A Lived Experience: Alternative Spring Break Trip Celebrates Fifteenth Year
For the past fifteen years, Professor of Sociology and Chicano Studies José Calderón has led students on a Spring Break service-learning trip to La Paz, the United Farm Workers' (UFW) national headquarters in Keene and Delano, California. This year he was joined by twenty students as well as workers from Pitzer's facilities staff and the Pomona Day Labor Center.
“Our hope is that the participants can learn the history of the UFW movement through action and experience rather than just readings and lectures,” second-time participant Christian Lopez '10 said.
After arriving on Friday, March 14 the group explored the grounds of La Paz and climbed the same hills where César Chávez meditated. The group began its service project on Saturday by cleaning the exterior of the UFW Center, which involved clearing brush and digging a drainage ditch, among other tasks. That evening a vigil was held around Chávez's grave.
As part of their advocacy service, the group demonstrated outside a shopping mall in Bakersfield on Sunday in hopes of garnering further support for the UFW's campaign to establish a national César Chávez holiday. They also visited the UFW's Delano field office and Radio Campesina where some participated in an on-air discussion.
For sophomore Tim Campos this was his second year helping Calderón coordinate the trip. “I receive great satisfaction in organizing events that bring about change,” Campos said. “I have a passion for making social change, which will continue to burn as I fight for the fair and humane treatment of others.”
The trip concluded on Monday with breakfast with UFW President Arturo Rodriquez and the group's afternoon performance of “teatro” skits for the farmworker community.
Calderón notes, “The most significant aspect of this experience has been to see the many participants who have gone on, after graduation, to choose careers that are helping to build a more just, equal and humane society.”
A Festival of Scholarship: Pitzer Community Members Present at Research Symposium
This spring Director of Exchanges Kebokile Dengu-Zvobgo led eight Pitzer College students and two faculty members and staff to Western Washington University's Fairhaven College. There they presented at the fourth annual Consortium of Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL) research symposium titled “Festival of Scholarship: Celebrating Collaborative Inquiry.”
Study Abroad: Privilege, Identity and the Social Constructs of Race, Class and Gender in Kalimpong, India
Brittany Dávila '10 and Professor Dipa Basu focused on the obstacles, constraints and opportunities presented during their one-month course in Kalimpong, India, as part of Pitzer College's Global Communities Initiative. The presentation provided a forum in which both Dávila and Basu discussed and dissected how they not only encountered the residents of Kalimpong and Darjeeling through research and everyday interactions (through intensive language leaning and cultural immersion), but the ways in which the different class, gender and racial makeup of the American students affected their experience with each other as well as the residents of Kalimpong. The presentation enabled the audience to think critically about how studying abroad is not only an encounter with ‘others’ but with oneself and the multi-dimensional aspects of being American.
An Evolving Methodology of Collaboration: A Case Study in International Research
Sara Farooqi '08 shared her experiences conducting a qualitative project while studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco. She made the observation that historically, ethnographic research conducted by Westerners in non-Western countries has often been exploitative and closely tied to imperialist agendas. So through exploring and implementing methodologies that emphasize collective and collaborative research she began to challenge the traditional hegemony of researcher over subject, while also producing research that is beneficial and relevant to the group being studied.
Where Town and Gown Meet: the Day Laborers of Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga and Pitzer College
Alvina Amo-Adjei '10, Samantha Field '08, Leah Hannon '10 and Christine Zarker Primono '10 focused on Pitzer College's role within the day laborer community and discussed the importance of reciprocity, awakening the conscience and supporting the community building process. At the end of the presentation, they challenged the audience to locate their local center or site and engage in conversations with the undocumented workers on what they need instead of asking permission to conduct research.
The Prototypes Women's Center Project
Representing the Center for California Cultural and Social Issues this group discussed the ongoing partnerships between faculty, students, staff and clients as it relates to their work at Prototypes Women's Center. Chris Frausto, a Center for California Cultural and Social Issues staff member, framed the conversation and Phoebe Woerner '08 discussed the challenges of creating a collaborative writing workshop at Prototypes as well as the value of acknowledging and confronting issues of difference and power within service learning. Ben Rubin '10 spoke of his work to create a community garden with children at Prototypes. He also highlighted the importance of diversifying the types of service individuals engage in, the need for collaboration, and the value of spreading the message of service.