Claremont, Calif. (April 9, 2018)—Pitzer College student Genevieve Kules ’18 has been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace prize to develop a peace garden and video production skills workshop with Native American and Quaker youth in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Pitzer sophomore Isaiah Kramer ’20 was selected as the alternate for the Davis Projects for Peace award.
For her project, “Visalia Youth Peace Garden: Promoting Intercultural Understanding, Participatory Media, and Connecting with the Land,” Kules will partner with the Wukchumni Tribe and Quaker Oaks Farm, an environmental and cultural learning center where the Wukchumni hold ceremonies and workshops.
“My hope is for the Visalia Youth Peace Garden to further the healing work that Quaker Oaks Farm and the Wukchumni Tribe have been doing together,” Kules said. She envisions the Visalia Youth Peace Garden as a space where the community can reconnect with the land—treaties between the Wukchumni and the US government, which included land guarantees, were never ratified, Kules said. She also sees the garden as a place for cultural practice and learning.
“I hope the project will help youth from both communities grow deeper connections with each other and with the land by empowering them to take leadership roles in the creation and representation of the garden,” she said.
Kules—who is a media studies major specializing in participatory media in Native American and Indigenous communities—will teach young people about video production, so they can share their stories, document their lives and gain media literacy skills during a week-long day camp.
At Pitzer, Kules has led video-making workshops with students at Sherman Indian High School. She has served as a mentor and photographer with Vancouver Island University’s Indigenous Summer Program and documented—through videos, photos and blogging—Pitzer’s Native Youth to College Summer Program.
Kramer, an economics and environmental policy major, proposed a project that would involve installing renewable energy systems for more than a dozen families in a Palestinian-Bedouin community in the West Bank. Kramer serves on Pitzer’s Student Senate and on the board of the Chabad Jewish Student Center of Claremont. He was a technology intern at Changing the Present in New York and co-founded ClaremontCookies.com, a company founded by students for students that bakes and delivers “chewy-gooey” cookies in Claremont.
Last year, Brendan Schultz ’19 received a Davis Projects for Peace award to organize a youth conference in Macedonia.
The Davis Projects for Peace program invites undergraduates from more than 90 US colleges and universities that participate in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that promote peace. The program aims to fund at least one project at each of the participating partner schools. Pitzer became a Davis United World College Scholars Program partner in 2014.
To learn more about student undergraduate and graduate awards, please visit Pitzer’s Office of Fellowships and Scholarships webpage.