Community Learning During Covid – Fall 2020

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

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

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

Poet Zulynette speaks to the class.

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

Jolet Creary of Studio Eight Sixty shares a performance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition to the courses highlighted above, we have been thrilled to work with faculty on established Community Learning courses and developing new components for Spring 2021. Thank you to Urban Studies faculty David Lukens, Julie Gamble and Laura Delgado for collaborating with partners at Hartford NEXT, SINA, and the Center for Leadership & Justice and other organizations; thank you Arianne Bazilio and ENVS 375 students, Amber Pitt and BIOL/ENVS 141 students and Susan Masino and NESC/URST 212 students for continuing with safe outdoor engagements; Kelly Dugan and Elise Castillo and Stefanie Wong and HMTCA and ELAMS partners for offering remote engagements for LATN 105 Latin in the Community and EDUC 200 Analyzing Schools students; Dina Anselmi for creatively engaging childcare providers in PSYC 295; Judy Dworin and Elizabeth Allen for HRST New Beginnings; thank you Tony Cherolis of BiCi Co. for your incredible presentation in Beth Notar’s Anthropology course “Mobility & Sustainability”; and our continued thanks to all our faculty and community partners who continue to work together to offer Community Learning at Trinity especially during this challenging academic year.

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