents with young children attempt to balance their personal educational and career goals with their child care needs, and are there differences between parents currently enrolled in community college versus those who also desire to enroll but have not yet done so?” Currently, CT is one of only two states that does not allow parents in educational opportunities (higher ed, ESL, job training, adult education) to continue qualifying for childcare subsidies. Emily will conduct qualitative interviews with parents enrolled in community college and parents not enrolled, which will be made available on the web. This research and public presentation will play an important role in CECA’s lobbying efforts.

Isabelle Alexandre ‘20 – Maternal Mortality in Connecticut

Community Partner: YWCA Hartford

Faculty advisor: Dina Anselmi

  • YWCA of Hartford asks for research that compares maternal care and postpartum care for Medicaid and private insurance companies, with a particular focus on how this affects black women in Connecticut and the role of insurance coverage for doula care and midwife care. Isabelle will research the history of Medicaid in Connecticut and the prevalence of maternal mortality in Connecticut. Additionally, there will be the opportunity to conduct focus groups and interviews about people’s experiences throughout and after their pregnancies. This research will help the YWCA advocate for insurance coverage for doulas in Connecticut.

Alejandra Zaldivar ‘20 – Bilingual Education Programs in Hartford

Community Partner: City of Hartford Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez

Faculty advisor: Aidalí Aponté-Aviles

  • City of Hartford Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez asked for help to “Compare and contrast the bilingual education programs set up in place and their outcomes in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and today, focusing on the Spanish speaking population of Connecticut. Alejandra will conduct a literature review on the topic, draft a survey for relevant populations, and conduct several interviews with former teachers, students, and other people who started the bilingual education program in Hartford. This retrospective research will help the Councilwoman to reactivate bilingual education programs in Hartford. 

Jackie Monzon ‘20 and Brenda Ordonez ‘22 – Improving ESOL Programs

Community Partner: Jubilee House

Faculty advisor: Stefanie Wong

  • The Jubilee House asked, “How can we ensure students at the Jubilee House are getting the best quality education and resources? How can we improve our intake practice to understand needs, goals, and motivations? Specifically, how do a parent’s studies impact their children? What practices and supports could be added into the Jubilee Program to promote family literacy?” Jackie and Brenda will research intake processes at similar organizations and conduct qualitative interviews in-person with Jubilee House students. Their research in these areas will help improve the quality of the ESOL program.

Olivia Zeiner-Morrish ‘22 and Richard Perry ‘22 – Gun Violence Prevention

Community Partner: CT Against Gun Violence and Hartford Communities that Care

Faculty advisor: Sarah Raskin

  • CT Against Gun Violence and Hartford Communities that Care asked, “What are the origins or the firearms uses in Connecticut homicides?” Currently, there is no comprehensive public database that documents the firearms that are used, but this information is critical in order to understand the the flow of illicit firearms in and out of Connecticut and subsequently advocate for legislation to stem the inflow. Olivia and Richard will first work with local police departments to catalog gun homicides that have occurred across Connecticut in 2019, then they will examine gun violence legislation in neighboring states.

William Tjeltveit ‘20 – National Park Usage

Community Partner: National Park Service

Faculty advisor: Daniel Douglas

  • The National Park Service and City of Hartford asked, “How can we best estimate and model park usage for Coltsville National Historical Park/Colt Park? What are the various strategies that have been employed elsewhere and how can they best be used and adapted here?” Will will synthesize past data of  formal and informal park usage, research other areas’ and parks’ best practices for measuring and estimating usage, and help the City estimate visitation for Colt Park and shifts expected as it becomes part of a larger National Historical Park.

Eleanor Faraguna ‘21 – Advocating for Comprehensive Sexual Health Education

Community Partner: NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut

JackFaculty advisors: Erica Crowley and Jack Dougherty

  • NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut asked for a report on K-12 sexual health education campaigns in other states that have successfuly passed statewide legislation. Eleanor will create a report that will include best-practices organizing/advocacy models and resources, case studies on successful campaigns, and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in case study sites and Connecticut to guide the Connecticut Healthy Youth Coalition as they build capacity.

Renita Washington ‘22 and Manny Rodriguez ‘20 – Factors Affecting Infant-PreK Child Care

Community Partner: Trinity College Community Child Care Center (TC4)

Faculty advisor: Jack Dougherty

  • TC4 asked, “What types of families (by geography, SES, Trinity or community membership, other demographic factors) has TC4 served/subsidized with scholarships over time? What factors do families, especially higher income families, look for when deciding on a child care center for their children?” Renita will examine existing data about families served at TC4 and conduct interviews with parents.
  • TC4 also asked, “How have state funding policy changes, such as the growth of pre-K magnet schools, affected the Trinity College Child Care Center and similar institutions?” Manny will archive information from the CT Legislature and other sources to understand changes to state funding policies related to childcare since 2003, and he will also conduct qualitative interviews with parents who have children in child care.

Congratulations to the Fall 2019 Research Fellows on a strong start to the semester. We are looking forward to working with you and seeing the results of your projects later this Fall.


To learn more about the Community Learning Research Fellows Program, visit http://cher.trincoll.edu/fellows or contact Laura.Holt@trincoll.edu.

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Community Learning

Community Action Gateway students are starting the semester by jumping into partner projects with five Hartford organizations: Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Night Fall, Make the Road CT, Public Allies CT, and the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. Partners from each of these organizations came to Trinity’s campus on Thursday, Sept. 19th to meet with students and talk about the projects they are starting together–60 second videos highlighting key aspects of each organization. 

Over the next six weeks, students will interview members of their organization, film special events, and research what their organization does in order to create a video that will help the organization reach its goals. Following their filming and research, they will participate in video workshops and several peer feedback sessions. Once the videos are complete, students and partners will come back together in November for a celebration dinner to showcase the videos and talk about ways to connect organizations in Harford with students at Trinity. 

In addition to direct experience creating products for community partners, students also get the opportunity to learn more about community change work happening in Hartford from multiple perspectives. Professor Stefanie Wong says that the overall goal is for students to learn to “put their social justice beliefs in action by building connections between Trinity and Hartford. These kinds of projects help them see how they can continue this kind of work for the rest of their time at Trinity and wherever they end up next.” 

Shanee Ransom and Lindsay Tengatenga ’08 of Public Allies CT talk with Marshall Montner ’23, Leah Winters ’23, and Caroline Killian ’23
Jennifer Crookes Carpenter of Night Fall, Micaela Rufus ’23, Addison Cox ’23, and Catherine Doyle ’23 make plans for their partnership.
Denise Rhone ’10, Maddie Granato, Allie Rau ’23, Reagan Flynn ’23, Meg Dubois, and Camm Mattison ’23 are partnering on a video for CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund.
Riley Nichols ’23, Kenyatta Thompson of the Katal Center, Tiana Sharpe ’23, and Makayla Boucher ’23 make plans for their video.
Leida Ramos, Norma Martinez-Hosang, Silveria Hernandez, Imelda Diaz, Rosario Tepoz and her daughter Belen of Make the Road CT are working with Josh Jacoves ’23, Leslie Macedo ’23, and Citlalli Rojas Huerta ’23 to create a video for their current campaign.

This is the third year that Community Action Gateway students have created videos for community partners. Check out videos from 2018 and 2017

If you are interested in learning more about how to apply for the Community Action Gateway for 2020-21 or in partnering with Gateway (or other Trinity) students, contact Director Megan Faver Hartline

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Community Learning

Please join the Community Learning program in celebrating the Trinity College faculty who will be part of the 2019-20 Community Learning Faculty Fellows program! This program was created to support faculty in developing teaching connections with Hartford community partners. These faculty will meet six times throughout the year to discuss best practices for partnering with community organizations, hear from experienced community learning instructors, and workshop plans for their courses. Each fellow also receives a $1,500 stipend and funds for their community partner. 

This year’s faculty and courses include:

Leah Cassorla, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
RHET 125: Writing for a Digital World, Fall 2019
This course is designed to help students think critically about the role of the visual in written communication today, and students will partner with Hartford organizations to help them create print and digital communications to reach multiple audiences. 

Elise Castillo, Ann Plato Fellow in Educational Studies and Public Policy and Law
PBPL/EDUC: Privatization and Public Policy: Who Gains and Who Loses?, Fall 2020
The course takes a critical policy analytic approach to the study of privatization, and students will work with Connecticut state policymakers and civil rights organizations to deepen their understandings of how privatization affects communities throughout Hartford and Connecticut.

Rachel Moskowitz, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Law
PBPL 354: Politics of Education Policy, Fall 2020
Students will learn about how politics shape the development of education policy-making at all levels of government in the United States, including through a community partnership project in Hartford that focuses on the specifics of local policy issues. 

Ibrahim Shikaki, Assistant Professor of Economics
ECON 224: Macroeconomics and Inequality, Spring 2020
Students will use their growing understanding of macroeconomics to study inequality in Harford: dissecting the causes of income inequality, the relations between personal and functional distribution of income, and the political and social impacts of high-income inequality. 

Lynn Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts
STAR 240: Sculpture and Ideas, Spring 2020
As students examine public sculpture within Hartford, they will critically consider the complex social and governmental mechanisms that influence the production of art in public spaces, and they will collaborate with institutional partners to follow a project in development.

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

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News

For the past 21 years, Trinity College’s Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement has hosted “Do-It Day,” a full day of service on a Saturday early in September. Hundreds of student athletes and members of student service groups go out to local organizations to complete projects in parks, arts organizations, non-profits, and more. The purpose of Do-It Day is to strengthen relationships between Trinity and Hartford area organizations. This year, Trinity hosted its first Employee Do-It Day to coincide with the annual Do-It Day. Trinity employees were invited to volunteer alongside their colleagues at Camp Courant, a free summer day camp for children in the Hartford area. In total, 33 Trinity employees spent a warm and sunny morning getting moving– Camp Courant had a number of outdoor beautification projects lined up to help prepare for their annual Buddy Bash fundraiser.

One of the organizers of the event was Andrew Concatelli (pictured right), a member of the planning committee representing the Exempt Staff Council. Andrew said,

“It was great to see faculty, staff, and administrators from all corners of campus working together to help Camp Courant prepare for its Buddy Bash fundraising event the following weekend. Employeevolunteers had the chance to get to know each other better while supporting a good cause and enjoying a beautiful day at the camp.” – Andrew Concatelli, Exempt Staff Council 

The participants included a range of faculty, staff, and administrators, including our own Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney. We also spotted more than a few familiar faces from the CHER team and advisory board: Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement Beatrice Alicea, Trinfo.Café Director Carlos Espinosa, CHER Advisory Board and faculty member Aidali Aponte-Aviles, Liberal Arts Action Lab’s Morgan Finn, and others.

“Beautiful scenery, a great cause, and awesome people—we couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural Employee Do-It Day! This event gave us the opportunity to connect with one another and finally put a “face to an email,”all while supporting the amazing work that the team at Camp Courant’s doing. I will definitely be attending next year, and hope to see more folks from the Trinity community there, too. Shout out to Carlos Espinosa and Andrew Concatelli for all of their work in organizing this!” – Morgan Finn, Liberal Arts Action Lab

 

Photo by Jo-Ann Jee

Overall, September 7th marked a full day of Trinity students, faculty, staff, and administrators getting out in the Hartford area to volunteer thanks to the planning committee: Carlos Espinosa, Joe Barber, Andrew Concatelli, Alexandra Fischbein, and Janine Kinel. Thank you to the Non-Exempt Staff Council (NESC), the Exempt Staff Council (ESC), the Office of the Dean of Faculty, the Office of the President, and Human Resources for organizing this event.

 

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Community Service

Trinity College held it’s 21st annual Do-It Day this past Saturday, September 7th, The purpose of Do-It Day is to strengthen the working relationships between Trinity College and local organizations. Hundreds of student athletes and some student service groups assist these local organizations with projects they identify. Throughout the day, Trinity had over 350 students placed with 18 different organizations that ran the gamut of arts and housing organizations to public parks and churches.

Women’s softball team cleans up at Bushnell Park

At Bushnell Park in downtown Hartford, the Trinity College softball team weeded gardens and cleaned up the grounds. For several first-year students on the team, Do-It Day also served as their introduction to Hartford.

“This is a lively, diverse community,” said Alyssa Gazivoda ’23, reflecting on her first experience in Hartford. “We were working in the park, and people stopped to encourage us.”

Older students also noted the benefits for the team as a whole. Gillian Birk ’21, a junior who participated in her third Do-It Day since arriving at Trinity, described how it also served as “the first activity for the team this year” because softball is a spring sport. “It’s a bonding experience” that brings members together.