Dr. Danielle Allen

Photo Credit: Melissa Blackall

April 30, 2024

Danielle Allen, a nationally recognized public policy leader and expert on democracy, has been selected as the winner of the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize by Brandeis University.

Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, where she also directs the Allen Lab for Democracy Renovation. Allen co-chaired the the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, which was formed to explore responses to societal and institutional vulnerabilities in political and civic life.

Class picture of Neil Swidey's "Reinventing Journalism" class at Brandeis University Spring 2024

April 29, 2024

River Simard wrote an investigative piece on electronic Soofa signs in Brookline, Massachusetts, revealing the digital advertising signs collect data from pedestrian’s phones without residents' knowledge. The Orwellian technology soon became the talk of the town, and views of Simard’s article skyrocketed until it became the most read story on the Brookline.News website.

Simard wrote the article through a partnership between Neil Swidey’s Reinventing Journalism course at Brandeis and Brookline.News.

Stiving to offer students real newsroom experiences and ensure equity for students, Swidey received an internal grant from the Center for Community Partnership and Civic Transformation (COMPACT), as well as an external grant from the Cumming Foundation to fund transportation, food, and any other costs related to reporting in the field.

Roy DeBerry

Photo Credit: Chris Day

April 12, 2024

From their suburban campus, Brandeis students are making an impact and learning from students in rural Benton County, Mississippi, a community at the center of the civil rights movement six decades ago.

Through an initiative known as the Ashland Brandeis Connection, 13 Brandeis undergraduate volunteers, living more than 1,000 miles from the Ashland School District, are tutoring students in math twice weekly by Zoom. 

The program was developed through a partnership between the civil and community rights leader Roy DeBerry ’70, GSAS MA’78, PhD’79 and mathematics professor Rebecca Torrey, who were brought together by the Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT).

African Waltham students present a big homemade "thank you" card to Melody Mentors

Photo Credit: Tony Thein

April 16, 2024

On a Saturday afternoon, 15 high school students were sitting inside of a Sound and Image Media Studios classroom. After enjoying some snacks, the groups split into several areas across the SIMS department rooms to finalize their projects from the semester. These projects are part of Melody Mentors, an initiative which began in the spring of 2023. Melody Mentors is an initiative which plans to run every spring semester as part of Basement Records, a student-run organization on campus dedicated to supporting student musicians, and with support from Samuels Ceneter for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation. The program matches high school students throughout the Waltham area with Brandeis students to support them in their musical careers.

Julian Winters, Cameron Samuels, Tanishia Lavette Williams, PhD

Photo Credit: Jonas Kaplin

April 9, 2024

In a recent interview with The Justice, best-selling author Julian Winters shared insights into the impact of censorship on LGBTQ+ and Black, indigenous, and people of color literature. Reflecting on his involvement in Lambda Literary’s LGBTQ+ Writers in Schools program, Winters addressed the decline in opportunities for authors to engage with young readers due to mounting censorship pressures.

This event was organized with funding from COMPACT's Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf and Ari Hahn Peace Awards and the ENACT Educate and Advocate Grant.

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer Presenting Keynote

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

March 1, 2024

“Most of us find ourselves embedded in an economy that asks what more we can take, rather than ‘what can we give?’ That has us hanging on the precipice of biodiversity loss and climate catastrophe,” said celebrated ecologist, educator, and author Robin Wall Kimmerer, the recipient of the 2024 Richman Distinguished Fellowship in Public Life. 

The fellowship was created by Brandeis alumna Carol Richman Saivetz ’69, along with her children, Michael Saivetz ’97 and Aliza Saivetz Glasser ’01, in honor of Carol’s parents, Fred and Rita Richman.

Kimmerer was in residence on campus on February 28 and 29. The Richman award ceremony and presentation was held on Feb. 28 and attended by more than 400 audience members from Brandeis, Wellesley College, Tufts University, and elementary schools from across the Boston area.

Dalia Moran ’24 and Arianna Jackson ’25

Photo Credit: Gaelen Morse

February 26, 2024

Each spring, Brandeis students vie for a spot in Advocacy for Policy Change, a course that gives them the opportunity to lobby for the passage of a bill at the Massachusetts State House. 

The course, taught by professor Melissa Stimell, is a part of ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation, a national, nonpartisan program engaging undergraduates at colleges and universities in state-level legislative change by working with legislators, staffers, and community organizers to advance policy.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Photo Credit: Matt Roth, courtesy of Authors Unbound

December 12, 2023

Celebrated ecologist, educator and author Robin Wall Kimmerer, whose work unifies science with traditional knowledge in pursuit of a deeper understanding of the natural world, has been selected as the 2024 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life by Brandeis University.

The Richman Fellowship is hosted by The Vic ’63 and Bobbi Samuels ’63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT) on behalf of the Office of the President and Office of the Provost.

Koby Gottlieb ’26 and Benedict Owusu, MA '24

Photo Credit: Gaelen Morse

December 7, 2023

The fellows, both undergraduate and graduate students, work alongside the team at the Foundation’s offices at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Focusing on areas of their individual interest, fellows tackle real-world challenges through research, outreach, and engaging with philanthropic donors.
Jolecia Saunderson ’24 and Shakiva Pierre ’07

November 29, 2023

Students trying to envision their post-graduation professional path often have only a foggy notion of what the future might entail. But an experienced mentor can dissolve the mist around a professional goal, show students what a particular career is like, and help them navigate their way.

For Jolecia Saunderson ’24, who intends to enter the legal field, it was especially important to find a mentor who could also serve as a role model. “This field can be a little difficult sometimes,” she says. “I wanted to be empowered, and having a mentor who is a woman of color working in law was something I was really looking for.”

Kaz Supernova and Double B

Photo Credit: Megan Moran

November 28, 2023

Brandeis' Basement Records & COMPACT celebrated hip-hop's 50th with a three-part series, "Brandeis Celebrates 50 Years of Hip Hop." During one of the events, they hosted a showing of Kaz Supernova’s 2023 film, Wortown Rising, celebrating Worcester's Hip-Hop History.

Sara Shostak

November 27, 2023

Sociology and Health: Science, Society and Policy professor Sara Shostak received the "Sowing Seeds of Success Award" from the Urban Farming Institute of Boston.

In receiving this honor, Shostak shed a light on collaborations with her students. She called out her 2016 capstone class, whose interviews with elderly community members active in green spaces and urban farms contributed to the course's co-authored Fit Around the Farm Study.

"In 2015, at an Urban Agriculture Working Group meeting at the Charlton Public Library, Pat made a comment about wanting to find university partnerships for UFI," said Shostak. "My first thought was, 'whoever gets to work with UFI is so lucky!' and, indeed, I have been. Learning from UFI over the years has been such an honor and so important, both for me and for my students."

Jessica Lander

Photo Credit:

November 3, 2023

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Brandeis Education Program hosted teacher, scholar and author Jessica Lander in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall. Lander spoke about her recent book, “Making Americans: Stories of Historic Struggles, New Ideas, and Inspiration in Immigrant Education,” what education looks like in a classroom primarily filled with immigrant students and more. This event was sponsored by Brandeis COMPACT, Brandeis’ Environmental Studies Program, the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management and by Friends of the Waltham Family School.

Tressie McMillan Cottom at Gittler Prize Keynote

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

October 26, 2023

Celebrated cultural critic and sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom urged students to be bold in asking questions, and to defend the right to be curious in an address at Brandeis on Oct. 27.

McMillan Cottom visited campus for a residency and award ceremony as this year's winner of the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize. The prize was created in 2007 by the late Professor Joseph B. Gittler to recognize outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations. The annual award includes a $25,000 prize and a medal.

McMillan Cottom's work touches on a broad range of cultural issues, from the racial hierarchy of beauty standards and the class codes of dressing for work, to the predation of for-profit colleges and the historical impact of racial capitalism on plural democracy.

liz sandoval

Photo Credit: Gaelen Morse

April 28, 2023

Growing up, Liz Sandoval ’25 found safe, creative spaces for people from marginalized communities were hard to come by. These days, she is dedicated to creating these spaces for students at Brandeis, in Waltham, and beyond.

Sandoval is one of the first students to participate in the Samuel Scholars program, an initiative created by the Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT) .The yearlong program offers first- and second-year students an introduction to community engagement at Brandeis, a stipend to support their engagement, and the opportunity to implement an "action plan" for making real change in the local community.

fcas logo

March 2, 2023

Over the past several years, the number of antisemitic incidents happening across the country, including on campuses, has proliferated at an alarming rate. In 2021, antisemitism reached an all-time high in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In higher education alone, the ADL reported, antisemitic events were up 21% from the previous year, during which violence against Jews was already at an elevated level.

Today, we are announcing that Brandeis is entering into a collaboration with the Kraft Group's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) on a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy to equip students, higher ed leaders and Jewish communal professionals with knowledge, resources and tools to engage diverse communities in the critical work to address this rise in antisemitism and hate.

fcas logo

March 1, 2023

Brandeis and the Robert K. Kraft Family and the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) have formed a partnership to address the rise of antisemitism across the country. The Robert Kraft Family–Brandeis Collaboration on Antisemitism is a comprehensive, multi-pronged collaboration to equip students, higher education leaders and Jewish communal professionals with knowledge, resources and tools to engage diverse communities in the critical work to address hate against Jews and other communities.

Zine Spirit Image

Photo Credit: Gaelen Morse

February 15, 2023

In the fall of 2021, Waltham Partnership for Youth and the Waltham Public Schools established the new Centro de Bienvenida de Waltham (Waltham Welcome Center) at McDevitt Middle School. The vision was to better provide information and resources to families entering the public school system, particularly Spanish-speaking immigrant families who have recently arrived.

When Megan Ross, associate director of the new Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT), learned about the important work that Waltham Partnership for Youth is doing to support newly arrived families, she saw the opportunity for what became an exciting collaboration between students in the journalism program and the Waltham community.

Sara Shostak

Photo Credit: Mike Lovett

March 8, 2022

Brandeis has named Sara Shostak as the inaugural director of the Vic and Bobbi '63 Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation. Shostak is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) Program at the university.

Vic and Bobbi Samuels

Photo Credit: BakerRipley

January 4, 2022

Alumna and Fellow Bobbi Samuels ’63 and her family have made an extraordinary $10 million gift to create a center that will transform civic and community engagement at Brandeis. Endowed in honor of the late Vic Samuels ’63, the Vic and Bobbi Samuels ’63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation will bring together students, faculty, staff, practitioners and researchers in an innovative, interdisciplinary environment to address community needs and advance civic transformation.

Louis Brandeis statue in springtime

Photo Credit: Mike Lovett

January 4, 2022

I am pleased to share that Bobbi Samuels ’63 and the Samuels Family Foundation have made a transformational $10 million gift to create a center that will strengthen civic and community engagement at Brandeis. Endowed in memory of the late Vic Samuels ’63, the Vic and Bobbi ’63 Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation will advance the legacy of Vic's lifelong commitment to the millennia-old Jewish tradition of tikkun olam — using one's intellectual and material gifts to help heal the world.

Victor “Vic” Samuels, text reads 1940-2022

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Samuels family

June 30, 2020

Victor "Vic" Samuels ’63, a Houston, Texas, business entrepreneur and civic leader who gave generously to scholarships at Brandeis, has passed away at age 79.

Mr. Samuels, described by his family as a "rare seventh-generation Jewish Texan, outspoken liberal and proud American," joined with his wife, Barbara "Bobbi" Greenfield Samuels ’63, in supporting financial aid at their alma mater, creating the Bobbi ’63 and Vic ’63 Samuels Endowed Scholarship and the Vivian and Irving Greenfield Endowed Scholarship at Brandeis.