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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.



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.


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.


“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


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

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



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



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.


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:  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:

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:

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)

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


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.


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.


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 





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,, Trinity CONNPIRG Chapter Chair.


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.

The Men’s Swimming team was working in full force when we caught up with them at Journey Home where they were loading furniture into the moving vans for families transitioning out of homelessness. Over the weekend, Journey Home completed 7 deliveries to clients in Hartford.

Men’s Basketball at Colt Park

At Colt Park on the east side of Hartford, the Trinity Men’s Basketball team also cleaned up the grounds and spread mulch. This was the fourth Do-It Day for Christian Porydzy ’20, a Trinity senior, who recalled how he first explored Hartford’s extensive park system on bike with the Cycling and Sustainability First-Year Seminar. Jadakis Brooks ’20, who was also a member of the same first-year seminar, explained how Do-It Day “makes you feel good by giving something back to Hartford, especially a park where people are bringing their kids to play.”

Grace Episcopal Church and the Place of Grace Food Pantry is where we found one of our student groups, the JELLO Community Service Organization. Peyton Orloff ’22, Amodini Katoch ’22 and others were helping to sand and prime the outside deck and deep clean the floors inside the church.

Community partner Kathie Rovetti said they have a cleaning service that helps, but the students do a really thorough job because they’re here for one day and they want to make sure it’s comfortable for people who come in to use the food pantry. Some of the students also volunteer each week to help pass out food in the Place of Grace Food Pantry.

At Cedar Hill Cemetery in the South End, the Trinity Women’s Basketball team helped the Foundation to organize their 12th Annual Mystery Scavenger Hunt. Participants visited different sites, staffed by Trinity students, to obtain creative clues that direct  them to historical locations around the cemetery.

Women’s Basketball at Cedar Hill Cemetery

“We could not put on this event without Trinity College students,” said Chrissy Lewin, a Cedar Hill volunteer for the past fifteen years.

Overall, the 21st Annual Do-It Day was another huge success, thanks to community partners, Trinity Athletics and student groups, and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. The Office has been receiving emails with positive feedback on the work the students did over the weekend, and we were happy to see Trinity students out in Hartford and exploring our beautiful City of Hartford.




Community Service
CONNPIRG is a student-funded and student-run non-profit, with a 45 year track record of winning on important issues like protecting the environment, turning out the youth vote, and making college more affordable. We believe that students have the power to make real change before they graduate – because they have. Here in Connecticut, students have helped to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastics bags!
Despite that huge success, our work isn’t finished. We’re now tackling one of the worst forms of single-use plastics – polystyrene (also known as styrofoam). We’ll be making sure our state legislators see the public support for moving our communities beyond plastic, through grassroots action and advocacy. The best way to get involved in this effort is to apply for an on-campus internship with CONNPIRG students! It’s a great way to gain some valuable campaign experience, and meet people who share your vision for a better future. Apply here!

Community Service

Alicia Camuy ’22 and Peyton Orloff ’22 have had quite the busy summer. They’ve both finished their first year as Neuroscience majors at Trinity and this summer has been full of a lot of hard work too– they’re in the Summer Research Program on campus and have been attending workshops, events, and service opportunities both on campus and in the community.

This week, we visited Peyton and Alicia at the Place of Grace Food Pantry at Grace Episcopal Church on New Park Avenue where they volunteer their time every Thursday. Place of Grace provides grocery items every week to parts of Parkville, the West End, and Frog Hollow and they’ve held a partnership with Trinity College’s Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement for about 8 years. Students spend time during the semester volunteering at the food pantry and taking on larger projects like cleaning, sanding, and painting during the JELLO Week of Service in January or Do-It Day at the start of the Fall semester.

Peyton said she did a lot of volunteering in high school and wanted to continue that while at Trinity. She met Maddie Farrar’ 19 and the JELLO Community Service Organization at the Fall Involvement Fair, and has been involved at Place of Grace ever since. In addition to the Summer Research Program and volunteering at Place of Grace, she also spends 10 hours a week volunteering at Hartford Hospital. So, we think the “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” t-shirt she’s wearing might not be entirely accurate…

During the semester on Wednesdays the students come and join other volunteers (for a good workout) where they move all the food upstairs to prepare it for distribution. They said Thursdays is the day where they get to talk with people and meet people from all different walks of life. Alicia said it’s fun to interact with different personalities, regulars, and newcomers. It makes her grateful for what she has and also reminds her that it’s the little things in life, seeing different perspectives, and getting out and meeting new people that really bring happiness.

“For me it’s deeper than volunteering. I’ve always been a person who’s involved in the community and I never want to be a person who feels above everyone else. I really enjoy getting off campus in my free time for volunteering but even just to get out. I love going to Park Street and going to Aqui Me Quedo which is so delicious. I’m not afraid to take the buses and I’m trying to get my friends and other students to get off campus because it’s so easy to be trapped in that bubble. But we have so many resources to give the community and the community has so many resources and experiences to give us and I think that Peyton and I realize that which is a reason why we come volunteer. Also, they needed a translator and I speak Spanish.” – Alicia Camuy ’22

Place of Grace Director Kathie Rovetti, Peyton Orloff ’22, and Alicia Camuy ’22

Place of Grace was founded in the mid-90s and Director Kathie Rovetti (pictured above) has been involved for 13 years. She says they provide food to about 130-160 families a week as well as things like school supplies in August, gifts around the holidays, and toys for kids’ birthdays. Josie, who has volunteered at Place of Grace for 10 years, says they have really built a sense of community that lends itself to fellowship and building deeper community partnerships that focus on taking care of people.

Thank you to our community partners at Place of Grace– they’ve been providing this service since the mid 1990s and we look forward to continuing this partnership.


Community Service

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

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

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

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

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


Community Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Community Service

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

Their project consisted of three parts:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Community Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Community Service

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

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

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


Community Service

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

Hartford Hot Several Brass Band performs

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



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

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

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

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

You can also contact Trinity’s Sustainability Coordinator for more information.



Community Service

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

Apply online at In your cover letter, connect your goals and experience to the mission of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, which is part of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research ( Review of applications will begin Friday May 24th 2019. See text of job posting below.


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

Duties and Responsibilities:

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

Minimum and Desirable Qualifications:

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

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


Community Service

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

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

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

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

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

To get involved with YDSA, contact or

And, in case you missed it, check out our blog post from November’s Common Hour with the CT Bail Fund:


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

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

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

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

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

Click here learn more about the Community Action Gateway.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Names and contact information for Trinity and HMTCA faculty and/or staff collaborators
  • Specific time period of the academic collaboration (such as a date, month, or semester in 2018-19)
  • Course titles and student enrollments (or if the collaboration is not classroom-based, carefully describe the participants and setting)
  • Description of academic collaboration, including goals, methods, anticipated challenges, and strategies to overcome them
  • Description of documentation and/or sharing of accomplishments
  • Benefits: How does this project benefit both Trinity and HMTCA students? Also, does it include multicultural and/or multilingual benefits for students? How does this project enrich the curriculum?
  • Budget: We welcome proposals with specific budgets, using any of these categories:
    1) Planning (provide detail)
    2) Materials (art supplies, lab materials, books not otherwise covered by existing institutional budgets)
    3) Documentation (for example, costs to document the presentation of a collaborative project)
    4) Additional compensation (with approval by direct supervisor, up to $750 may be used for faculty or staff additional compensation)

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Nat Bush ’19 is the co-president of the Green Campus Club at Trinity College, part of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement. We asked Nat to be a guest blogger and write about their experience attending the Students for Zero Waste Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Check out Nat’s guest blog below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Culinary Careers Project

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

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

Community Partner: Cary Wheaton, Billings Forge Community Works

Faculty Fellow: India Weaver, Capital Community College

Student Success Project

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

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

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

Faculty Fellow: Cleo Rolle, Capital Community College

Latinx Theater Project

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

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

Community Partner: Rachel Alderman and Theresa MacNaughton, Hartford Stage

Faculty Fellow: Diana Aldrete, Trinity College

Riverside Recapture Project

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

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

Community Partner: Martha Conneely, Riverfront Recapture

Faculty Fellow: Stefanie Chambers, Trinity College

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

[Photo by Nick Caito, Trinity College]


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Benefits to Partners:

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

1) Create a List

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

– Name of your organization:

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

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

– Did students provide hours of service?

– Did students provide information or research products?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are some of your favorite memories at Trinity?

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

What else should people know about you?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Photo by Nick Caito.

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

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

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

Professor Falks prepared the following descriptions of the cases:


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Megan Faver Hartline is the Associate Director of the Office of Community Learning

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

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

Tell us about your work at Trinity.

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

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

What are your interests and passions?

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

What are some of your favorite memories?

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

What else should people know about you?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What else should people know about you?
I’m a big women’s soccer fan, and am saving up for a trip to watch the World Cup in France next summer.

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

CLIC 299: Art and Community with Professor Clare Rossini

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

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

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

HISP 280: Hispanic Hartford with Professor Aidali Aponte-Aviles

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

Fulfills GLB2, Requires HISP 221 or 224

RHET 320: Queer Rhetorics with Professor Nick Marino

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

Fulfills HUM

URST 321: Geographies of Transport with Professor Julie Gamble

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

Fulfills SOC, Requires URST 101

ENVS 310: Environmental Geophysics with Professor El Hachemi Bouali

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

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

EDUC 200: Analyzing Schools with Professor Stefanie Wong

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

Fulfills SOC

ENVS 230: Environmental Chemistry with Professor Arianne Bazilio

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

Fulfills NAT, Requires Chemistry 111L and 112L

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

What are your interests and passions?

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

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

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


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

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

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

What are your interests and passions?

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Logistical Documents

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

Download (PDF, 286KB)

Download (PDF, 27KB)

Writing Assignments

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

Download (PDF, 72KB)

Download (PDF, 61KB)

Download (PDF, 79KB)

Download (PDF, 56KB)

Assessment Opportunities for Community Partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download (PDF, 32KB)

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

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


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

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

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

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

To learn more, visit


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

For questions or help with preparing your proposal, visit or contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown.

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

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

Welcoming HMTCA students to the Trinity Campus

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

Community Learning:
Professor Seth Markle and Hartford Hip Hop Pioneers

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

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

The CHER Advisory Board seeks nominations (including self-nominations) for Hartford resident members. Read more at and contact us by Friday September 21st.

Questions? Suggestions? Contact us at CHER.

Jack Dougherty, CHER Director

Erica Crowley, CHER Communications & Data Assistant

Joe Barber, Community Service and Civic Engagement

Megan Brown, Liberal Arts Action Lab

Robert Cotto Jr., Urban Educational Initiatives

Carlos Espinosa, Trinfo.Café

Megan Faver Hartline, Community Learning


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

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

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

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

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