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CCE Mini Grant Reflection by Brenna Christensen: National Women’s Studies Association Conference – Decoloniality

Our Community Engagement grant went towards funding travel and accommodations expenses to attend the National Women’s Studies Association Conference on Decoloniality. Decoloniality, as defined by the NWSA, is a “worldview that denaturalizes settler colonial logics and structuring violences,” but part of our mission in attending the conference was to really engage with and contemplate the meaning and application of decoloniality. The conference was organized over the course of four days, with panels of experts in the field on decoloniality topics and several presentations from keynote speakers. Examples of panels that members of feminist action at Midd attended included “Indigenous Feminist and Postcolonial Feminist Understandings of Decoloniality and the Settler,” “Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places,” “Global Fetishes and Legacies” and “Feminist Disruptions to the Neoliberal University.”

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I believe that this conference was and will continue to be extremely impactful in a variety of ways. Firstly, the girls who attended the conference were tremendously influenced by the both the ideas and the power of occupying such an exemplary feminist space. I can see that exposure to such groundbreaking and high-level concepts has already beginning to influence our way of thinking just by the conversations we had returning to Middlebury. My hope is that these ideas take are further dispersed around campus through more conversations and our planned public panel with the GSFS professors.

Additionally, being surrounded by hundreds of PHD-holding women and trans folks from across the globe was a truly inspiring and validating feeling for the group – especially in light of recent political events. In such a dark period for women and trans folks, it was rejuvenating to see so many others engaged in similar work and struggle around the world.

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Furthermore, we connected with many different attendees, from peers to professors, with whom we are hoping to organize and continue sustained relationships with. Through both attending the public panels and one-on-one conversations, we discovered new causes and have generated ideas for activist events we would like to stage next semester and next year. In particular, we are hoping to generate an “access map” which would capture different levels of accessibility across campus. We also are hoping to bring one of presenters to campus to talk about the prison industrial complex next semester.

All and all the conference was an incredible educational opportunity, and we are extremely grateful for our community engagement grant!

Habitat for Humanity Break Trips

Don’t have plans for February Break or Spring Break yet? Want to make a difference while meeting some cool MiddKids?  This is the trip for YOU!

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This year, Habitat for Humanity has planned two week-long service trips during our February Break and Spring Break. We will be traveling to Pungoteague, Virginia in February and York Pennsylvania in March, where we have established long-term relationships with those chapters.

Important Dates: 

February Break: February 4, 2017 – February 12, 2017

Spring Break: March 25, 2017 – April 2, 2017

 

Cost: 

$120/participant. Instead of flying to these locations, we drive to these locations using college vehicles. This choice is what keeps costs low. Financial aid is available.

Where can I apply?

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You do not need to have prior building experience with Habitat to go on these trips! This year, we will be taking 10 people on each break build, 2 leaders and 8 participants.

Deadline for Application: 11:59 PM on Monday, November 28, 2016

If you have any questions, please email Sarah Scott at sscott@middlebury.edu!

CCE Mini Grant Reflection by Nicole Cheng: Creative Time Summit

This project is supported by funding from a Middlebury College Community Engagement Mini-Grant.

In order to better understand different ways artists have tackled social justice issues from the upcoming November elections in the US to the crisis in South Sudan, I attended a conference in Washington D.C. organized by the non-profit, Creative Time. Through a series of lectures, performances and panels, I was able to meet and listen to such a diverse range of people tackling the various problems in our world with vivid imagination.

Vaginal Davis was one of the most memorable performances that I saw where instead of explaining their work through a lecture. They did a performance piece which spoke volumes more. It really reminded me of how the conventional format of a conference could be subverted and that other means of expression were just as valid.  Anna Hutsol, author of the women’s movement in Ukraine FEMEN was also really inspiring. Instructing women to protest topless in the face of injustice was something I had never seen before and even  though I was prepared to witness and listen to pretty absurd ideas, the courage of this simple action was so provocative and inspiring that it really made me rethink how vulnerable people are willing to be  in putting their bodies on the line.

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From listening to co-founder Alicia Garza from #BlackLivesMatter to Sudanese cartoonist Khalid Albaih countless people amazed me over the three days. I eventually found myself at a discussion panel on the intersections of art and science and with the director of the National Academy of Sciences advocate for the Arts and Humanities in addition to STEM felt like these two worlds that I have been wrestling to be seen as more fluid between each other were finally coming together. Going to this conference gave me more motivation to use the imagination and play that art can activate in advocating for issues that I care about and with this experience, I hope that I too can show others on campus how powerful the arts can be.

You can check out more about the speakers who were at the event at this link below:

http://creativetime.org/summit/

SCB is Hiring!

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Are you interested in joining the CCE as a student staff member? SCB is hiring a coordinator to begin in late December or early January and serve at least through December 2017. SCB coordinators manage the finances and leadership development of SCB leaders and serve as a liaison between student leaders and Student Activities. SCB coordinators work four paid office hours per week in the CCE and run monthly meetings for SCB leaders. Students from any class year and experience level can apply. Questions? Email scboard@middlebury.edu.

Download the application here: scb-coordinator-application-2017-2018

Apply by 10:00 pm on Tuesday, November 29th

Why Trump Won: It Was Fundamental!

In life, they say, timing is everything.  When I began doing my election-themed talks in late summer, after it was clear who the general election candidates were, Hillary Clinton consistently held a lead in the various aggregate polling results, such this one by Huffington Post, by about 5%-8%. Nonetheless, I assured my audiences that there […]

The Most Nationalized House Election Since Eisenhower?

It has become fashionable of late, particularly among liberal pundits, to argue that the future of the Republican Party depends on its leaders severing all connections with Trump and his movement.  For a number of reasons that I will discuss in future posts, I think this is profoundly stupid advice for Republicans to follow.  But […]