Current Sophomores and Juniors,

I’m writing to encourage you to apply for this year’s Morgenstern-Clarren Award for social justice work!

This award recognizes activist, volunteer, and organizing work that students have done at or around Wesleyan that has had some positive impact on people’s quality of life, and has made communities healthier, safer, more equitable, peaceful and just.

The Peter Morgenstern-Clarren ’03 Social Justice Award was created in memory of Peter Morgenstern-Clarren, who worked for social justice while a student at Wesleyan. His activism included securing benefits for Wesleyan custodial staff while a member of the United Student and Labor Action Committee and contributing his leadership to the campus chapter of Amnesty International. The Award is endowed by Dr. Hadley Morgenstern-Clarren and The Honorable Pat Morgenstern-Clarren to remember their son’s activism for the public good and to applaud those who continue in this path.

Past recipients of the award have included students working for greater social responsibility in Wesleyan’s investments, working for disability rights at Wesleyan, and organizing a youth radio program in Middletown, among other things.

I received last year’s prize for my three years as a worker and organizer of Long Lane Farm, a community-run organic farm on the Wesleyan campus. Long Lane supplies fresh, delicious, healthful organic produce for free to families in the neighborhood as part of the Middletown Food Project at affordable prices to people living in the economically-depressed North End of Middletown via the North End Farmers’ Market, and it improves the health and sustainability of Wesleyan’s own food system by partnering with Bon Appétit, Wesleyan’s dining service, to serve our produce to Wesleyan students in the dining halls. (The Bon Appétit administration has been incredibly supportive of the farm, creating two student jobs to augment volunteer labour in tending to the farm, and the Bon Appétit staff has been keen to experiment with integrating Long Lane produce into a variety of dishes, as well as featuring them regularly on the salad bar.)

Long Lane Farm also benefits community members by empowering people from a wide range of backgrounds with the skills, knowledge, and means to grow their own food by incarnating the academic spirit of the University in embodied enactment, sparking an ongoing, dynamic dialectic by way of which theory is also transformed; by serving as a welcoming gathering place for people from different academic disciplines, different neighborhoods or countries, different economic means, different politics, different careers or career interests and people who are out of work; and lastly, by serving as an example of the possible roles a farm can play in a community, and by promoting further experimentation in this vein at other colleges, in other cities, and beyond.

The generous award from the 2013 Morgenster-Clarrens bought several cherry trees, blueberry, raspberry, elderberry, and blackberry bushes, a pawpaw tree, a mulberry tree, a chestnut tree, rhubarb and other plantings this past summer for the “edible forest garden” that Long Lane Farm is creating using permaculture principles in its central half-acre. We would not have been able to advance so quickly toward our vision of creating this vital, nourishing heart for the farm ecosystem without the generous help of the Morgenstern-Clarren Award. We are fully and happily in their debt.

Any sophomore or junior may apply for this award. She should submit an essay that addresses the following:

  • Describe in detail the most influential social justice effort in which you played a leadership role that sought to make our local and global communities more equitable (The effort should have a direct effect on the Wesleyan campus and/or on external communities.);
  • Explain your level of involvement in the work, for example: your role in raising awareness about a particular issue on campus, coordinating events, implementing programming and campaigns in the pursuit of social justice;
  • In addition to your essay, you must include a letter of support from a faculty or administrator involved in your effort and submit evidence of impact that the social justice effort had on making our society more just by contributing testimonies from individuals (excluding family and friends) directly involved, artifacts from your social justice effort (e.g., past printed programs, presentations, and articles), and/or your work from courses.

You may include non-print items, such as DVDs.

I submitted some pickled green tomatoes from the farm in the category of “non-print items.” Be creative!

You must include at least four copies of the non-print and printed items and drop them off to Dean Marina J. Melendez, North College, 2nd floor, Room 215 by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2014. All essays, letters of support, and printed items must be in by the deadline. By submitting your packet, you agree to allow the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Institutional Partnerships to use it (or excerpts from it) for assessment, archival, and promotion purposes.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Dean for the Class of 2014 Marina J. Melendez, Ph.D., x.2765, mmelendez@wesleyan.edu.

Also, feel free to email me at jkrugman@wesleyan.edu.

Krugman is a member of the class of 2014.

 

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