Campus Spotlight: Stockton’s Activist-in-Residence
Excerpted from The Stockton Times
Erin O’Hanlon is Stockton’s first activist in residence, part of the college’s commitment to community engagement and service-learning.
O’Hanlon, a Stockton graduate who is coordinator of community initiatives at The Women’s Center of Atlantic County, said: “Stockton comes from a long tradition of activism, community engagement and strong voices. Part of my job is to point out the path in the 21st century,” and help students “connect with the social responsibility of their actions.”
“It’s a huge asset for our students and faculty members to have a community activist here on campus part-time,” said Daniel Fidalgo Tomé, assistant director of Service-Learning.
Tomé, Dr. Kristin Jacobson, associate professor of Literature, and Marilyn Vito, associate professor of Business Studies, initiated the program, which was awarded funding through the college’s 2020 Strategic Initiatives program. Linda Wharton, associate professor of Political Science, is the faculty co-chair of the Political Engagement Project (PEP), while Dr. Reva Curry, executive director of the Center for Community Engagement, helped interview potential activists for the position.
O’Hanlon is working with the Office of Service-Learning and the School of General Studies as well as the Center for Community Engagement in designing and implementing community engagement training and projects for the year.
“Having Erin here is practicing what we preach about creating social change, ” Tomésaid.
O’Hanlon, who graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Language, with a concentration in Communications, returned in 2006 to get a Master’s of Arts in Instructional Technology.
O’Hanlon said she has met with Stockton professors in Biology, Sociology, Women’s Studies and Anthropology and will be working on integrating classroom work and community activism during both semesters this year.
For example, an Economics class taught by Professor Melaku Lakew is raising funds for Books without Borders. The project goes beyond just acquiring the books, because shipping the books to other countries is very expensive, O’Hanlon said.
When Lakew took books from Stockton to his native Ethiopia in 2012, the cost was $7,000 per shipping container.
“They learn about the economic theory of supply and demand firsthand,” while O’Hanlon teaches them about how to “create your own market,” she said. Donated course books can be sold to raise the money to ship other books, she explained.
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