A Journalism Program partnership with Springfield’s Commerce High School and a joint effort with UMass Dartmouth to promote the development of permaculture gardens have been awarded grants from the President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund.
President Robert L. Caret last week announced more than $259,000 in grants from the fund to support nine faculty-led projects that promote the arts and culture in Massachusetts. Awards were made to faculty from the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses.
Journalism professor Nicholas McBride was awarded $25,000 for a project to bring students from Commerce High School in Springfield to campus to learn reporting and writing from Journalism faculty. McBride has worked in Commerce High School for the past eight semesters on team-based collaborative journalism projects. One of the goals of the project is to have Commerce students see journalism as a possible career. Selected Commerce students who complete the program will also participate in a field trip to the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Ryan Harb, who works on sustainability issues for Auxiliary Enterprises, and UMass Dartmouth assistant professor of Biology Tara Rajaniemi received a grant to to support local permaculture by providing educational workshops, hosting visiting groups and creating demonstration permaculture gardens in area communities. They will also help community groups establish their own working gardens with soil sample and plant selection services, plus follow-up advice on mature growth and harvesting strategies.
The Creative Economy Initiatives Fund, created in 2007, provides seed funding for faculty research and scholarship activities in the arts, humanities, and social sciences - and underscores the University’s commitment to enhancing the social and cultural fabric of Massachusetts.
“The creative economy makes life richer in the Commonwealth, affecting the quality of our lives, culturally and socially,” Caret said. “This fund allows the University to build partnerships with nonprofits and creative industries that spur economic development in the realm of the arts and culture, which are critically important to having a vibrant state.”
Since its inception, the fund has provided 54 awards totaling $1.6 million. It has supported the preservation of the W.E.B Du Bois boyhood home in Great Barrington and established the Lowell Youth Orchestra and a permanent Jack Kerouac education and tourism site in Lowell. It has also generated major studies of the film and electronic gaming industries in Massachusetts, sponsored community dance and theater performances and supported the creation of a women artisans’ cooperative in New Bedford.