With August right around the corner, student-leaders and staff are working hard to polish the final details for Root – a first year EphVenture program that explores identity, social justice and sustainability.
Through activities on and off campus, Root participants learn more about the role of identity in the culture and history of Williams, as well as in the surrounding community. Traditionally, participants travel to North Adams to explore the ways identity and sustainability can be expressed through art, in part by taking a trip to MASS MoCA. This year’s leadership team hopes to expound upon that tradition by listening to oral histories of the city as told by North Adams residents, which were recorded by Isabel Peña ‘19 for a class project last year.
“We hope to provide new Ephs with historical context to give them a better understanding of where they are,” Fall 2017 Root Director, Olivia Goodheart ‘19, explained. “Historically, social justice and student activism have been an integral part of creating change at Williams. We want students to be aware of that, and feel empowered to contribute to this change.
“We hope to provide new Ephs with historical context to give them a better understanding of where they are…Historically, social justice and student activism have been an integral part of creating change at Williams. We want students to be aware of that, and feel empowered to contribute to this change.”
Even if students are not experienced with activism, Root still provides a unique learning experience for first-years. As one of the smaller EphVenture programs, Root participants, affectionately known as Rooties, have the opportunity to build strong relationships with other participants.
Additionally, programming around identity encourages students to explore who they are and who they want to be during their time at Williams.
“Root will give first-years the tools they need to thrive and find community at Williams for the next four years.” said Goodheart.
Going into its fourth year, Root itself is still growing and evolving. This year, Goodheart and six other Root leaders will welcome the highest number of Rooties to date. “We’re really excited about welcoming the Class of 2021,” said Goodheart referencing her team. “Many of this year’s leaders were also participants in Root. We know how memorable this experience was for us and we hope this year’s participants have a similar experience.”
More info about Root, organized by the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives and the Davis Center, can be found on the EphVentures website. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact Olivia Goodheart ‘19 at [email protected]
Sarah Ritzmann ‘17 is a Sustainable Writing Intern with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives .