The Holleran Center's Challenges of Our Times Series
A subcommittee of the Steering Committee was formed in 2008 to plan and implement a series of panel discussions on current topics related to social justice and policy. Faculty and members of the community share their expertise on various topics. The topics in 2008-2009 year included the psychological impact of the current economic crisis and strategies for coping, the healthcare system, the potential impacts of the presidential election results and current issues in trade and labor organizing. The panel discussions brought together students, faculty, staff and members of the community to explore some major issues facing our local, national and global communities. All events were free and open to the public. Please click below to view the topics and guest speakers for each panel discussion this past year.
Inaugurated in 2004, Exhibiting Activism is an annual event showcasing community-based activism.
In its first year, Exhibiting Activism presented the photography of Alexandra Silverthorne '02. The founding director of Panorama: A D.C. Community Arts Initiative, Alexandra has documented grassroots protests in New York and Washington, D.C.; led workshops and exhibited in Maryland and Pennsylvania; and staffed the D.C. Statehood Party, the U.S. Green Party, and Code Pink. Her images are calls to action: "It is my hope," she writes, "That my photographs, documenting calls for justice, will inspire people to organize and speak out against injustice." A panel discussion also featured Kristin Arant, a grassroots organizer and founder of the musicians' group, the Rhythm Workers Union. "What we do," she said, "is a lot of work, but also a lot of joy – and this is something we see as missing from the culture that presently pervades our globe. This is a key mechanism of art – the mainstreaming of joy in our culture."
In 2005, Exhibiting Activism highlighted the community contributions of Citizen Schools. Presented by Citizen Schools Teaching Fellows Marta Magnus '02 and Sharlene Jeanty '04, the exhibition was titled "Educating Youth and Strengthening Communities." It showcased students' writings, art, and community apprenticeships. Citizen Schools is a national organization that partners with communities to offer after-school programming for middle-school youth. It integrates academic and "real-world" skills, in order to facilitate graduation from high school, access to college, and civic leadership.
Exhibiting Activism 2006 focused on City Year and the work of Holleran Center alumna Alexandria Gomes '04. The program included a presentation about social entrepreneurship and the launch of the Athena Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, a program designed to fund students as they work to create lasting social change on campus and in the broader community.
In 2007, the program focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The exhibit featured photographs, documents, and materials collected by faculty, staff, students and alumni who traveled to the Gulf Coast to participate in relief work. Connecticut College alum, Young Alumni Board of Trustee member and Holleran Center Program in Community Action PICA graduate James Rogers '04 presented a program about the Student Hurricane Network (SHN), a national association dedicated to providing long-term assistance to communities affected by the hurricane.
In 2008, Teach for America (TFA) was featured along with activism of two current corps members, Adrianne Capaldi '06, TFA New York and Katie Williams '07, TFA Chicago. Established in 1990, Teach for America works to “eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort.” To do this, Teach for America places recent college graduates in schools for two years where they teach and mentor students. Currently there are over 5,000 teachers in 26 urban and rural communities placed by Teach for America. During the panel discussion Capaldi and Williams spoke about the achievement gap, their teaching experiences, and the role of innovative school and community partnerships. The discussion and a question and answer period was facilitated by Alexandria Gomes ’04, who has worked in public schools in NYC and Providence, RI. An educational exhibit on the main floor of Shain library featured the work of students, information about Teach for America, and photographs.
The exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Peggy and Tony Sheridan and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Shain Library.
Holleran Center Contact Information:
Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320-4196