2021 JCCP Student Innovation Fund Grantees Announced

2021 JCCP Student Innovation Fund Grantees Announced!

Wesleyan students aim to deepen their impact on campus and beyond…

The Jewett Center for Community Partnerships is pleased to announce the spring grantees of the JCCP Student Innovation Fund.

Students from a range of majors and interests – all with shared interests in utilizing resources in innovative ways to positively impact the greater Middletown community – applied to this fund.  The Student Innovation Fund provides up to $750 for spring OR summer projects that prioritize:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

All student efforts are representative of the JCCP’s continued commitment to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.

Read more about this year’s Innovation Fund grantees:

Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness Club 
Elsa Dupuy d’Angeac ’22, Robie Scola ’23, Carolina Mahedy ’21

We want to create a website that can become a comprehensive resource for our students and also for students at Wesleyan. Our site would include information from our curriculum, a live chat that students can use to ask us questions, a blog, video components, and many other aspects. We are excited for the opportunity to share our on-campus projects and workshops, not only with high school students, but anyone interested in sexual health.

Middletown Community Fridge
Bryan Chong ’21 and Emily McEvoy ’22

The Middletown Community Fridge incurs a lot of costs beyond our normal efforts in filling it with food, like cleaning supplies for daily cleaning, reimbursement for repairs that our volunteers do, and regular repainting. These are essential to keeping the fridge safe, accessible, and contributing to a more beautiful Middletown.

Middletown Mutual Aid Fundraiser with Student Creators
Tara Nair ’21

I propose to create a collaboration between student creators and the Mutual Aid fund, selling products, designs and merchandise to donate to the fund. I will seek a small group of passionate Wesleyan creators who are willing to produce art and other products for sale, with all the profits going towards the Mutual Aid Fund.  With the support of the JCCP Fund, student creators can be compensated for both materials and labor, creating a more sustainable source of funding and encouraging creators to get involved. 

MIRA (Middlesex Immigrant Rights Alliance)
Margarita Fuentes ’21, Marlen Escobedo ’21, and Ivanna Morales ’21

We plan to collaborate with another CT immigrant rights grassroots organization in order to help the group we work with, Comunidades Sin Fronteras CT with their growth as a new organization. Additionally, our goal is to promote partnership with these organizations so that CSF can potentially create better and stronger bonds for coalition building, which will be a strong avenue that the organization will be taking. Furthermore, the coordinators believe webinars or meetings will empower the director and collective of CSF who are majority non-english speakers and who are women as well.

Oddfellows Musical Mentoring Program
Julia Kan ’22

The Musical Mentoring program pairs Wesleyan students with Middletown children for one-on-one private instrument lessons. During these individualized music lessons, mentors develop their own creative teaching materials and often play duets with their students, forming valuable relationships. Finally, we would like to broaden the scope of this program’s community partnerships to include Middletown Elementary Schools and the Wesleyan Music Department. 

Traverse Square 
Sophie Williamson ’22, Nyaiah Lamb ’21, Sam Kurlender ’22, Abigail Maymi ’22, and Emma Powell ’21

We are currently working towards redesigning and expanding our program. We believe it is really important to include community voice in our plans for the space but have struggled to keep in contact with parents during COVID.

Wesleyan Book Buds
Ricardo Vega ’21, Leila Etemad ’21, Stephanie Corrales ’22, and Margarita Fuentes ’21

For this semester, we intend to partner with community organizations, such as WesNEAT and Middletown Mutual Aid, Middletown Schools, and other organizations to gauge the needs of the community and provide these organizations with books and other supplies they need to support Middletown students. We would like to directly provide resources especially considering the ongoing pandemic has hindered our ability to host our Bring A Book Back Drives. Book Buds also especially wants to provide organizations with books that feature marginalized voices in the forefront (BIPOC, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, etc.).

Wesleyan Food Rescue
Claire Isenegger ’21 and Gina Gwiazda ’22

Wesleyan Food Rescue will be partnering with the Eddy Shelter, an emergency shelter in Middletown to provide them with essential kitchen and food resources. We hope that this funding will allow us to combat food insecurity in Middletown and will be the start of a closer partnership between the Eddy Shelter and Food Rescue. In addition to this funding, we hope to start other initiatives, such as organizing a clothing drive in collaboration with the University’s Resource Center and participating in projects to help maintain the shelter. 

Wesleyan Habitat for Humanity 
Zelda Galdenzi ’22 and Julia Rumberger ’23

Our proposal is a Candygram fundraiser to raise money for Middlesex Habitat for Humanity and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Our club is committed to addressing the issues of affordable housing, homelessness, and related issues that our country faces. Our goal is to raise money for causes important to us, while also allowing Wesleyan students to get involved in spreading some joy on campus and in our community.

Wesleyan Refugee Project Education Initiative 
Ji Yoon Park ’21 and Lizzie Edwards ’21

The Wesleyan Refugee Project’s Education Initiative aims to teach middle schoolers, and hopefully high schoolers, in the Middletown community about the issue of global displacement. We created this education initiative in order to stimulate conversations to think and reflect on what being displaced really means. It is not just defined by political persecution but can also be caused by racial or sex discrimination, structural injustices, class inequality, natural disaster, etc. We believe that it is important for young students to start thinking and talking about these global issues at an early age. 

WesNEAT High School Community Organizing program
Noah Kline ’21, Emily McEvoy ’22, Maya Gomberg ’22, Lincoln Alkind ’22

In the program, we have worked with the youth in a collaborative design process that has involved defining community agreements, strategies for reaching consensus, bonding, and determining a workflow/ leadership structure. We are now in the second phase of the group: capacity building. The Wesleyan student facilitators have lead trainings on social justice facilitation, but we would like to bring in local organizers and leaders and compensate them to teach the students about issues and strategies for organizing in Connecticut.

WESU interviews – alumni in audio and podcasting
Kate Harvey ’23

The project will be a series of interviews with Wesleyan/WESU alumni in the audio and podcasting sphere. In these talks, we will discuss how radio can serve as a medium for sharing ideas surrounding civic engagement, and how WESU can be a launching pad for future careers in the audio world. The lecture series will focus on how radio as a medium can be used to promote ideas surrounding civic engagement, and will work to promote the WESU station as a site of community involvement on Wesleyan’s campus. 

Wild Wes
Angie Fike ’21

I will work on both the physical Wes Wild grounds, as well as develop a framework for the site to carry on even as student leaders graduate. During this spring semester, I will work to engage fellow students in the project. The funds I am requesting will ultimately aid me in developing an institutional memory for Wild Wes. I would love to develop ways to connect the Wild Wes site with Middletown community members, Long Lane Farm, and local people versed in permaculture. I also plan to have conversations with Physical Plant on ways to collaborate on projects.