New living and learning community on environmental justice

By Claire Crittendon – Co-Editor-in-Chief

Chandler House on Maple St might be the first residence hall to house student members of the new Environmental Justice Living and Learning Community. Photo by Claire Crittendon

On February 28, President Alexander announced he and Professor Stephen Sarikas will be founding a new project called The Environmental Justice Living and Learning Community (EJLLC).

The EJLLC is open to both commuter and residential students. These residential students will all live together in a house along Maple St, namely Pickard, Chandler, or Keever, depending on the number of undergraduates who join.

 “I think it’s a very important topic,” Professor Sarikas said. “I think we need to really make changes, not just locally, but nationally and globally from wanting to save the Earth. I don’t think there’s enough political inertia to do that right now.”

According to the email, the focus of the program is to “research and social action related to the effects of climate change and environmental disruption on people and other living things, with an emphasis on those people and living things least prepared, by virtue of resources or limited defenses, to withstand or mitigate those effects.”

These goals will be met through a multitude of activities including group discussions, relevant readings, state and federal lobbying, guest speakers, social organizing, field trips, and creating art. Students who participate in these activities are eligible for linked credits.

Professor Sarikas said the idea was spearheaded by President Alexander, with the support of the administrative council meeting and management council meeting. The current rollout is a simpler version of the final project, to accommodate the unpredictability of the pandemic.

Balance of work and student life is a priority for the program. “I don’t want to overburden students, because they have other things they have to do. There’s a level of commitment expected,”  Sarikas said. “There are a lot of different ways we can do things.” 

If any current first-years, sophomores, or juniors are on the fence about joining, Professor Sarikas says, “my intuition tells me that there are a lot of people on campus who have interest in this topic. I will just say, if they are interested or if they have questions, they should feel free to contact me. And I’ll be very happy to sit down with them and talk to them more about it.”

He can be contacted via email at ssarikas@lasell.edu or by phone at (617) 243-1114.

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