October 2018 Newsletter

It’s safe to say over the past month we have hit the ground running at CHER. Our students and faculty have begun applying for Action Lab project teams for 2019, taken a bus around the city to tour the history of discriminatory housing policies in Hartford, engaged in hard conversations about free speech on campus when it comes to race and gender, and Trinfo Cafe student workers have even launched an after school ecology curriculum. This is the type of community work that can only be done in partnership with Hartford organizations.

Take a look…

Action Lab Student and Faculty Applications Due Wednesday Oct. 24th

Last month the Liberal Arts Action Lab received 20 proposals 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. Depending on interest level, the Action Lab will support 4 project teams during the Spring 2019 semester.

  • 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 to guide their two-mile expansion of the Riverwalk trail system.

Students and faculty can learn more and apply online at http://action-lab.org

Community Learning in Hartford: Connecticut Fair Housing Center

In the video above, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center invited students in Professor Stefanie Chambers’ 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. Fionnoula Darby-Hudgens of the CT Fair Housing Center says, “The purpose of the tour is to show how discriminatory policies have shaped our environment and contributed to the economic and racial segregation of our neighborhoods today… as a bus tour we can only reach small sets of people a few times a year, so we are building a digital tour and it’s Professor Chambers’ students who are collecting the artifacts and doing the research that will help tell this story in a digital format.”

Civic Engagement and Free Speech: Trin Talks

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

The topic of free speech on campus could not be more timely as we welcomed the Connecticut Supreme Court to Trinity’s campus October 17th. Two oral arguments took place in the Washington Room. 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.

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy to Trinity College: Bea Dresser, ‘22

Bea Dresser ’22 is a current Trinity College student who attended the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA). Through Urban Educational Initiatives, a CHER program directed by Robert Cotto, Jr., HMTCA students have the opportunity to have an early college experience on Trinity’s campus. We asked Bea, “What do you like most about Trinity College so far?” She said, “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… 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.” Read the full interview here.

Trinfo Cafe Kicks Off After School Programming with OPMAD  (Organized Parents Make a Difference)

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. Over the course of this 8-week long program, Kayla will lead the students through lessons on ecology-related topics, culminating in a workshop on reducing carbon emissions in our homes and communities. Kayla said, “I love seeing the excited faces when explaining what the agenda will be for the class… It’s rewarding to be able to work with bright students that have so many questions. It is honestly my favorite part of the day.”

Join us October 28th!

Join us for the 29th Annual Halloween on Vernon Street on Sunday October 28th from 1:00-3:30PM. This family friendly celebration includes games, costumes, crafts, pumpkins, and candy!


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