As Wesleyan students, we are known for our commitment to social justice, our idealism, our determination, and our dedication to making change happen. In the classroom we discuss the way the world is today, sometimes with wonder and sometimes with dismay. Often, we are given the opportunity to imagine the possibilities for a different sort of world. This opportunity to imagine is significant, but what is especially powerful is the fact that for a heartening number of students, these sort of discussions are not at all limited to the classroom. Every day, all across campus, students are meeting, organizing, taking personal and collective action towards the realization of a better world. These efforts happen at all scales all the time–from simple honest discussions with friends across difference, to protests, to organizing in Middletown, nationally, or even internationally.
During his time at Wesleyan, and in the year after he graduated, Peter Morgenstern-Clarren ‘03 worked tirelessly to help bring about a better world. While at Wesleyan, Peter devoted himself to social justice issues on campus, including securing benefits for Wesleyan custodial staff through the United Student Labor Action Coalition (USLAC). He also lent significant leadership to Wesleyan’s chapter of Amnesty International. After graduating, Peter tutored underprivileged children at his childhood elementary school. Peter’s tireless and selfless work continues to inspire activist work on campus.
In honor of Peter, Dr Hadley Morgenstern-Clarren and The Honorable Pat Morgenstern-Clarren have created the Peter Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Award. Since 2007, recipients of the award have worked on a wide variety of projects including creating a Youth Radio Project in Middletown, facilitating a teen group with the North End Action Team, working with disability rights issues on campus, creating a relief initiative for flooding in Pakistan, organizing a committee for investor responsibility at Wesleyan, and organizing community farming programs.
As the recipient of last year’s award, I am incredibly thankful to the Morgenstern-Clarren family for sponsoring this award. The award comes with a financial contribution of $1500, and their generous support makes a significant difference in supporting social justice movements on campus. Last year, the award funded the continuation of the Community Food Project, a program started by students at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm that works to provide families in need with free, high-quality produce, and farming and gardening education.
Sophomores and juniors who are in good standing are encouraged to apply for this year’s award. The award will be given to the applicant who best embodies the spirit of social justice that Peter Morgenstern-Clarren during his time at Wesleyan. Additionally, Wesleyan employees are also eligible to receive the Peter Morgenstern-Clarren Employee Recognition Award. Students and staff can both submit nominations. The applications for both awards are due on Feb. 27, 2015 by 5 p.m in the office of Dean Melendez, North College, 2nd floor, Room 214. For more information see:http://classof2017.blogs.