Tisch Civic Engagement Fund supports 15 student projects

Tisch College recently announced the 2012 Civic Engagement Fund (CEF) recipients. Open to all Tufts students, CEF cultivates, launches and sustains student initiatives through in-depth advising and modest funding support. Since the program’s inception in 2004 it has engaged students from every school of Tufts.

This year, CEF is supporting 15 projects designed by students from the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine. Together, these projects will engage over 260 Tufts students as participants and provide needed services to over 7,500 community members.

The 2012 Civic Engagement Fund Projects are:

Community Outreach through Microfinance

Alexander Howard, International Relations, A13
Gustav Vik, International Relations, A13

Working in Somerville, Community Outreach through Microfinance (COM) aims to enable people to overcome inequities in access to financial services. Offering creative lending solutions and financial literacy services, the program will empower the local community while teaching Tufts students about microfinance. Working with the city’s sizable immigrants populations, COM will offer loans that build credit history while covering the cost of becoming a US citizen. These loans will be accompanied by comprehensive citizenship classes and financial coaching in order to assure the progress of borrowers.

Grassroots Education Impact Consulting

Lulu Cheng, F13
Jiefei Yuan, F13

A long-term education consulting initiative, the Grassroots Impact Consulting Project engages Fletcher student volunteers in on and off site consulting for education organizations working in developing countries. The initiative is supervised by Givology, a global education non-profit. For the 2011-2012 academic year, students will work with education organizations in Peru, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda and India. The project begins with orientation and training in November 2011 and officially launches in January 2012, when students travel abroad to work directly with partners in the field. Students will tackle capacity-building projects focused on education deliverables, such as program implementation, curriculum development and teacher training, as well as strategic planning initiatives with an emphasis on sustainable and equitable development.  The consulting work continues throughout the course of the year, as students build relationships with their clients and gain a renewed understanding of the myriad challenges facing education leaders and planners.

Health Horizons International
Erik Antokal, Community Health & Latin American Studies, A12
Erika Brown, Community Health & American Studies, A12
Mary Bruynell, Community Health & French, A12
Maxine Builder, International Relations, A13
Mary Cheng, M12
Erin Griffard, Community Health & Latin American Studies, A14
Jessica Kabrt, Child Development & Pre-Med, A13
Bryn Kass, Community Health & Psychology, A12
Chad Larcom, Community Health & Biology, A15
Ali Marzolf, Cognitive Brain Science, A14
Nikita Rahman, Community Health & Cognitive Brain Science, A14
Afsheen Sharifzadeh, Middle Eastern Studies and Pre-Med, A13
Patricia Solleveld, Community Health & Biology, A15
Laura Washburn, Community Health & Chemistry, A15

Last year, Health Horizons International (HHI) went to Pancho Mateo, Dominican Republic, to conduct a public health survey of the community. This year, they are building on that knowledge base and using their research to implement a public health intervention that focuses on prevention of non-communicable diseases. The project will build local capacity by training community members to conduct community-based participatory research. Ultimately, this will give HHI a better understanding of the community’s needs and how best to address the increase of non-communicable diseases. HHI will also work with youth in the community to educate them about the importance of exercise and nutrition in preventing chronic diseases.

Health Impact Partnership
Emily Frank, M15
Lisetta Shah, M15

Using a community-based approach to teach leadership and advocacy skills, the Health Impact Partnership will engage high-risk youth through the lens of health and medicine. Medical students will work with small groups of English High School students in Jamaica Plain to help them gain the skills to survey the health needs of their school community, analyze their data, and design and implement health interventions to address these needs. The curriculum for this program will supplement the school’s science fair curriculum, thereby improving students’ academic achievement, understanding of science and community participatory action research, as well as leadership skills.

Jumbo’s Kitchen

Laura Carroll, Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, N12
Melissa Page, Clinical Nutrition, N12
Shelley Rollet, Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, N12
Elaine Siew, Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, N12

 Jumbo’s Kitchen introduces underserved populations to basic cooking skills, promoting an understanding of nutrition and to empowering children to make healthy snacks. With a focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, Jumbo’s Kitchen inspires children to request and prepare healthy snacks at home for their family. Additionally, Jumbo’s Kitchen provides an opportunity for Friedman School students to apply nutrition skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to a real-world environment and gain experience working with children in the surrounding community. In partnership with DotWell, a local community organization, Jumbo’s Kitchen also builds relationships between Tufts and the underserved community of Dorchester, in line with the Friedman School’s mission of education and information dissemination.

OneWorld: Fair Trade Global Crafts Bazaar
Sanjana Basu, International Relations & Economics, A12
Demetra Hatzis-Schoch, Undecided, A15
Lauren Jayson, International Relations & Community Health, A14
Sarah Kee, Undecided, A15
Dahlia Norry, History, A12
Tessa Ruben, Undeclared, A14
Marla Spivak, Economics & International Relations, A12
Taarika Sridhar, Political Science, A13
Alyssa Wohlfahrt, International Relations, A13

 OneWorld provides opportunities for students to create programs that bring people from across the university together in the pursuit of a more just and equitable world. Their premiere event is an annual fair trade global crafts bazaar and development fair. This year’s theme is fair trade and socially responsible consumption. The bazaar brings together over twenty student organizations to highlight development initiatives at Tufts and around the world, educate about socially responsible consumerism and provide a platform for future student collaboration in fighting global poverty.  Every year, proceeds from the bazaar are donated to an organization working in the area of the event’s theme so as to build connections between students and impoverished communities around the world.

Sankofa Youth Project

Krystle Shakespeare, Child Development, A12
Keli Young, Psychology, A12

Sankofa Youth Project is the community outreach division of Emerging Black Leaders, a student-run organization at Tufts University. The mission of Sankofa Youth Project is to be an effective community outreach program for local students of the Africana Diaspora. The group works primarily with high school students from the Medford, Somerville and Cambridge areas. These students are provided with the tools to successfully navigate high school and college, both socially and academically, through mentoring, college preparation and workshops. Sankofa engages students in several community service projects throughout the year in an effort to highlight the importance of giving back.  Above all, Sankofa Youth Project serves as a safe space, where students can share their thoughts and concerns with college mentors whom they know are invested in their growth and development.

The Sharewood Project
Laura Glick, Community Health & Psychology, A13
Anand Jagannath, M14

 The Sharewood Project is a free healthcare organization run by Tufts medical students, volunteer physicians, and Tufts undergraduates. Sharewood opens every Tuesday night at the First Church of Malden and offers, completely free of charge, care to underserved in the Greater Boston area. The Sharewood Project is a general medical clinic and provides additional services, such as sexual and reproductive health counseling, eye exams, dental screenings and case management services. Sharewood’s mission is to not only treat patients’ immediate ills but to improve their overall quality of life by connecting them with primary care physicians, health insurance and other social services that they may need. This year, the Sharewood project team is working on expanding current triage and training capabilities, building long-term fundraising efforts and organizing a symposium on the importance of community service in medical education. Sharewood recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary with a conference and musical concert.

Spanish Dental Class Terminology
Sonia Arevalo, D12
Diego Camacho, D13
Jhon Giraldo, D12

The Spanish Dental Terminology Class bridges the gap between the Spanish-speaking community and dental care providers – there are a large number of Spanish-speaking patients but very few Spanish-speaking dental students. Offered on a weekly basis, the class is open to undergraduate students, residents, staff and faculty.  This initiative allows students to overcome language barriers and provide improved dental care for Spanish-speaking populations.

Tufts Engineers Without Borders: Uganda
Cliff Bargar, Mechanical Engineering, E12
Abby Barker, Civil Engineering, E14
Meghan Bodo, Undecided, A15
Erin Coonahan, Biomedical Engineering, E12
Natalie Dove, Mechanical Engineering, E12
Erin Fleurant, Child Development, A13
Emily Gosselin, Undecided, E15
Kevin Hebard, Civil Engineering, E14
Daniel Hillman, Undecided, E15
Anya Kaufmann, Environmental Engineering, E14
Alyssa Le, Environmental Studies & Geology, A14
Peter Lewis, Mechanical Engineering, E14
Anthony Lombardi, Classics & Political Science, A14
Corey Mason, Mechanical Engineering, E14
Scott McArthur, Chemical Engineering, E12
Madison Morley, Undecided, E15
George Nink, Undecided, A15
Misaki Nozawa, Biomedical Engineering, E13
Goodness Olayiwola, Chemical Engineering, E14
Emily Pressman, Undecided, E15
Emily Quigley, Undecided, E15
Rayn Riel, Undecided, A15
Matt Rosen, Mechanical Engineering, E12
Emily Schick, Civil Engineering, E12
Brooke Schuman, Biology-Psychology, A14
Laney Siegner, Environmental Studies, A12
Leah Staschke, Chemical Engineering, E12
David Sutherland, Mechanical Engineering, E14
Cristina Trevarrow, Civil Engineering, E12
Jenna Wojtas, Undecided, E15

 Tufts University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been working in Uganda since the fall of 2009. Group members have traveled to Mbale, Uganda twice to engage with a local village called Shilongo. On the first trip, a large-scale assessment was done related to the community’s water resources. During the second trip the group built a pump modification system and a clean water storage tank to address the community’s greatest need: more accessible drinking water. The project is now exploring additional ways to improve the quality of life for the members of the Shilongo community. A small team from the larger group will travel to Shilongo in January 2012 for three main purposes: 1) to install a weather station that will collect data on wind, solar capacity and rainfall in the area; 2) to follow up on the implementation that was done last summer; and 3) to discuss with the community what issues will be addressed in the next implementation phase. Their work was recently featured on the Tufts home page.

Tufts Outreach Nutrition Education (TONE)

Kelly Arnett, M14
Alejandra Hernandez, M14
Danielle Larson, M14
Justin Oldfield, M14

The Tufts Nutrition Outreach & Education (TONE) program trains medical students to provide nutrition counseling for medically underserved Boston communities. TONE currently works with three sites where students provide nutrition counseling by appointment or drop-in. Entering the program’s second year, the project team seeks to improve data collection methods to learn more about the community’s demographics and needs. The team also plans to establish sound project evaluation methods to determine if their work is meeting the needs of both community members and student volunteers. The data collected will be used to improve current methods and aid in exploring new community partnerships.

Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TURAP)
Cara Chebuske, F12
Jacquelyn Pilch, F12
David Sussman, F12

The Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TURAP) provides a social support network of volunteers and mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area.  TURAP volunteers, organized into groups of three to five students, connect directly with refugees, positively affecting their ability to build new lives in the United States.  In the process, Tufts students gain a meaningful personal experience. In addition to building relationships across cultures, volunteers assist refugee families with activities such as ESL training, job searches, social services registration, budgeting and household management and navigation of new surroundings. TURAP, in conjunction with other student organizations, also educates the broader Tufts community about topics related to refugees, human rights and immigration. Currently, 35 volunteers are matched with nine refugee individuals or families from countries such as Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iran, Iraq and Somalia.

Tufts Timmy Clean Water Initiative in Guatemala

Patric Gibbons, Biochemistry, A12
Laura Glick, Psychology & Community Health, A13
Molly Goodell, Anthropology, A13
Jordana Laks, Biology & Community Health, A12
Nitin Shrivastava, Biochemistry & Community Health, A12
Lucia Smith, Biology, A13

The Tufts Timmy Clean Water Initiative aims to reduce the prevalence of waterborne illness in La Victoria, a rural community in Guatemala.  Due to a lack of clean, safe drinking water, residents must resort to using unpurified, unsanitary water. This unpurified water is susceptible to parasites and bacteria, and increases health risk for chronic diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses. In the past year, Tufts Timmy provided 31 water filters to trained community leaders, who then distributed the filters to high-risk families in La Victoria. The group now must measure the impact of these filters and work with community leaders to find a mechanism for long-term, sustainable change.  To complement the clean water efforts, this effort is part of a larger initiative by other students and professionals to provide sustainable access to primary health care in rural villages in Guatemala. It is an effort to address the root causes of ill health in the communities that they serve, complementing and reinforcing their ongoing efforts to improve health in La Victoria.

Undergraduate Global Health Network: Global Health Lecture Series
Mary Bruynell, Community Health & French, A12
Dahlia Norry, History, A12

The Undergraduate Global Health Network will organize a Global Health Lecture Series for the 2011-2012 academic year. This event will increase awareness on Tufts campuses about global health issues while uniting existing global health student organizations. By consolidating advocacy events across global health student organizations, the event will encourage these student organizations to collaborate and work towards a common goal.

Vocational School Research and Pit Latrine Construction in Juampas, Haiti

Cassandra Barthelemy, Anthropology and Pre-Med, A12
Sarah Hartman, Anthropology & Community Health, A13

Tufts students, in collaboration with students from three other universities, will return to Juampas, Haiti in January 2012 to follow up on a needs assessment they performed last winter. The community identified a vocational school as its top priority, so the students plan to interview key informants to create a basis of knowledge that can be used to develop a vocational school curriculum. Additionally, the needs assessment revealed that proper sanitation is lacking for 30-60% of the community.  To address this need, the group plans to begin construction of pit latrines in households that do not already have them.  Students will work together with the board of Haitian Organization Program for Education and Health (HOPEH) to plan, implement, and evaluate these projects. The HOPEH board will hold community meetings to ensure their decisions continue to reflect the opinions of the area as a whole. Community participation in these projects is vital, as interventions will be more effective, sustainable and relevant to local needs if the community spearheads them.

Originally published January 2012