Five IDCE graduate students—Latoya Jones (ES&P ’13), Jenkins Macedo (IDSC ’12/ES&P ’14), Danielle Battle (ES&P ’13), Maya Pilgrim (IDSC ’13), and Mario Torrico (IDSC ’13)—have won a $5,000 grant from the Cambridge, Mass.-based New Economics Institute to host the “New Economy Summit” at Clark University in mid-April. Other IDCE students involved in the summit leadership group include Arun Poojary (ES&P ’13), Mike Cecil (GISDE ’14), Adriana Gallardo (CDP/MBA ’14), and Edison Reyes (CDP/MBA ’14).
The summit will bring together Clark students, faculty, practitioners, experts, and New Economy professionals to discuss how Clark can catalyze a transition to an economic system that is sustainable and socially just on local, regional, and national scales. Participants will share ideas, best practices, and resources on creating “a better community” in Worcester through new forms of local economic ventures, collaboration and community engagement, and discussions on how to make the ideals espoused by the New Economy science an integral part of a Clark education.
“The relationship Clark University has with Worcester and its various community organizations and movements is a perfect fit for hosting a New Economy summit,” said Jones. “How can we help make Worcester a more sustainable and resilient place to live, work, do business, and raise families? Exploring challenges and solutions via a summit at Clark in collaboration with the community could be the start.”
In November, the New Economics Institute created the Campus Network program and solicited college and university students across North America to submit proposals to host Strategic Summits on the New Economy on their campuses. Clark was chosen from among nearly 40 applications. Other recipients include MIT, The New School, Tufts, Ithaca, College of the Atlantic, the University of British Columbia, Northern Arizona University, Gonzaga University and Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and a consortium of North Carolina schools led by UNC-Chapel Hill.
“We were blown away by the dozens of detailed plans we received for exciting events and projects to engage campuses and communities in the work of building the New Economy,” said Rachel Plattus, manager of organizing and development at the New Economics Institute. “These students’ proposals provided exemplary clarity of vision, sensitivity to local context, and opportunities for community engagement and sustained movement building.”
IDCE students have been actively involved in local projects that promote sustainable food systems, community development, environmental justice, social change, governance, and youth development. Because Worcester is growing rapidly as a result of the resettlement of refugees—and other migrants from developing countries—and the constant influx of college students to the area, local new economic ventures are disconnected, according to the grant proposal, in terms of coordination. The summit will make these new ventures more accessible to both students and community members.
“I see the summit—and the parallel summits on the other seven college campuses—as a watershed event in our collective pursuit of an economy built on the principles of ecological sustainability and human well-being,” said Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Halina Brown, who is the group’s faculty advisor. “Building such an economy will require major changes: local initiatives and public policies that foster new forms of business ventures aiming to support local economy and community development, as well as new paradigms in economic sciences and politics in which ecological destruction through unlimited economic growth does not have to be the price of pursuing human prosperity and well-being. Since the 1960s students have been a vital force for social change in this country. I hope this summit is the beginning of a major social movement toward a new economy in the U.S.”
Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department is a community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to fostering environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic well-being in both the developing and developed world. The major forces of social change—grass roots initiatives, social movements, government policy, market approaches, entrepreneurship, technological innovation, individual action, and education—form the core of IDCE’s transdisciplinary studies.
The mission of the New Economics Institute is to build a New Economy that prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet.
More information on Clark’s “New Economy Summit” will be announced soon.