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Posts tagged ‘Campus Spotlight’

RIGHT TO THE CITY – CURTIS BAY: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A MOBILE APP EXPLORATORY SESSION BY BUS

Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App Exploratory Session by Bus | Sponsored by Towson University

towson_logo.gifAnthropology students and faculty at Towson University along with the United Workers-Free Your Voice have been working on a participatory action research project with high-school students in environmental science classes to qualitatively study the environmental hazards in South Baltimore. Curtis Bay, Maryland is located in the southern portion of the City of Baltimore, Maryland. The neighborhood is located in a highly industrialized waterfront area in the southern part of the city and receives its name from the body of water to the east of which it sits. The area has had a toxic history.

Historic Sediments of Global Trade

During the 19th century, guano fertilizer from Peru was a prized commodity, particularly around the Chesapeake bay where both cotton and tobacco had drained the soil of its nutrients. Guano imports which migrated through and often remained in Curtis Bay initiated a long period of uneven disposal of hazardous and/or toxic materials in the soils, air, and bodies of residents.

Global Oil 

Prudential Oil Corporations in 1914 established a refinery in the middle of the Peninsula. Texas Oil Company of Delaware was established before the end of WWI. By the end of 1918, the Fairfield Peninsula was home to at least three petroleum product refineries and several fertilizer plants. Oil refining exposes the surrounding community to the risk of intense explosions while coal dust exacerbates lung and cardiovascular diseases.

Shipbuilding, Ship Breakdown in a Postindustrial wasteland

The Wartime efforts in the 1940s to manufacture materials needed to fortify American troops affected Curtis Bay. During this period, thousands of workers from WVA and elsewhere in Appalachia and African Americans migrated to Fairfield Peninsula for jobs in the shipbuilding and other emergent wartime industries. White workers received decent government subsidized housing while Blacks continued to be exiled to Old Fairfield only having access to substandard housing. The memories of expansive capitalism, exploitative laboring relations, race/class based discrimination, and toxicity do not simply linger as a historic artifact but rather continue to define how this landscape is viewed in Baltimore.

The Next Step in Curtis Bay’s Steady Decline into Toxicity

In 2009, Energy Answers announced it would build the nation’s largest trash-to-energy incinerator in Fairfield and presented the project as a solution to two crises: the waste crisis and the energy crisis. Energy Answers International promoted the project as a power plant providing schools and other facilities with “green energy.” The incinerator was originally slated to be sited less than a mile from Benjamin Franklin High School and Curtis Bay Elementary, which state environmental regulations wouldn’t have typically allowed (no incinerator can be built that close to a school). However, when the Public Service Commission approved the incinerator as an energy plant.*

Seize this opportunity to explore the Curtis Bay Area and the social justice work with Nicole Fabricant, Matthew Durington, and Samuel Collins, Ph.D.s, Associate Professors, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Towson University along with the students and community agencies.

*For more on the Campaign to bring to an end the Trash to Energy Incinerator, See https://stoptheincinerator.wordpress.com/

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University of North Georgia’s ADP hosted Multi-Campus Discussion of Trump Presidency

“President Donald Trump has shown himself to have “thin skin” and be more conservative than Ronald Reagan early on in his presidency. Those were just some of the observations tossed out Monday at the University of North Georgia’s multicampus discussion of the Trump presidency one-third into its first 100 days. The Gainesville campus joined the Dahlonega and Oconee campuses in the discussion via a live video feed.” Learn more here.

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University of Northern Iowa hosts the “Best of Enemies” Screening

In a screening ponsored by UNI’s ADP, the “Best of Enemies” film  tells the story of Ann Atwater, a civil rights leader, and C.P. Ellis, a Klan leader in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina. They served on a desegregation committee together and although they started as enemies became friends. Learn more here.

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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s ADP Hosts Campus Roundtable Conversation
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh American Democracy Project hosted a roundtable conversation to discuss ethics, politics, voting and strategies for citizen engagement. The event–called Real Issues. Real Dialogue. Real Change.–took place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at Reeve Union Ballroom, Room 227BC, on the UW Oshkosh campus. Learn more here.

 

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Maryland Bill Would Put a Polling Location on Every College Campus

By Ellie Brookbank, Junior Political Science Major, Salisbury University (Md.)

Ellie Brookbank.jpg

Ellie Brookbank

My name is Ellie Brookbank and I am currently the Political Director for the Maryland College Democrats and the President of the Salisbury University College Democrats. At the start of the Maryland General Assembly’s legislative session, I also became an intern for Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin (D-11) who has served the Maryland assembly since 1998. Senator Zirkin, who is the Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee, recently proposed a bill (Senate Bill 141) that would require a polling place be established on all higher education campuses that house students.

As the student leader of a political organization, I am thrilled about the effect that this piece of legislation could have on increasing student voter turnout and overall civic engagement. During the past election cycle, both the Maryland State College Democrats and the Salisbury College Democrats were working to make sure that students were informed about when and how they could vote. On Salisbury’s campus specifically, both members of the College Democrats and College Republicans participated in voter registration tables in conjunction with PACE (Salisbury’s Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement). From participating in many of these voter registration tables, handing out voter information at various school events, and discussing voting procedures during club meetings, I was able to get a sense of the obstacles students face when voting.

During the first hearing of Senate Bill 141 (track the bill here) in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, I testified on behalf of this significant bill and also helped to organize students from all over Maryland to share both their oral and written support for this bill. During my testimony, I highlighted that absentee ballots are often the only option for students who are not able to go back home to vote, do not have the transportation to get off campus to a polling location, or are not comfortable going off campus in general. Although absentee ballots may be the only way of voting for students, many are not aware of what they are, or how to request them. Having a polling place directly on college campuses would make voting significantly more accessible for students who are living, working, and volunteering in the communities where they attend school.

Although this bill is still in committee, I am optimistic that the members of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will realize the critical role this legislation could play in increasing student voter turnout. Even if Senate Bill 141 does not become law this legislative session, I hope that it will spark a discussion between Maryland students and schools about the accessibility of voting on their individual campuses.

 

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