Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Getting at the root of concerns

Projects for Peace grant allows senior to create farm

Jessica Kruger ’17 plans to establish the Framingham Community Farm with her Projects for Peace grant.

Can social justice be achieved through farming? Jessica Kruger ’17 believes so and has earned a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to find out.

Kruger, a psychology major, won the award for her proposal to establish a community farm aimed at relieving hunger, providing at-risk youth with meaningful work and building connections among residents in her hometown, Framingham, Mass.

“I feel unimaginably excited for the opportunity, grateful to Wheaton and Projects for Peace, and, most of all, motivated to bring this project to life,” said Kruger, who admits that when she applied for the grant it seemed like a lofty goal but she had to try because she believes so strongly in her project.

“I hope that the farm will significantly increase the number of meals our partner organization will be able to provide to the homeless and hungry population of my hometown; and that the young people who work on the farm realize that making a difference in their community is well within their reach,” she said. [Read more...]

Building a safe community

Grants support ongoing efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence

Courtney Ruggles, coordinator of the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Resource Team, provides information. (Photo by Sandy Coleman)

Wheaton received two grants in fall 2016 aimed at continuing to make the campus a safe, inclusive place for all genders—including a second three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that will enable the community to expand its efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

The first grant, a $10,000 award from the Avon Foundation for Women, included an invitation for Wheaton representatives to attend the National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence, a conference held in Boston in October 2016.

“We were able to learn and revisit key concepts around the intersection of interpersonal violence and campus communities,” Courtney Ruggles, coordinator of Wheaton’s Sexual Misconduct and Assault Resource Team, said of the conference. “We were given time to work as a group to develop an action plan for our campus as well as to network with nine other area schools and share ideas, successes and questions.” [Read more...]

Fueling social change

Keaton Schrank ’19, president of the Community Service Council, leads students on a rainy day campus cleanup in the woods. (Nicki Pardo photo)

Service has been a big part of sophomore Keaton Schrank’s life since childhood. Doing the right thing quickly became a passion, leading her to create a recycling program at age 10 with her father when they moved to a new neighborhood in Texas; organize a communitywide garage sale for charity; and take on many other projects.

That ongoing commitment to helping to improve society this spring earned her a Campus Compact 2017 Newman Civic Fellowship, which is awarded to students engaged in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Fellows are provided with a variety of learning and networking opportunities as well as a pathway to scholarships and post-graduate opportunities. They also are invited to attend the 2017 Newman Civic Fellows national conference that takes place in Boston in November. [Read more...]

Historic lens

Professor featured on PBS, National Geographic Channel

Professor Dolita Cathcart, left, was featured in Northern Light Productions’ documentary “Birth of a Movement: The Battle Against America’s First Blockbuster,” which aired on PBS’s “Independent Lens” on February 6 and focuses on the response to the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation.” (Northern Light Productions photo)

Dolita Cathcart, associate professor of history, appeared on two television shows this year, sharing her expertise in African American history and social movements with audiences on PBS and the National Geographic Channel.

The first project, titled “Birth of a Movement: The Battle Against America’s First Blockbuster,” aired on PBS’s “Independent Lens” on February 6, focusing on the response to the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation.”

“The filmmakers came across my dissertation while they were conducting research on the showing of D.W. Griffith’s blockbuster film, ‘Birth of a Nation’—a horribly racist film that helped to reinvigorate the Klan,” Cathcart said.

The film, which was developed by Northern Light Productions, is narrated by actor Danny Glover and features interviews with filmmakers Spike Lee and Henry Louis Gates Jr., among other famous names. [Read more...]