Past SJCH Events

Fall 2020Fall 2018 | Summer 2018 | Spring 2018  | Fall 2017 Spring 2017 | Fall 2016 | Spring 2016 | Fall 2015 

Fall 2020

Environmental Justice & COVID-19

This coffee hour was a collaboration between the Medical University of South Carolina's Sustainability Department and the College of Charleston's Center for Sustainable Development. This Social Justice Coffee Hour/Conversation Café focuses on health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing the intersections of environmental justice and the effects of COVID-19. The panel spoke about how the global event is highlighting and amplifying environmental injustice in our communities. This session covered the science of how environmental pollution affects communities and how this links to higher COVID-19 mortality. The panel also discussed a path forward and how we can protect ourselves and our communities from these overlapping challenges.

Panelists: Omar Muhammad, Fisheries Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources; Dr. Vijay Vulava, Professor of Environmental Geochemistry at the College of Charleston; Dr. Brian Bossack, Associate Professor of Public Health at the College of Charleston

Moderated by: Rachel Whitbeck, Jayne Pardys, Marla Robertson, and John Brooker

Held November 18, 2020

Homelessness & Climate Change 

This coffee hour focused on Homelessness & Climate Change. We invited experienced community leaders to address current challenges and the city’s response to providing shelters, housing and resources for individuals experiencing homelessness. Our most vulnerable communities continue to be affected by climate change and environmental issues.

Panelists: Dr. Robert W. Kahle, Associate Director of the Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities; Amy Wilson, Chief Compliance Officer at One80 Place; Christopher Jardin, Community and Homelessness Coordinator for the City of Charleston

Moderated by: Jayne Pardys, Social Justice Coffee Hour Intern at the Center for Sustainable Development and Marla Robertson, MPA Program Coordinator and CAP Director

Held October 29, 2020 

Fall 2018

Toxic Masculinity & Sexual Assault

This coffee hour explored the meaning of toxic masculinity and its impact on sexual assault. Around this dialogue we delved into three testimonies of men who have either been the victims of or witnesses to sexual assault and domestic violence, aiming to eradicate the assumption that there is only one kind of survivor of sexual assault. Male perspectives are often overlooked in combating the issue of sexual assault on campus because ignorance and a lack of consent education play a large role in perpetuating this issue. At this coffee hour, we aimed to provide a welcoming environment for people of all genders to ask questions, share experiences, and offer solutions.

This event was organized by Grace Headrick '19 and Vanity Reid Deterville '20, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator. This discussion was facilitated by: Andrew Denning, President of Delta Tau Delta and current Junior Logan McRae, Captain of the baseball team and current senior Christian A. Rainey, Founder/CEO of Men Against Domestic Violence (M.A.D.) USA

Summer 2018

Refugees & Neo-Imperialism

In partnership with the SPECTRA program at the College of Charleston, a college prep program for first-generation college students within CofC Multicultural Student Programs and Services. Dr. Hollis France, of the Political Science Dept. and the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Dept., facilitated a lecture on the present immigration crisis, which is the culmination many centuries of exploitation, destabilization, displacement, and dispossession of peoples in Latin America as perpetuated by U.S. policy, military involvement, and economic intervention. She wanted participants to understand that U.S. citizens are participating in the disadvantaging and dehumanizing of people from Latin America and to ultimately see this crisis as a social justice issue.
This was our second annual partnership event and was organized by Crystina Perez '18, Pablo Palacios '19, and Vanity Reid Deterville '20, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator, and Adrian Barry, Office Manager.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Dr. Hollis France - Professor of Political Science and Director of the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center at the College of Charleston

Spring 2018

Social & Environmental Mindfulness

Fast FashionAt this coffee hour, we discussed how mindfulness plays a role in civic engagement and social justice work. Utilizing mindfulness, it is possible to view sustainability through a lens that also considers how social justice plays a key part in determining whether a community can be considered sustainable. We built on the speakers' mindfulness practices to discuss how they live sustainable lifestyles. Finally, we discussed the barriers that marginalized communities often experience when it comes to living a "sustainable lifestyle", versus those who hold privilege.
This event was organized by Vanity Reid Deterville '20, an Office of Sustainability intern, with guidance from Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Dr. Kristi Brian, Faculty in the School of Humanities and Social Science and Environmental and Sustainability Studies
Kerry Wischusen, President of the Meditation Club and Member of the CofC Mindfulness Initiative
Dr. Jen Wright, Faculty in the Psychology Department

Destigmatizing HIV

At this coffee hour, we reflected on the changing social and political climate surrounding HIV in the past several decades and how that has impacted the speakers' perceptions of it. The speakers then spoke about the most impacted demographic in South Carolina and in the United States that is affected by HIV. We discussed the trends around new diagnoses at Lowcountry Aids Services and people's willingness to return for treatment. Finally, we unpacked what it would take to destigmatize and decriminalize HIV, in both the educational and legislative spheres.
This event was organized by Vanity Reid Deterville '20, an Office of Sustainability intern, with guidance from Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Kim Butler Willis, Program Director at the Ryan White Wellness Center
Michael Luciano, Peer Educator and Board Chairman MUSC / LAS Consumer Advisory Board
Bennett Anthony, Adult Film Star

Coded Language

Coded LanguageWe spent the first half of the coffee hour describing what coded language is, including examples relevant to our local and state policies. Together, the group looked at headlines and news clips that used blatant examples of coded language. We underlined the importance of eradicating coded language not only from our vernacular, but also in policy reform. Finally, we spent the second half of the coffee hour working our way through a piece of legislation to pick out the coded language, discussing who or what it might actually be referring to.
This event was organized by Vanity Reid Deterville '20, an Office of Sustainability intern, with guidance from Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Domenico Ruggerio, Associate Director of the Center for Civic Engagement
Dr. Rachel McKinnon, Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at the College of Charleston

Fall 2017

Advocacy 101

The purpose of this event was to provide a platform for our three panelists to speak on the multiple scales of activism that they occupy. The panel took a critical approach to recent events in the media, analyzing how privilege often dictates the public’s perception of various forms of activism. We provided avenues through which students can funnel their feelings of apathy or dismay over recent events into effective forms of advocacy and showed students that that there is no one right way to be an activist.
This event was organized by Kenndal Rote '17 and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, as well as Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator, with guidance from Dr. Ashley Lavender, Internship & Student Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
George Hopkins - President of the Charleston Chapter of the SC Progressive Network and Professor Emeritus of History at the College of Charleston
Jasmine Gil - Community Outreach Coordinator at the Coastal Conservation League
Princess Hollis - Organizer at Carolina Youth Action Project & Southerners on New Ground
This discussion was moderated by:
Dr. Claire Wofford - Assistant Professor in the Political Science Dept. at the College of Charleston

Natural Disasters & Community Resilience

Natural Disasters & Community Resilience The purpose of this panel was to illustrate the connection between natural disasters and community resilience and address what kind of qualities make a community "resilient". We discussed why a community’s resilience determines how they are affected by a natural disaster, specifically focusing on Charleston, South Carolina as a case study. Students learned what makes their community resilient and what they could potentially do to help in a future natural disaster.
This event was organized by Kenndal Rote '17, an Office of Sustainability intern, with guidance from Adrian Barry, Office Manager, and Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Dr. Matthew Nowlin - Professor of Political Science at the College of Charleston
Kelly Thorvalson - Conservation Program Manager at the South Carolina Aquarium
Dr. Barry Stiefel - Professor of Art and Architectural History at the College of Charleston
This discussion was moderated by:
Dr. Brian Fisher - Associate Professor in the Political Science Dept. and Sustainability Director in Business Affairs at the College of Charleston

Street Harassment & Society

The panel took a critical approach to understand what street harassment is, why it happens, and what can be done about it. We discussed ways one can respond to street harassment, both as an individual and as a by-stander, but also acknowledged the many obstacles to combatting and addressing street harassment that might stand in his/her way, on personal and political scales.

This event was organized by Kenndal Rote '17, an Office of Sustainability intern, with guidance from Adrian Barry, Office Manager, and Bianca LaPaz '19, Assistant Internship Coordinator.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Ali Titus - Director at the CofC Community Assistance Program & Member of the City of Charleston Commission on Women
Dr. Hollis France - Director of the Gender and Sexual Equity Center & Professor in the Political Science Dept. at the College of Charleston
This discussion was moderated by:
Kenndal Rote - Street Harassment Researcher & Psychology Major at the College of Charleston

Spring 2017

Fast Fashion

Fast FashionAt this coffee hour, we familiarized the audience with the concept of fast fashion and the many issues it perpetuates. We delved into the idea of a constant pressure to consume, which can be created through advertisements as well as the shortened lifespan of our clothing, also known as planned obsolescence. To mitigate fast fashion, we entertained ideas of alternative forms of consuming clothing, but acknowledged that there can be individual and systemic barriers to slow fashion.
This event was organized by Bianca LaPaz '19, Aisha Gallion '17, Kelly Jackson '18, and Crystina Perez '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Lexa Keane - Local Seamstress & Designer
Dr. Beatriz Maldonado - Economics Department at the College of Charleston
Harper Poe - Founder of Proud Mary: Global Textiles

Water: A Human Right?

waterrightsIn this coffee hour, we discussed how access to clean water can be limited by race and income, referring to a prolific example in the media such as the Flint Water Crisis. We talked about the risk of corporations attempting to privatize water and weighed the ethics of such an act, as well as question of who deserves to have stewardship over a water source. We also briefly discussed the personal action of reducing one's water consumption and what kind of ramifications this may have.

This event was organized by Crystina Perez '18, Bianca LaPaz '19, Aisha Gallion '17, and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.
This discussion was facilitated by:
Cheryl Carmack - Staff Scientist at the Charleston Waterkeeper

Immigration as a Lived Experience

immigrationsjchAt this coffee hour, which coincided with Sustainability Week 2017, we discussed the historic trends that have contributed to increased immigration into the United States, especially from countries in Central and South America. We had participants weigh in on recent pop culture that was attempting to tackle such a complex topic, as well as the widely known A Day Without Immigrants that fell on February 16th, 2017. The recently imposed travel ban in January 2017 was also a major topic of discussion. Finally, we explored how perspectives on immigration can vary and change with time. 

This event was organized by Kelly Jackson '18, Crystina Perez '18, Bianca LaPaz '19, and Aisha Gallion '17, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.
This discussion was facilitated by:
Dr. Hollis France - Professor of Political Science and Director of the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center at the College of Charleston
Tanya Garcia - CofC Alum, Baltimore-based Artist, and Curator of the After the Border exhibit

Fall 2016

Food Insecurity & SNAP Benefits

In collaboration with Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week at the Center for Civic Engagement, we discussed what it takes to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and how there is often stigma involved in applying to the program. We also focused on vulnerable populations that may experience food insecurity, like children, teenagers, and seniors, and the barriers that can inhibit them from receiving SNAP benefits, such as rules for qualifying and recertification. Finally, we ended with learning how food insecurity can exacerbate other social justice issues, such as domestic violence, homelessness, or gentrification.


This event was organized by Bianca LaPaz '19, Aisha Gallion '17, and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.


This discussion was facilitated by:
Andrew Peiffer - Lowcountry Food Bank Volunteer Manager
Dana Mitchel - Lowcountry Food Bank Nutrition Manager

Environmental Racism

At this coffee hour, we discussed the institutional and systemic reasons environmental racism impacts low-income communities of color and how such harms are ignored or neglected. We explored the ways environmental racism can impact communities beyond just health issues. Finally, we brainstormed ways that this issue can be eradicated at the grassroots level and with policy reform.


This event was organized by Aisha Gallion '17, Bianca LaPaz '19, and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.


This discussion was facilitated by:
Dr. Kristi Brian - Women's and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston
Omar Muhammad - President of the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities and the Charleston Community Research to Action Board Project Coordinator

Aging Populations

Aging PopulationsFor Aging Populations, our panelists spoke about their day-to-day experiences with the elderly population of Charleston. Roundtable discussions explored topics such as elder abuse, neglect, and what measures the government can take in ensuring that aging populations are taken care of.


This event was organized by Kelly Jackson '18, Bianca LaPaz '19, and Aisha Gallion '17, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Katelyn Scheetz '16, Assistant Internship Program Manager.

This discussion was facilitated by:
Jamie Roper - Coordinator from the Mayors Office on Aging (MOA)
Professor Brenda Sanders - M.S. Geronotology
Berita Martin - Senior Companion Program Director from Charleston Area Senior Citizens

Spring 2016

Indigenous Rights


Indigenous Rights

Indigenous communities face many social and environmental issues, issues which tend to get compounded over time. This discussion sought to explore some of these issues, as well as to address some of the common misconceptions about these communities and the people that live in them.

This event was organized by Nicole Fernandez '16 and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Ashlyn Spilis Hochschild, Internship Student Coordinator.

Identity

Identity

This discussion was held in collaboration with the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center's Gender Equity Week and focused on the subject of identity. Historically, a misunderstanding of intersecting identities has led to injustice and marginalization of social groups. Discussion was held around the global intersectionality of identities and how they interact on multiple levels, how different sets of identities lead to discrimination and oppression, how identities are perceived and defined, and how we can begin to rethink equality and power.

This event was organized by Nicole Fernandez '16 and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Ashlyn Spilis Hochschild, Internship Student Coordinator.

Guest Facilitators Included:
Marla Robertson: Gender and Sexuality Equity Center and Transformative Teaching Collective
Domenico Ruggerio: Associate Director, CofC Center for Civic Engagement

Mental Health

MentalThis Social Justice Coffee Hour discussion focused on various aspects of mental health in modern society. Our panelists discussed common stigmas associated with mental health issues, how they generally are not treated with the same degree of seriousness and care that physical illnesses are, and how a general lack of empathy towards these issues can translate to other aspects of a person's life. 

This event was organized by Nicole Fernandez '16 and Kelly Jackson '18, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Ashlyn Spilis Hochschild, Internship Student Coordinator.
Guest Facilitators Included:
Elizabeth Blackwell-Sapp: Licensed Independant Social Worker, The Citadel Counseling Center
Dr. Sarah Robertson: Clinical Psychologist, College of Charleston
Kelsea Sears: Research Specialist, MUSC Health and College of Charleston Alumni

Fall 2015

Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

Veterans
This month our topic was Veterans Experiencing Homelessness. The panelists spoke about ways in which society can work to prevent veterans from experiencing homelessness, and to get those who already do out of it. During roundtable discussions, attendees were able to discuss stigmas surrounding homeless, as well as the ways in which everyday people can help veterans experiencing it.

This event was organized by Nicole Fernandez '16 and Aisha Gallion '17, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Ashlyn Spilis Hochschild, Internship Student Coordinator.
This discussion was facilitated by:
Bradford Cashman: Director of Community Engagement, One-Eighty Place
Jessica McMahan: Veteran & Military Student Services Coordinator, College of Charleston
This event was a partnership with the CofC Center for Civic Engagement's, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Women in the Workplace

Women
This discussion focused on Women in the Workplace. The panelists spoke about their experiences as women in a workplace primarily ruled by men. Our attendees then separated into breakout groups where they were able to share their experiences and discuss ways in which gender issues can coincide with problems surrounding race, class, and sexuality.

This event was organized by Nicole Fernandez '16 and Aisha Gallion '17, Office of Sustainability interns, with guidance from Ashlyn Spilis Hochschild, Internship Student Coordinator.
This discussion was facilitated by:
Amanda Baldwin: Development and Program Manager, Center for Women
Jen Jones: Facilities Coordinator for Sustainability, College of Charleston
Tonya Mitchell: Executive Head Chef for the College of Charleston, Aramark Dining Services