The exterior entrance of the UMass Amherst Center at Springfield
University News

Keynote Speaker Jallicia Jolly to Lead Off UWW Department of Interdisciplinary Studies’ Social Justice Residency Weekend

Jallicia Jolly
Jallicia Jolly

Jallicia Jolly, assistant professor of American studies and Black studies at Amherst College, will deliver a keynote presentation to launch the University Without Walls Interdisciplinary Studies’ (UWW IS) 2024 Social Justice Residency on Friday, April 26, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the UMass Amherst Center at Springfield at 1500 Main Street in the Tower Square building. The presentation is free and open to the public, though online registration is required by Monday, April 22.

Jolly, who describes herself as a public scholar, equity practitioner, and reproductive justice organizer with investments in research-informed social action, will present “Justice in Practice: Black Women's Activism and Pathways to Social Transformation.” 

The public event, funded by the Chancellor's Community, Democracy, and Dialogue (CDD) working group, will kick off the UWW IS’ Social Justice Residency (SJR), an in-person two-credit course for UWW IS students who are pursuing their bachelor’s degree through the UWW Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. 

This year’s Social Justice Residency theme is “Good Trouble: Everyday Activism and the Pursuit of Justice,” and will give UWW IS students an opportunity to delve into what social justice means and how it is interconnected with their daily lives. Saturday and Sunday programming will include workshops, panelist presentations, and discussions exploring the intricacies of activism and advocacy coalition building, and work toward advancing positive social change. Registered students who cannot attend the residency in person will attend remotely via Zoom.

According to UWW IS Interim Chair Julie Skogsbergh, who is also Residency co-faculty, and original founder Mitch Boucher, the SJR was developed more than a decade ago by former and current UWW IS faculty who taught and developed community engaged programming out of the UMass Amherst Center at Springfield. The organizing committee is comprised of UWW IS faculty, staff, students and alumni. 

“The majority of UWW IS students are completing their bachelor’s degree online as working adults with family responsibilities, so attending college would otherwise not be an option for them,” Boucher said. “Many of our students are eager for some in-person and/or synchronous learning opportunities, and many are interested in issues related to social justice.”

Skogsbergh notes the majority of UWW IS students come from Massachusetts and live in the western Massachusetts area with the highest percentage of students coming from Hampden County. Most are transfer students with some college and/or have an associate degree from community college. 

For more information about the keynote presentation, visit the University Without Walls April 26 Social Justice Residency webpage. Contact Julie Skogsbergh at or Mitch Boucher at for information about the Social Justice Residency weekend.