Dear BU URBAN Community,
Welcome back! I hope that you had a restful Thanksgiving break.
This time of the year, and especially on Giving Tuesday, we are invited to take stock of what we are grateful for, as well as to consider how we can do our part to nurture and sustain the things we value. As in years past, I continue to be very thankful and proud of the URBAN community, especially the impact our trainees are having through their interdisciplinary research and solutions-oriented partnerships.
I am excited to announce that BU URBAN is partnering with staff members of Boston University Development & Alumni Relations on a crowdfunding campaign that begins today and ends on December 16. The campaign enables us to expand our community of supporters who understand the importance and impact of the work of URBAN’s trainees, faculty, and partners. To date, URBAN has enrolled 44 Ph.D. trainees and graduated six alumni, with 22 trainees having completed internships with government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to find solutions to pressing environmental challenges. To date, we have distributed 47 competitive URBAN Research, Travel, and Broadening Participation Awards to trainees, totaling over $56,500.
Within the past 9 months, our program has provided many opportunities for trainees to learn and practice science communication and policy translation and to help broaden participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. In spring this year, we co-hosted a Communicating Science, Shaping Policy Workshop with the Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenroots, a local non-governmental organization committed to improving the urban environment and public health; we held a professional networking fair with nine URBAN mission-aligned partner organizations; and we co-led with BU Federal Relations a Congressional Briefing titled Building the Next Generation Climate Workforce that was attended by over 50 individuals, including 13 members of Congress and 10 organizations in Washington DC. This summer, 11 trainees went to Washington DC to meet with congressional offices, federal agencies, think tanks, and advocacy groups to learn how to make their research more applicable to policymakers and communities impacted by their science. Additionally, we promoted broadening participation in STEM through local outreach to middle and high schools, recruiting new trainees with intentional efforts to include those from groups underrepresented in STEM, as well as sponsoring trainees to attend national conferences such as that hosted by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Our trainees also worked with Speak for the Trees, American Forests, and community members in Dorchester, East Boston, and Mattapan on an EPA-funded project called Community Tree Stories. Working collaboratively, trainees co-developed community tree walks to raise awareness about the role of tree canopies in clean air and environmental justice.
We have many exciting events on the horizon. This month, we will co-host with the BU Science Policy Network our Fifth National Climate Assessment public comment party, where attendees will work in teams to develop comments and feedback on this report based on their scientific expertise. In spring we will co-host a Science Communication Workshop with the BU Biogeoscience Program, Marine Program (BUMP), and Pardee School of Global Studies.
Our overarching goal is to raise $5,000 through December 16. This funding would supplement our funding from NSF, which ends in August 2023, and benefit our program in the following ways:
- Helps us sustain the program to tackle urban environmental challenges such as climate change, improve air and water quality, and develop and protect greenspace in Boston and other urban areas.
- Increase funding for Research, Travel, and Broadening Participation Awards to trainees
- Provide support for social events that allow for professional networking and facilitation of peer and mentoring relationships with BU faculty advisors, staff, and external partners
- Enable greater investment in URBAN materials for trainees, staff, and faculty to showcase our URBAN pride and to represent and market the program
To make this a reality for URBAN, our ask from you is to act as an ambassador for our program. We would greatly appreciate you sharing the campaign with your friends, family, and peers on social media or any other platforms you think would be helpful. We also encourage you to consider donating yourself, however we understand that may not be viable for some.
We invite you to support the BU URBAN fundraising initiative so that we can continue having an impact as a program and community. Click here to give today and thank you for all that you do!
All the best,
Director, BU URBAN Program
On behalf of the Leadership Team:
Lucy Hutyra, Associate Director
Jon Levy, Associate Director
Heather Ho, Program Manager