Archive for October, 2011

Rajashree Ghosh (standing 5th from R, in green) with Khalida Smalls, ACE and Brandeis students

Committee member  Rajashree Ghosh who is also a  Resident Scholar at WSRC was invited by Brandeis faculty member Laura Goldin on a field visit to Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)  along with her students.  The students  are engaged in the Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) in an immersive academic program that provides opportunities to explore a thematic topic through inquiry-based courses linked to real-world experiential prospects. JBS represents the distinctive elements of a Brandeis education that include the intense intellectual engagement students share with our cutting-edge faculty; the rich experiential learning opportunities students encounter in  research labs, work settings and the community; and the university’s longstanding commitment to global engagement and social justice. All of these elements are embodied in the new Justice Brandeis Semester.

A green area developed by ACE along with members of the community

  Rajashree was fortunate to have participated in this JBS experience in visiting the project areas covered by this organization.  ACE’s mission has been to strengthen communities of color and lower income communities in New England to eradicate environmental racism and classism and achieve environmental justice.  ACE is bringing about systemic changes whereby the disenfranchised and undeserved communities are given voice to demand and achieve their right to a healthy environment. Some of the accomplishments have been combating particulate pollution from diesel buses in Roxbury  by negotiating with MBTA and work with residents to bring more awareness to these issues.

Contested MBTA site

Post visit, Rajashree presented her WSRC project to the students titled “Women and Urban Environment in India.” This was an opportunity for the students to gain a glimpse of international development efforts to make a difference in increased gender participation in social change. A comparison was inevitable with with what they had experienced in Roxbury, MA.  Some of the students had visited India in the past and were quick to make the assessment of development programs that could make systemic changes in the way ACE had managed but also expressed their concern about the lack of accountability and opportunities in countries that are less developed.

Laura Goldin stated in an email ” You were fabulous  Rajashree– I can’t tell you how much the students appreciated the appreciated the presentation, and how valuable it was in contributing to their understanding (and to mine! )…..And thank you so much as always for your generosity in sharing your work, and the outstanding talk and discussion.”

It is hoped that in Spring’12 this class might visit WSRC and present some of the narratives related to environment and social justice through their field visits. This would  help take the Waltham committee’s engagement with Brandies even further.


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