Advocacy & Human Rights

Stand Against Racism

UMass Amherst has joined the YWCA in its national Stand Against Racism (SAR) movement. The YWCA is the largest multicultural women’s organization whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. A series of activities and programs are being held to promote the movement and are free and open to the public. SAR aspires to eliminate racism by holding educational workshops, engaging participants in awareness campaigns through social media outlets and bring together like-minded organizations.

Center for Forensics

Bringing together partners across industry, government, and academia to advance scientific and societal understanding of the issues raised by digital forensics technologies, the Center develops and applies novel research and technology in forensics and privacy to address the interests of society, law, and government. To date, over 4,000 arrests for Internet-based child sexual exploitation have been made based on our research and technology. Since April 2012, more than 85 children have been rescued from sexually abusive situations as a result of cases started with our tools.

Strategies for Change: Springfield and the Transformation of Urban America

This course examined Springfield as both a microcosm of challenges facing older industrial U.S. cities and a rich array of community change efforts that engage diverse issues and social actors. Students explored strategies for change through field trips, presentations by Springfield community leaders, written assignments, and readings grounded in an empirical analysis of changing cultural, economic and political conditions. This course was taught Fall 2013..

Futurescape City Tours

Futurescape City Tours is a national public engagement project that enables citizens to explore how new technologies are changing their cities. Springfield, MA, was one of six participating cities in 2013. In addition to UMass/CPPA, partners included the Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University, the Loka Institute, the Springfield Science Museum, Putnam Technical High School, the UMass Design Center, and U.S Congressman Richard Neal’s office, among others.

Resource Economics Practicum: Food Bank of Western MA

In this service-learning class, students did work to evaluate the adequacy of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits in Western MA in cooperation with the Food Bank of Western MA. They found that the current formula used by SNAP to determine the benefits of participants needs to be updated to capture the experience of people living in Western MA—particularly to reflect food and housing costs that are higher than the national average.

Urban Policies in Fair Housing

This service-learning class focuses on a significant and far reaching federal policy, The Fair Housing Act, as a springboard to explore many facets of urban life and policy including, but not limited to, housing, education, health, immigration, zoning, transportation, food security, voting and predatory lending. With this foundation, the second half of the semester focuses on a project with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center (MFHC) in Holyoke. MFHC will use our work to inform their fair housing program.

Social Thought and Political Economy Program Brown Bag Activist Lunch Series

Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC) students select community activists to invite to campus to deliver public talks and community discussions. Other enrolled students attend the events, read materials produced by the activists, meet separately for discussion, and write analytical papers on the activists' work.

ReGreen Springfield

Through our tree advocacy efforts, ReGreen Springfield has collaborated with businesses, community organizations, educational partners and government agencies to promote the reforestation of Springfield, improve growing conditions for trees and engage new allies in tree care and monitoring.

New Worlds of Adoption conference 2014, "Helping Families Overcome Early Adversity"

Children who have experienced foster care and adoption often have early childhood adversities that impact their development and complicate effective parenting. Keynote speaker Dr. Phil Fisher, of the University of Oregon, will discuss the effects of early stressful experiences on children's neurobiological and psychological development. In addition the conference will include panel discussions, topical concurrent sessions and posters displaying research and programs. Stay updated at:

Heritage Assessment and Community Development, Eleuthera, Bahamas

The Center for Heritage & Society has initiated a partnership with a community development organization on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas ( We have conducted a pilot research project (Historic Building Survey) in Governor's Harbor, and we have developed a community engagement web portal for use by our partners. Finally, we are now in the development phase of an archaeological survey and excavation project in Millars on the site of a former plantation in collaboration with the descendent community.

Treehouse Foundation of Easthampton

The Rudd Adoption Research Program has been involved with the Treehouse community on many levels. Treehouse is an inter-generational community in which elders and families with youth, who are or were in foster care, live together in an effort to support the youth.

Treehouse Foundation of Easthampton

The Rudd Adoption Research Program has been involved with the Treehouse community on many levels. Treehouse is an inter-generational community in which elders and families with youth, who are or were in foster care, live together in an effort to support the youth.

Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series

Every two years, the UMass Amherst History Department hosts the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series. This year-long series allows students, faculty and visiting scholars to explore a particular theme in depth. The Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass History Department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg (1967) and associates.

Hear Our Stories: Diasporic Youth for Sexual Rights and Justice

The “Hear Our Stories” program uses digital storytelling to work with young parenting Latinas in Holyoke to reveal the ways in which sexual and reproductive health disparities are embodied and discursively negotiated, and ultimately work to reframe public conversations on young motherhood and sexuality, health, and rights across generations.

Baystate Children's Hospital Patient, Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council aims to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and positive memorable health care experiences for children and their families at Baystate Children's Hospital. The Family Advisory Council meets quarterly to brainstorm ideas and provide insight into changes that will improve service to children and families.

"Video Vixens" in Hip Hop today

Special Event In conjunction with our production of Venus, the Department of Theater will host a free panel discussion and live demonstration examining the relationship between Baartman's image and the image of "Video Vixens" in Hip Hop today. To be held on April 5 at 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Atrium, the event will feature Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente and DJ Reborn. This special event is made possible in part by Amherst College, the Five College Multicultural Fund, the Lois E. Toko Fund, and the UMass Arts Council.

Public Engagement Project

The Public Engagement Project supports and trains faculty members to use their research to contribute to social change, inform public policy, and enrich public debate. Scholars learn new skills from experts and from each other to improve their communication and engagement with the media, community groups, policymakers, and practitioners.

Corporate Toxics Information Project

The Corporate Toxics Information Project analyzes and disseminates information from the US Environmental Protection Agency on corporate releases of toxic chemicals and the resulting exposures of communities to air and water pollution hazards. The Project aims to help community-based activists and socially responsible investors to translate the right to know into the right to clean air and water.

Flirting with Danger Film Screenings and Discussions

Community, high school, and college screenings and discussions of, "Flirting with Danger: Power and Choice in Heterosexual Relationships," were presented. The film explores consent and coercion in sexual and romantic relationships and is based on research by Lynn Phillips. It was shown locally at Amherst High School, Amherst College, Amherst Cinema, UMass Amherst Residence Life, UMass Amherst general screening (as part of the Coalition to End Rape Culture's Week of Action Against Rape), and will be shown at Greenfield Community College, too.

UMass Amherst Stroke and Aphasia Awareness Project

Founded and promoted by 2nd year graduate students in the Speech Language Pathology Program in the Dept. of Communication Disorders, the Stroke and Aphasia Awareness Project promotes community education on topics related to risk, prevention, awareness and treatment of stroke and aphasia. Past events have included an annual Walk for Aphasia, workshops on stroke and aphasia that include a panel of stroke survivors, and creation and dissemination of a website, brochures and digital stories that raise awareness of stroke and aphasia and chronicle the resilience of stroke survivors.

UMass Amherst Stroke Support Group

The UMass Amherst Stroke Support Group meets approximately monthly in the Dept. of Communication Disorders. It is open to stroke survivors and their significant others and provides a safe place for members to meet other stroke survivors and share resources, triumphs and challenges.

Northern Alaska Wellness Initiative

The collaborative engages tribal, educational, juvenile justice, clergy, behavioral health and youth program representatives from two regions and representing over twenty-six tribes to assess the developing and evaluating behavioral health services and programming. This group formed the Northern Alaska Wellness Initiative (NAWI), which meets annually to collaboratively assess and implement programming within and among the Northwest and Bering Straits Regions in Alaska so that they reflect community, tribal, and participant input.

Five College Magnet Theatre Residency

Cape Town-based Magnet Theatre will be in residency at UMass in Winter 2013. The residency will feature its artists Mark Fleishman, Jennie Reznek, Faniswa Yisa, and Neo Muyanga and will be centered on four performances of Magnet’s two-woman play, “Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking,” which is also part of the Department of Theater’s 40th Anniversary Season. The resident artists will visit classes, give guest lectures and demonstrations at several of the Five Colleges, and join UMass Assistant Professor of Theater Dr. Megan Lewis for the 2012 Rand Lecture.

New England Learning Center for Women in Transition

Valley Women's History Collaborative (VWHC) is working with NELCWIT to train students to collect the history of the founders of the New England Center for Women in Transition. The resulting oral histories are then made available to the organization for development purposes, fundraising or record keeping. The resulting oral histories, once collected and approved, are also made available through the VWHC records to the general public.