Spring 2011

These grants have been awarded to student- and/or faculty/staff-initiated projects that address issues of identity, pluralism and unity.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Recipient: Stephanie Lee
Brandeis Asian American Student Association
Each year Brandeis Asian-American Students Association hosts this month-long celebration to recognize the struggles and accomplishments of Asian Americans.  The month will consist of performances showcasing pieces of their cultures, ethnicities, experiences, and identities, guest speakers and performers, plus the SKIN fashion show. This year's theme is "GenerAsian: The Transforming Asian American," chosen to demonstrate how Asian Americans are a changing group of people with a rich background that will continue to evolve and make significant contributions to the community.

Cultural Food Extravaganza
Recipients: Jessye Kass and Avital DeSharone
The Cultural Food Extravaganza is a combination of 6+ cultural groups on campus providing a food dish to the Brandeis community. The goals of this project are to increase awareness on campus of the different cultures here at Brandeis, and around the world. Although we are multi-cultural by definition at Brandeis, too often do people pass by the cultural groups without pausing to ask about their culture. The Expo will help foster discussion and learning all the while enjoying yummy and diverse foods!

ELL Book Project
Recipient: Heather Lourie
Brandeis English Language Learning Initiative
Since 2001, the Brandeis English Language Learning Initiative has been working with the aim of providing free English lessons to facilities and cafeteria staff at Brandeis. Each year, the ELL Initiative creates and distributes a unique book of stories written by our learners focusing on a specific theme. This book represents the hard work and effort that the learners and tutors put in to this program over the course of the semester, and it shows the progress that our learners have made. The book bridges our aims of teaching both English language to Brandeis staff and an appreciation of the cultural diversity on campus to the general populace.

Feminist Speaker Series
Recipient: Jennifer Wang
Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance
This Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance project is bringing a series of speakers relevant to their goals of feminist activism around campus. Their project stands as a mission to expand the discussion about the sexual politics surrounding women in the media and the public arena, in addition to set a stage for a discussion on the pressures and influences of young women. An open question-and-answer forum will be provided and thus offers the opportunity for the Brandeis community to speak with women who have a deep grasp of what it is to be a feminist activist.

Holi and Uttarayan
Recipients: Jasnam Sachathep and Ramya Kuchibatla
The festival of Holi is the celebration of the coming of Spring and also signifies the triumph of good over evil. Holi - the festival of colors - is undoubtedly the most fun-filled and boisterous festival celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs. It's an occasion that brings in unadulterated joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, and, of course, lots of bright colors! Uttarayan, signifies the end of winter to remind you that the warmth will be here soon. People celebrate it all across India as they fly kites. There is a feeling of anticipation, joy and jubilation that grips all who celebrate the occasion of thanksgiving and merry-making. They will engage the Brandeis community in this event through the activities of playing with colors and water, kite flying and serving Indian food, as well as sharing information and the significance of these important holidays.

I Am Present
Recipients: Aissatou Ka and Philips Loh
Student Support Services Program 
The event will feature a documentary created by current Student Support Services Program (SSSP) students about the accomplishments of first-generation students, staff and faculty. Members of the SSSP are first generation and/or low-income or have overcome financial and/other barriers to attend Brandeis.. With this event, we will present who we as individuals are now, in the community, as leaders, as peers and who we hope to become. We hope our documentary will fuel enlightening discussions, and that these discussions will resonate with members of the Brandeis Community regardless of their educational status. This events aims to bring together members of the Brandeis Community, who have been instrumental in our success, as well as educate those who may be unfamiliar with our educational experiences and contributions to Brandeis.

Recipient: SooHyun Kim
Brandeis Korean Student Association
Since many people within the Brandeis community and Boston area are not aware of Korean culture, the Korean Students Association holds the event “K-Nite” to introduce the beauty of Korean culture to all. KSA will present the traditional culture of Korea by Poongmool, Fan Dance, and Korean Fashion Show. In addition, this year’s theme will revolve around a traditional Korean classroom,  so the KSA will incorporate various school activities throughout the entire show. Also, diverse Korean cuisines will be provided after the show so those who were not exposed to Korean culture before can enjoy the show and food at the same time.

Life Through Our Eyes
Recipients: Equiano Moiseri and Marya Lowry
Ten performers from a wide variety of backgrounds whose ten, 20 minute, self devised, solo theatre pieces will address issues of social injustice, race, prejudice, price of liberation and more. We will be colliding universes of diverse communities to bring two nights of shared experience through stage performance. This project is the culminating performance work of three intensive years of professional actor training. The shows are diverse from one another yet part of a common attempt to portray shared human experience, which is the ultimate definition of art and pluralism.

Musika Rox-Rhythms of the Middle East
Recipients: Micky Waks and Zoha Hussein
Every year B'Yachad has a show in the spring to show off all of our hard work, and this year the show is called Musika Rox: Rhythms of the Middle East. Musika means music in Hebrew and Rox means dance in Arabic, and our show is going to be a coming together of various middle eastern cultures through an artistic lens. B'yachad will perform 6 pieces ourselves, as we are the host, and then we have many other performances from different on and off campus clubs. It will be a night of music, dance, and poetry from several different Middle Eastern cultures, allowing for the conflict in the Middle East to be put aside for the purposes of creative expression.

One Man Show by Regie Cabico
Recipients: Emily Bunker Peterson and Jason Henry Simon-Bierenbaum
The performance of a one man show by Regie Cabico, as well as a workshop led by Regie. His piece tells his own coming out story and explores the ways in which his own homosexuality interacts with his Catholic background, the significance of being a Filipino-American, and being in college while discovering his own identity. This project addresses themes of belonging to a minority, being queer, breaking from your parents’ traditions, and both confronting and transforming the significance of one’s background while in college-- all of which Brandeis students can identify with or relate to.

Recipients: Emily Dunning and Marissa Linzi
Hold Thy Peace
Hold Thy Peace (HTP), Brandeis’ student-led Shakespeare group, is producing Othello this spring. We are performing the classic play in a steampunk setting, with Othello the only “real” man and every other character a cyborg. Steampunk is a science fiction genre and aesthetic based on Victorian visions of utopia, usually realized with conservative fashions, advanced steam-powered machines, and lots of brass. There will be a talk-back after one of the performances to discuss what it means to symbolize Othello’s otherness as a human among cyborgs, as opposed to the traditional Moor among Europeans. These issues have a lot of potential for sparking sustained, enlightening discourse across campus, especially within theatre and speculative fiction communities. Brandeis as a whole would benefit from seriously considering the very important role of race within the arts.

Sex and Sexualities Symposium's Annual Undergraduate Research Conference
Recipients: Jennifer Edwards and Halee Brown
Sex and Sexualities Symposium
This interdisciplinary conference, invites Brandeis undergraduate students to present their own research papers pertaining to sex, sexualities, and gender. This year's conference will be making a substantial leap forward by opening participation to other Boston area undergraduates. With such an open forum, the conference will promote research in the areas of sex, sexualities, and gender for participants and spectators alike, as well as foster a community coming from diverse disciplines, identities, and cultures to engage them in active dialogue inspired by the topics covered.

The Multicultural Freedom Seder
Recipients: Erica Shaps and Andrea Wexler
Freedom Seder
The Freedom Seder is a multicultural and multifaith event recalling the story of the Exodus and past successful liberation movements. Our Seder would include reading passages, songs, and prayers over a shared meal. The primary goal is to share the Seder tradition, express concerns about modern oppression, and share an important meal with groups and people on campus with which may normally not interact. In addition, the mock Seder will give students a formally non-existent opportunity to celebrate the holiday with their friends on campus and share its meaning with the community. It will also connect Brandeis’ Jewish roots and commitment to social justice to students of diverse backgrounds in a tangible and meaningful way. We are excited for an event that is meaningful, fun, inclusive and a glimpse into both Brandeis cultural and religious diversity and commitment to a more just and free world.

True Colors
Recipient: Zachary Spence
Out Youth Theater is a theater troupe for LGBT/queer and allied youth, ages 14-22, who live in the Boston area. These youth come from diverse backgrounds, and most are considered underprivileged. Each season, the troupe members write their own original theater pieces based on their personal experiences and tour the Boston area to perform them, advocating for and educating on LGBTQ issues. After their performance, the troupe members hold a talk-back session in which audience members can ask questions about the youths, their pieces, or even queer issues. Triskelion will bring this season’s True Colors troupe to Brandeis to showcase their message of accepting and understanding diversity, and for the audience walk away from this event understanding that everyone has different life experiences, and that identities are complex, multifaceted, and ever in flux.

Worker Appreciation BBQ
Recipient: Rachel Sier
Brandeis Labor Coalition
The Brandeis Labor Coalition (BLC) will be hosting its annual Worker Appreciation BBQ at the end of this term. The event will feature a buffet of different foods from local Waltham restaurants. The purpose of our event is to celebrate the contributions of Brandeis custodial, facility and dining workers, showing them that students value them as an integral part of our community. Custodial, facility and dining workers are a huge asset to the Brandeis community, but often go unnoticed. The BLC is committed to building better ties between facility workers and students, and through this event we hope to provide an environment where all members of our community can come together, share food, and form closer relationships.