Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

Upcoming Events

Professor David Reckhow

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Drinking Water in Crisis: Lead, Lignin, and Legionella
As events continue to unfold in Flint, Michigan, the nation is more than ever focused on the quality of its drinking water. Environmental engineers have long recognized lead exposure as a significant public health crisis; now there may be strong enough public support to do something about it. However, lead is not the only challenge to public health that the U.S. drinking water sector faces. This lecture will review the current state of knowledge on lead in drinking water and on another critical issue, the presence of carcinogenic disinfection by-products. It will include aspects of engineering, chemistry, public health, social justice, and public policy; prominently feature work being done in the UMass Amherst environmental engineering research labs; and suggest how we might solve pressing water issues and how water will need to be managed in the world’s growing megacities.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

4pm Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building

This event is part of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

PEP Steering Committee Member Lee Badgett comments in Christian Science Monitor on corporate LGBT-friendly benefits and policies

Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee member, comments in the Christian Science Monitor on how large corporations such as Walmart, Apple and General Motors have lead the way in adopting LGBT-friendly benefits and policies. The changes may seem sudden, she says, but they aren’t: “If we go back to the early 1990s, that’s when we start to see corporations starting to listen more and have conversations internally related to LGBT issues. Businesses were the first institutions to recognize same-sex couples, it just took them awhile to see that as also being relevant for public policy, not just internal policy.” 

2016 PEP Fellow Jeff Blaustein writes in The Conversation about what women with breast cancer should know about estrogens

Jeffrey D. Blaustein, 2016 PEP Fellow, writes in The Conversation about what women with breast cancer should know about estrogens, a class of hormones. He says estrogen blockers are used to treat cancer, but women taking them have to consider what effect estrogens have on other aspects of their health, including mental health, cognitive function, libido and protection of the brain and possibly slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. 

2016 PEP Fellow R. Thomas Zoeller and Colleagues Argue Against the Manipulation of Science in an Open Letter to Le Monde

2016 PEP Fellow R. Thomas Zoeller contributes to an open letter to Le Monde, authored by 16 colleagues and endorsed by over 100 scientists who work on climate change and endocrine disrupting chemicals, stating that chemicals derived from fossil fuels can often interfere with hormones in people. The letter makes the case that the petrochemical industry sponsors scientists to manufacture doubt about the impact of human activity on climate change as well as the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals on human health. Zoeller and colleagues urge governments to focus on the reality that science is revealing and to develop a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations.


2015 PEP Fellow Paul Collins is Featured on 22 News

2015 PEP Fellow Paul Collins is featured on 22 News in response to Hampshire College's flag code controversy and President-Elect Donald Trump's tweets about the legal ramifications of burning an American Flag. See Collins' responses here and here.

2016 PEP Fellow R. Thomas Zoeller co-authors article in Swiss Paper: "There are dangerous chemicals in our everyday environment - no doubt"

2016 PEP Fellow R. Thomas Zoeller co-authors article with colleagues Åke Bergman (Swetox), Thomas Backhaus (Göteborgs University), Carl-Gustaf Bornehag (Karlstad), Aleksander Giwercman (Lunds), Christina Ruden (Stockholm University), and Olle Söder (Karlinska) in Swedish paper. The authors argue that "there is certainty that some environmental chemicals (e.g., lead, PCBs, some flame retardants, etc) are known to have caused health problems and we have evidence for others that should not be ignored." Read more here.

2016 PEP Fellow Louis Graham and Colleagues Receive Federal Grant to Improve Health of Low-Income African American Men

A new collaboration between researchers Louis Graham (2016 PEP Fellow) and David Buchanan and the Springfield Public Health Department’s Men of Color Health Awareness (MOCHA) program is supported by a recent five-year, $2.3 million grant for community-based participatory research to SPHHS from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. They hope to enhance MOCHA’s already successful support of African-American men’s health and skills for coping with stress, as well as collect data on MOCHA’s methods that might help the project to become a national model. Read more here

Sociologists Joya Misra and Jennifer Lundquist Discuss Making a Difference Through Public Engagement

Joya Misra, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, and Jennifer Lundquist, Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Sociology, discuss the value and personal rewards of engaging larger publics and influencing policy through scholarship, even though "making a contribution to public understanding and discourse often goes unrecognized in university systems of evaluation." Read more iInside Higher Ed. 

PEP Steering Committee Member Linda Tropp authors article showing role of white identity in support for Donald Trump

PEP Steering Committee Member, Linda Tropp, co-authors a piece examining an increase in white racial identity in America and how this is affecting white Americans’ support of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.  Tropp and her co-authors say changing demographics in the U.S. mean that white people, who have been the dominant group in society, are now noticing that other groups of people are growing in numbers. Her thoughts were published in The Conversation, San Antonio Express News, San Francisco Chronicle, Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Post, Republished in Salon.

PEP Director, Amy Schalet, Interviewed on To the Best of Our Knowledge about her Research Challenging Prevailing Masculinity Norms

The Problem with Men's Locker Rooms and Women's Restrooms - Wisconsin Public Radio

In “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” PEP Director, Dr. Amy Schalet shares her research that found boys want and value intimacy and relationships, which runs counter to the prevailing gender norms about boys, showing that Donald Trumps comments about "locker room talk" do not accurately reflect the actual desires of most young men. 

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