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Hanna Wellish '12, a student in the JBS Environmental Health and Justice Program, creates a short video about the students' work with Worcester Roots.

Philip Lu '11 writes about his experience in The Justice.

2010 students created impressive study posters. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Environmental Study
Environmental Study

Environmental Health and Justice

At a Glance

Program Overview

In this hands-on, multi-disciplinary, community-engaged learning program, students will become deeply immersed in the law, policy, social impacts and science of current environmental health issues challenging individuals, families and communities today.

The focus will be on low-income, diverse populations as we examine issues at the juncture of environmental challenges and social justice — toxic exposures in food, soils, air and water disproportionately affecting low income communities; decisions about location of hazardous waste facilities; access to environmentally safe and affordable housing and others.

Along with strong grounding in the course material, students will spend much of the time in the field and in the community, acquiring real skills for real needs to engage in these issues first-hand: Legal training, negotiation, advocacy, client interviewing and counseling, environmental field monitoring and assessment, sampling methodology and analysis and more.

Throughout the JBS program, students will collaborate directly with community organizations and government agencies to tackle environmental health problems facing low-income residents in the Waltham and Greater Boston community. We will also do other things together as a group; the summer 2010 Environmental Health and Justice JBS began with a 2-day stay on Cape Cod and included other beach trips, meals together and involvement at an environmental health conference.

A Sampling of Community-Engaged Projects from Summer 2010

  • Addressing high-risk housing issues and homelessness at the twice weekly Housing Advocacy Clinic at WATCH. All students in the JBS program are trained in housing law knowledge and skills in client interviewing, legal research and counseling to work in teams throughout the JBS with individual low income tenants, (many of whom are immigrants) to prevent evictions, improve sanitary conditions, find affordable housing and refer to other social service needs. 
  • Reducing childhood lead exposure in high-risk housing along with federal EPA, and Worcester Roots and other. Students in the summer 2010 program conducted an environmental health study to assess community-based efforts to address lead poisoning and elevated blood lead levels the effectiveness of Toxic Soil Buster’s efforts to remediate lead-contaminated soils in low income neighborhoods in Worcester.
  • Students created impressive posters of the environmental study in Worcester. Click on the images to enlarge.

Environmental Study

Environmental Study
    • Working with EPA to reduce risks to school children and teachers of toxic chemical exposure in public schools. The summer 2010 Environmental Health and Justice JBS worked in Fall River, MA to help identify, catalogue and properly manage hundreds of chemicals in the High School science labs, helping to put in place an integrated chemical management system for the school.
    • Working with at-risk youth in organic gardens on campus and in local schools, connecting kids with nature, promoting healthy choices around nutrition and physical activity and developing leadership skills with Healthy Waltham, Wayside Counseling Center and the Waltham Family YMCA. The summer 2010 environmental Health and Justice students worked throughout the program with challenged youth from Wayside building school gardens at the middle and other schools and keeping the Brandeis organic garden flourishing.
    • Combating particulate pollution from diesel buses in Roxbury with ACE by negotiating with MBTA and work with residents to bring more awareness to these issues.