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Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Advocacy in the Public Domain

Leadership at the Weissman Center often takes the form of advocacy. We are not content with merely learning about compelling issues—we step forward to conduct necessary research, construct actionable policies, shape public opinion, run for office, and impact decision-making. Now more than ever, our academic strengths need to be relevant in the public domain, and many of us strive to translate and serve as public intellectuals.  Such ventures come with challenges and may require new training (and courage).

This year, we engage in an event series that delves into Advocacy in the Public Domain by showcasing those who are actively shaping the public discourse around a range of compelling issues, whether within science policy, environmental justice, race and power, and the arts. We look to scholars such as Claudia Rankine, who advocates for inclusive dialogue in the arts, and to Arlene Dávila for exploring the politics of race and space in the art world. Robert Musil presents life lessons to advance environmental legislation, and Shaughnessy Naughton reveals the connection between advocacy and science policy. With the media as a crucial driving force affecting political opinion, CNN reporter Tanzina Vega delves into race in the media, and communications expert Erin Hennessy offers strategic tools to amplify our voices when we advocate for a cause.  Samuel Ace, Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Mount Holyoke College will deliver an exciting reading and talk.  His presentation is titled "Poetry and Sound: Reading, Performance, and Conversation with Samuel Ace".  Yarimar Bonilla, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, will explore the temporal politics of recovery in Puerto Rico, examining how catastrophic events impact our experience of time, progression, social action, and political possibility.  Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will propel us to action as she discusses transformational leadership in times of crisis at her talk in April to the Mount Holyoke College community. Consider joining us for a special student event, Law and Public Service: Using a Law Degree for the Public Good, with attorneys Lizabel M. Negrón-Vargas  and Edgardo L. Rivera Rivera.

Please join us this year for our Event Series, as we partner across campus, leverage our historical strengths, and contribute to this timely conversation.

Leadership Seminar with Shaughnessy Naughton

The chemist and science policy advocate spoke on political engagement, STEM leadership and more on September 21, 2017.

Student Master Class with Claudia Rankine

An interactive Student Master Class on writing and the arts was held September 28, 2017.

Leadership Seminar with Claudia Rankine

An informal seminar to discuss students’ questions about careers, leadership, the arts, social change, and beyond was held September 28, 2017.

Public Lecture by Arlene Dávila

“Latinos, Race and the Politics of Space Making in the Art World” by Arlene Dávila, author and NYU professor. February 1 at 4:30 p.m. in Dwight 101.
Robert K. Musil PhD, MPH, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council

Public Lecture by Robert Musil

“Is Anybody Listening? Lessons from a Life in Advocacy” by Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH. October 3 at 4:30 p.m. in Dwight 101.

Public Lecture by Tanzina Vega

“The Media and Race: Why It Matters” by Tanzina Vega, CNN Money's national reporter. November 2 at 4:30 pm in Dwight 101.

Leadership Workshop with Erin Hennessy

“Finding—and Using—Your Voice: A Communications Toolkit for Advocates" by Erin Hennessy was held on February 9, 2018.

Public Lecture by Yarimar Bonilla

“The Wait of Disaster: Hurricanes and the Politics of Recovery in Puerto Rico” by Yarimar Bonilla, Associate Professor at Rutgers University
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, Mayor of San Juan, PR

Lecture by the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto spoke to the Mount Holyoke College community on transformational leadership in times of crises on April 26, 2018. Watch the video.