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  • A program on Civil War Women:

The Civil War Round Table of Greater Boston will hold its regular monthly meeting on
Friday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at The Waltham Community Room in the ground floor of The Waltham Government Building at 119 School Street in Waltham. The speaker will be David Dockett doing a program on “Civil War Women.” Refreshments will be served and it is FREE admission. For more information visit our website www.cwrtgb.com

  • Waltham Women in Business offers networking breakfasts with featured guest speakers. Events are held monthly at 7:30 AM in varying locations around Waltham. WSRC Scholars are welcome to attend at a special Brandeis discount.

 

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On April 14th, Waltham Committee member Susan Thomson and Rachael Katz, student/alumnae partner for Waltham Committee member Georgia Sassen, presented a poster session at the New England Regional Campus Compact Conference in Burlington,VT.  The theme for this year’s conference was Higher Education and the Greater Good:  Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century.  Our poster session focused on opportunities for community-engaged learning offered through the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center Student-Scholar Partnership.  Three projects were presented:  “Women and Safe Food,” by Waltham Committee member Jambalmaa Khainzen and student partner Kathleen Rees; “Drums and Poems,” by Georgia Sassen and Rachael Katz; and “Assessing Outcomes at a Residential Treatment Center for Adolescent Girls,” by Susan Thomson and student partner Joanne Qiao. All three projects involve community work in Waltham or nearby towns.  “Women and Safe Food” is developing a food safety training program for immigrant women in an English language course at the Waltham Family School, “Drums and Poems” offers an after-school class for children at the Plympton School in Waltham, and “Assessing Outcomes at a Residential Treatment Center for Adolescent Girls” is tracking outcomes for a treatment center in Arlington.  Overall, our presentation at the conference allowed us to share these projects and to learn about the challenges and successes associated with campus-community partnerships throughout New England.  Rachael Katz also had the opportunity to network with faculty connected with the community-engaged learning program at UMass Amherst, where she will be attending graduate school this coming fall.

Rachel Katz at our poster session on opportunities for community engaged learning

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Committee member Susan Thomson in collaboration with Georgia Sassen and Jambalmaa Khainzan also members of the Committee have received an opportunity to present a poster session for the New England Campus Connect in Burlington, Vermont on April 14, 2010. Titled “University Research Centers as Opportunities for Engagement:  The Student – Scholar Partnership at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center” these Scholars will trace the history and current characteristics of the Student-Scholar Partnership, emphasizing both its collaborative approach and its role in linking student learning with real-life problems and community concerns.  Three projects will be profiled in-depth:  “Women and Safe Food,” “Drums and Poets,” and “Assessing Outcomes at a Residential Treatment Center for Adolescent Girls.”  Feel free to reach Susan Thomson (sthomson@germainelawrence.org)  for more information.

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Event at WSRC on January 15, 2009 ( See Event Flyer)

Committee members Rajashree Ghosh and Nurit Eini-Pindyck organized a meeting of representatives of community based initiatives serving the Waltham area and their collaborative partners from within Brandeis University. Participants included members of non profits, Brandeis faculty, students and Scholars from WSRC. They introduced their role in the Waltham community and included their specific interest in the objectives of the meeting. To facilitate open conversation and exchange of ideas, the format of the discussion was left informal. It consisted of introductions by those present followed by sharing and providing resources for each other.

Some of the long term objectives of this meeting have been to look for answers to questions such as: What is Waltham about? What are NGOs focusing on? What is the ethnic composition today? What are the employment patterns, and what lifestyle issues do people face? How are lives affected by the current economic downturn?

Short term objectives: How can Scholars at WSRC get involved in the various initiatives that are being conducted within the Waltham area? What does community engagement entail in so far as Scholars are concerned? Is there a specific need that the Scholars can address within the community? Can tangible partnerships with community based initiatives be identified?

Participants agreed about the disconnect between the university and Waltham community and expressed genuine interest in “building bridges” is necessary. Within Brandeis University, Larry Bailis and Laura Goldin have designed their curriculum around experiential learning and community engagement. As a result many organizations such as Waltham Partnership with Youth and WATCH already have ongoing initiatives that involve students that are meaningful to them and to the organizations. Lucas Malo helps Brandeis’ students materialize many community service initiatives, and responds effectively to diverse needs in the Waltham community. Student initiatives that address the needs of the community were discussed some of these were focused on health of the community (supporting locally grown produce, diet and cooking) and targeting school students. The focuses of other non profits are varied. One of the key components of such support has been enhancing capacities of community members in increasing awareness with regard to their rights related to immigration, domestic violence, renewing downtown Waltham and also land, tenancy and housing. Some of these address a particular population such as the “Latinas know your rights” initiative that Gladys Maida leads. Others focus on the socially and economically vulnerable populations that Sr. Pat Brennan mentioned.

The Waltham’s committee’s prior activities with the Waltham High School and subsequent photo exhibition at WSRC were discussed as an example of work conducted by Scholars. However because that project has not been sustained, new approaches have been offered by participants.

A suggestion has been that WSRC join hands with existing initiatives keeping in mind that there is no duplication of efforts.

There was a consensus in the meeting that Jennifer Rose’s suggestion on establishing a “WSRC Talent Bank” could be a starting point where community organizations learn about Scholars’ capacities. An update: For this purpose a form requesting information of the needs of the organizations was developed in a collaborative effort between Erica Shwarz, Jennifer Rose, Rajashree and Nurit. After the form was distributed, we thoroughly examined the needs stated by the NGOs, and chose to concentrate on another route: partnerships with local organizations.

Rajashree and Nurit would like to thank the participants from the Waltham community and from Brandeis University who entered in good faith into this ongoing dialogue:
Sr. Patricia Brennan, The Gathering Place
Erica Schwarz, Waltham Alliance to Create Housing (WATCH)
Satya Montgomery, Jewish Family and Children’s Service and WSRC
Galdys Maida, Advocate, REACH
Jennifer Rose, Downtown Waltham Revitalization Initiative
Prof. Lawrence Bailis, Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis
Prof. Laura Goldin, Environmental Studies, Brandeis
Lucas Malo, Interim Director of Community Service at Brandeis
Brian Thomas Friedberg, Healthy Waltham and Student, Cultural Production, Brandeis
Elaine Wong, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Brandeis
Sarah Levy, Student, Brandeis

And special thanks to the participants from WSRC, who keep supporting our cause:
Shulamit Reinharz, Founding Director, WSRC
Louise Lopman, Resident Scholar, WSRC
Liane Curtis, Resident Scholar, WSRC
Maria Lopez, Resident Scholar, WSRC

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The Newsletter

We are launching this Newsletter as a source of information for Scholars, students and community activists. Through this we introduce  initiatives in community engagement by the Waltham Committee at Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. The goal of the Newsletter is to provide enhanced opportunities for collaborations between the academics and local non-profits in Waltham. We welcome your proposals and ideas and we have dedicated a space in the Newsletter for your comments . Visit the page on our members, their current interests and projects to learn more.

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From L-R (standing) Nurit Eini-Pindyck, Susan Thomson and Victoria Wang; (sitting) Jennifer Coplon, Elizabeth Markson and Rajashree Ghosh

walthamcgroup

 As Scholars of WSRC and members of the Waltham Committee our current and revised guidelines are:

Connect WSRC with the Waltham community through outreach with local non profits, government, individual philanthropists
Advance partnerships with the local community to promote gender equity, equitable lifestyles, rights and duties
Develop programs such as workshops, talks, performances, book readings in collaboration with community to address issues of immediate concern
Increase participation of local community members in WSRC events that represent research, art, and activism
Continue to connect with Brandeis University Waltham-based efforts such as experiential learning
Involve WSRC Scholars in community based activities

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