Last semester, Barnard welcomed community members to apply for two new grants: The Inclusion Grant, sponsored by the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Student Climate Action Grant from the Sustainability office. Both grants recently announced the recipients for projects that will commence spring 2020.
Now in its second year, the Inclusion Grant offered faculty, students, and staff the opportunity to develop projects that will help foster inclusion, belonging, and equity on campus, especially those that relate to well-being and sustainability.
Meanwhile, the Sustainability office launched its Student Climate Action Grant to support students and student groups in developing and implementing projects relating to sustainability, climate action, or human interactions with the environment.
Inclusion Grant Recipients
“The three proposals selected for the Inclusion Grant exemplify the priorities of DEI at Barnard,” said Ariana González Stokas, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion. “These projects will create space for the voices of staff, build on the College’s historical and present-day commitment to student activism, and lift up alums like Ntozake Shange, who come from underrepresented communities. We are excited to see the impact of the projects as they are implemented around campus.”
Gustie Owens ’22 and Radhika “Rads” Mehta CC’22 received $2,000 to launch the Activist Archive, a web-based extension of their Butler Banner Project, to help students research archival information on historical campus activism, as well as plan their own movements. While creating the Butler Banner Project, Owens and Mehta saw a lack of institutional memory at Barnard and Columbia regarding campus activism and decided to create a thorough archive of past student movements and provide students with information on how to work productively with administrators.
Members of the Shange Magic Project received $5,000 for their idea The Love Space Demands: Sharing the Words of Ntozake Shange in the Barnard Library, which will support the installation of excerpts from the work of Ntozake Shange ’70 on walls around the Milstein Center. Students will select and translate passages and install vinyl lettering on the second, third, and fourth floors of the library, in the hope that students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be inspired to “imagine themselves as knowledge producers.” Community members involved: Nia Ashley ’16, Library; Prof. Kim Hall, English & Africana Studies; Kristen Hogan, Library; Aaliyah Johnson ’20; Prof. Monica Miller, English & Africana Studies; Vani Natarajan, Library; Kiani Ned ’16; Martha Tenney, Archives.
Jo-Ann Pratts of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Mark Nomadiou of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies received $5,000 to partner with the TMI Project, a nonprofit that leads sessions of the Storytelling Workshop to help storytellers use “radically candid, true personal narratives.” The workshop helps people to fight shame and stigma as well as engage both storytellers and listeners in positive social change.
Student Climate Action Grant Recipients
“We are thrilled to support this first cohort of Student Climate Action Grant recipients,” said Sandra Goldmark, director of campus sustainability and associate professor of professional practice in the Theatre Department. “The proposals were diverse and ambitious and will allow students to be leaders on climate action here at Barnard and beyond the gates.”
Emma Palmer ’20 and Grace Palmer ’20 received $1,500 to create an interdisciplinary, site-specific performance at Black Rock Forest, a nature preserve in the Hudson Highlands that frequently partners with Barnard students and faculty on research. Artists, activists, and environmentalists at Barnard will develop material that will answer questions around the art and narratives we create about climate change, how our outdoors experiences shape our understanding of environmental issues, and how nature shapes creativity.
SGA Sustainability Committee members Maggie Pahl ’20, Isabel Ocampo ’22, and Linda Chen ’23 received $350 to host a campus CSA potluck, incorporating produce from the Morningside Heights CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). They hope to connect students who already participate in the CSA, introduce others to the concept of supporting local agriculture, and promote the growth of the CSA’s Facebook group, where members share recipes and discuss other topics related to sustainability.
Natasha Reich ’21, a member of the Barnard Garden Club, received just over $1,000 to install new planter beds on the Milstein Garden Terrace, on the fourth floor of the Milstein Center. The club, which also manages the campus garden in the Quad, aims to promote student engagement with the environment and create more access points to green and sustainable spaces. “By planning a gardening calendar and participating in weekly watering and maintenance,” they wrote in their grant application, “students learn about the work of growing food and of working with the climate.”
Isabel Kovacs ’20, Molly Shapiro ’20, and Wanja Waweru CC’20 received $660 to support Sprout Up, a nonprofit with a club chapter at Columbia-Barnard. Sprout Up provides free weekly environmental science lessons to first and second grade students in under-resourced elementary schools in the Bronx and upper Manhattan. The funds will be used to provide free MetroCards to instructors traveling to and from the schools, allowing financially strapped students who are passionate about the environment to participate.
Rachel Gates ’20 and Anabella Barocas ’23, members of the SGA Sustainability Committee, received $400 to host a public talk by Jennie Romer on reducing waste. Romer is an attorney, policy advisor, and sustainability consultant currently working with the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative, where she leads Surfrider’s policy efforts and litigation to reduce plastic pollution at local, state, and national levels. She served as pro bono counsel for the New York State Plastic Bag Ban, which will take effect in March 2020.
Rachel Gates ’20 also received $250 to help the College create and manage Zero Waste Party Packs. These packs, which she learned about as a Zero Waste Outreach Intern for the city of Palo Alto, California, enable student groups to reduce their waste at campus events through free rentals of reusable servingware.