Civic Engagement Opportunities & Resources

At the UMass College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, we’re interested in how social science can positively influence society. Our college houses programs that study human behavior and societies from different social science vantage points. This work is vital; it allows us to understand why people do what they do, which then allows us to react from an informed perspective. Through our work, activism, and research, we’re better equipped to address problems like racism, war, poverty, and climate change (to name just a few).   

Therefore, SBS wants to acknowledge and thank faculty, staff, and students for the many grassroots civic engagement activities that have been planned over the rest of the semester, in addition to the resources provided by the UMass campus. We'd like to highlight following events and resources.

Note that not all of these are organized or sponsored by SBS at the moment, and a number are works in progress. If you know of something that can be added to this list, please email us.


Rally for the UMass Amherst Sanctuary Movement
Friday, February 3rd, 12:30pm  |  UMass Student Union

Black Heritage Month
Events will be ongoing throughout February.

Protecting Me & We: Ending Gender Discrimination & Sexual Violence
A presentation by Wade Davis 
February 2, 7:00pm  |  Student Union Ballroom

La peña de UMass: A Creative Space for Community, Self-expression, and Resistance 
February 3, 2017, 4:00-6:00pm  |  Herter 601
Besides meaning rock, a peña (pron: pen•ya) is a creative, dialogical space where people can express themselves and bear witness through sharing experiences, poetry, stories, music, ideas, and news. All are welcome.

The Uncertain Geographic Context Problem: Implications for Population and Health Research
February 16, 4:00pm  |  Procopio Room 170, Design Building
Mei-Po Kwan, professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Sponsors: LARP & ISSR

“As we grapple with many fundamental questions that go to the heart of our ideals as Americans and our role in the world, I want to make clear that we will do everything within our legal and moral authority to protect our community members, no matter their national origin, race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual identity or immigration status."

-Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

Border Walls and the Politics of Becoming Non-Human
March 2, 4:00pm |  ILC Communication Hub
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology & Co-Director of Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility, The New School
Sponsor: Anthropology

Sanctuary and Undocumented Students: Articulating a Role for the Public University
March 7, 4:00pm |  ILC Communication Hub
Karma Chávez, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Dept. of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies, University of Texas-Austin
Sponsor: Communication

Global Deportation: The Rise of a Dangerous New Phenomenon (Annual ISI Public Lecture)
March 22, 4:30pm  |  Old Chapel, Great Hall
Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law, Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar, Director of the International Human Rights Program, and an Associate Director of the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College
Sponsors: Political Science, Legal Studies, CLACLS, ISI

White Supremacy in the Age of Terror
March 29, 4:30pm  |  Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall
Junaid Rana, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne
Sponsor: STPEC

An Evening with Antonio Vargas
April 11, 4:00pm  |  Amherst Room, UMass Campus Center
Jose Antonio Vargas, Journalist, Filmmaker, Civil Rights Activist, and Founder & CEO of Define American
Sponsor: Journalism

Critical Refugee Studies and the “Nation of Immigrants” Narrative
Wednesday, April 19, 11:30am • Thompson 620
Yen Lê Espiritu, Distinguished Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
Sponsor: Sociology

March for Science
April 22  |  Washington D.C. and cities across the U.S.
March for Science is an effort comprising dozens of independent, nonpartisan coordinators. 

Still a Nation of Immigrants?
April 25, 4:00pm  |  Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall
Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita of International Migration, Georgetown University
Sponsor: Public Policy

Policy & Practice: Your Role in Advocating for the Rights of Refugees
Spring Break | Sponsored by CEPA/SA&I
Spend spring break in DC learning advocacy strategy and action. Meet NGO leaders, government officials, and advocacy groups shaping our nation's policy. Build practical knowledge on policy formulation, implementation, and change by everyday citizens.

Creating Dialogue in this Post-Election Moment
Spring 2017 - TBA
This will provide a space for students to talk about how they are dealing with difficult conversations and identify the needs they have at this moment---and perhaps identify the resources to meet those needs.

Non-Profit/Civil Action Organization Fair 
Spring 2017 - TBA |  Sponsored by SBS
An on-campus resource fair where local nonprofits and other organizations describe what they do and enjoin students.


International Programs Office (for immigration issues)
Students should contact Ken Reade in IPO, rather than Student Legal Services. Ken is in touch with the UMass System’s immigration counsel and our outside immigration counsel. They have been advising Ken throughout the current crisis. Call 413-545-5251 or email

At UMass, Kalpen Trivedi, executive director of the International Programs Office, and International Student & Scholar Services Director Ken Reade said in an email Monday that the office has “been working non-stop the last 72 hours to understand and interpret the new regulation and to provide appropriate advice and guidance across campus.” 

Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
Report hate crimes & other bias-motivated conduct. Call the AGO’s special hotline at 1-800-994-3228 or file a civil rights complaint online. You should also contact your local police department immediately if you feel you have been a victim of a hate crime.

The National Immigrant Justice Center
This is a direct number 312-263-0901

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The ILRC trains attorneys, paralegals, and community-based advocates who work with immigrants around the country. They inform the media, elected officials, and public to shape effective and just immigration policy and law. They with grassroots immigrant organizations to promote civic engagement and social change.

Diversity Matters
Diversity Matters is designed to be your one-stop site for information on the support systems, organizations, policies and procedures, news, and events related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at UMass Amherst. 

Allyship/LGBTQIA+ Workshops 
Provided by the UMass Stonewall Center  |  Upcoming SBS Sponsored Workshop(s)
The UMass Stonewall Center offers introductory and advanced LGBTQIA workshops for campus departments and offices, residence hall staff, student organizations, other colleges, social service agencies, and community groups. These sessions are tailored to the particular audience and are free to campus groups

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity Resources 
Date/Location TBA. 
Webinars and training resources on allyship, microaggressions, etc. Potentially combined with group viewings and brown bag discussion sessions.

UMass Dean of Students List of Resources
The Dean of Students Office provides several services to the campus community.  Their staff is available to answer questions, advocate on behalf of students , and to connect students and their families to appropriate resources to get the information they need.  The goal of the staff is to respond to individual student needs and concerns.

Local Activist Groups

Pioneer Valley Worker Center: local worker center defending workers' rights and immigrants' rights in Western Mass.  PVWC has organized Sanctuary in the Streets, a rapid response team to combat anti-immigrant actions and to support vulnerable communities:

Indivisible: national coalition dedicated to congressional advocacy to resist the Trump agenda, including a guide on how to influence your elected officials

Women's March: organizers of the January 21 march on Washington, now working on 10 Actions for 100 Days

Move On: national coalition organizing local events at congressional offices and elsewhere, to resist cabinet appointments and stop the immigration bans, including Tuesday delegations to Senators Markey's and Warren's offices in Springfield in conjunction with People's Action (

Jobs with Justice: national coalition dedicated to workers' rights and economic justice.  Local Western Massachusetts JWJ has a mailing list for local activism and events.

Showing up for Racial Justice: community organizing, mobilizing, and education for racial justice

Climate Action Now: Western Mass coalition organizing to fight against climate change

HIAS: advocates for refugees and displaced people, partners with network of local refugee assistance organizations to support newly arriving immigrants