This week at UEP both the Tufts New Economy and the Intercultural Practice Group held their monthly meetings on campus.
Wednesday evening, students interested in exploring cooperative economic models came together for dinner and discussion around plans for this and next semester. The campus New Economy group shares the goal of examining and promoting more sustainable and equitable alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm, though this can mean different things to different people. The discussion started with introductions of the new attendees and a talk about what new economy means to each of them.
Group members brainstormed ideas for activities to facilitate learning about new economy and spreading ideas to the rest of the Tufts community. Previous activities have included trips to the CERO cooperative energy, recycling and organics organization, the Hayley House Bakery Café in Roxbury, and the Taza fair trade chocolate factory in Somerville. Future plans include bringing on speakers and intellectual leaders on the topic, trips to the Wellspring Collaborative in Springfield, and coordinating with other local new economy groups.
The following Thursday evening, the Intercultural Practice Group assembled for a viewing of the documentary “Can We Talk?” about Boston’s busing and desegregation crisis in the 1970s. The documentary brings together former students, teachers, bus drivers, and community leaders from the time period, during which Boston attempted and failed to address racism, classism and segregation plaguing the city’s public schools. Truly heartbreaking stories are told about a generation of Boston students, mostly students of color, who were effectively robbed of their formative educational years.
A post-viewing discussion focused on how different Boston may look now, but in many regards nothing has changed. There remains a huge disparity in school and education quality between rich and poor neighborhoods in Boston. The racial make up of Boston Public Schools has changed drastically since the busing period, with the flight of many white families and families of means into areas with better conditions and greater educational resources. The busing period and the failure of public policy to address issues of equality in Boston is hugely relevant to the Intercultural Practice Group, whose focus is to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and challenge self-segregation.
Both groups will continue to meet regularly on campus, and all are welcome to join, not just UEP students. The more people involved, the more impact these groups can have. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit the web sites above or keep your eye out for flyers around campus.