Editor's note: This story is part of the10 on Tuesday series, which provides a fresh take on interesting university initiatives, research projects, campus happenings and more.
BRISTOL, R.I. – What started with a weeklong series of events and activities inspiring social awareness and activism at last fall’s Social Justice Week is now reaching across campus to include more than 30 student groups, academic and administrative departments to work together on a movement creating social change and equity for all members of Roger Williams University. From courses such as Writing for Social Change to events like Leadership Unity Day, individual campus groups have already been encouraging more diversity, tolerance and cultural sensitivity – but this semester, an initiative was launched to establish a campus-wide culture of social activism and inclusion.
They were just simple steps – tweeting and shooting out an email – but they were all it took for Molly Katchpole ’11 to ignite her inner activist, the RWU alumna told students at the concluding event for Social Justice Week on campus last Friday.
In 2011, Katchpole had recently graduated from RWU’s art and architectural history program and was living in Washington, D.C., working two jobs and counting down the days until her six-month student loan repayment grace period would end. With the Occupy Wall Street movement in full force at that time, the public’s discontent concerning economic justice was palpable – everyone, including Katchpole, heard Occupy’s frustration in the news, on the Internet and in social media outlets. So when Bank of America announced a plan to institute a $5 monthly fee for its debit card users to access their money – which would hit Katchpole and other low-income Americans hardest – it was the last straw for her. And then it happened….
BRISTOL, R.I. -- Whether it’s engaging in a worldwide virtual discussion on the future of densely populated cities, or learning to inspire involvement from RWU alumna Molly Katchpole ’11 – who successfully petitioned Bank of America to drop a debit card transaction fee that hit low-income people hardest – a variety of events to inspire your inner activist will take place on campus during Social Justice Week, October 22 to 26.
After recognizing a need on campus to inspire more diversity, tolerance and cultural and social sensitivity, faculty members in the History and American Studies Department developed this inaugural weeklong series of events – co-sponsored by several departments and on-campus student groups – to encourage students to engage in social justice issues in ways that are meaningful to them.