January Project

The January Project: A campus-wide experiential learning initiative

The January Project (2021) Overview

The January Project (2021) is designed to engage students in purposeful action that is grounded in interconnected communities, leadership development, and reflection. In a year of all-encompassing disruption and uncertainty, the January Project is a campus wide initiative that will engage the Wellesley campus in co-curricular and experiential learning bringing the entire campus together around a set of common themes. The January Project will draw in the four themes from the 2020 Tanner Conference: Covid-19, the changing climate, democracy, and the fight for racial justice. 

This is an unprecedented moment in all of our lifetimes. Rather than simply move the experiential work that is embedded in a Wellesley education to a virtual format, we want to rethink what that work means for our community right now. The January Project is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a Wellesley student, a community member, and a global citizen at this moment. 

The January Project programs are designed to encourage every Wellesley student to learn about themselves, each other, and the changing world that we live in. Purpose has been elusive for many of us during the social upheavals we have all experienced as a result of the pandemic and these programs bring purpose into focus. January Project programs will allow us to engage across class years and distance, to learn how to make a difference in the world which is at the core of Wellesley’s mission. These programs will take place throughout the month of January as a way to sustain and rekindle connections and to foster a sense of purpose.

 
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Interconnected Communities

Each class year will be subdivided into smaller cohorts to allow for rich community development and relationship building. Helping first year students to maintain meaningful relationships after they leave campus will help during a shortened transition time. Sophomores will engage in reflection groups where they can process their community work together. Juniors and Seniors will work in project teams on global engagement or with alumnae in mini-internships beginning to develop the relationships that will become important as they transition beyond Wellesley.  There will also be overarching themes that run through each class year program that will allow for some cross-class programming and deeper faculty engagement.

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Leadership

The January Project provides leadership development across all four class years drawing from Wellesley own leadership model. Beginning with the first-year class, leadership development will focus on self and understanding oneself in a new place. Sophomores will focus on others and on engaging in local and global communities. Juniors and Seniors will focus more deeply on purpose, navigating preparation during an uncertain time to enter the world of work. There will also be leadership skill development opportunities and significant peer leadership and mentorship opportunities built into each class year program to allow for further leadership development. 

 
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Reflection

All four class year programs are built around reflection to further explore the students’ understanding and sense of purpose. Students will use both individual and group reflections to process their experiences throughout January and beyond. The overarching themes will provide opportunities for structured reflections that relate to the changes in the world around Wellesley. Each class year program will have its own reflection structure with the hope of creating portfolios where students can catalogue and share their work.  Reflective work will also allow us to evaluate student development outcomes.

 

The January Project has two programming options: the immersive experiences and the seminars. 

 

January Project Need-Based Mini Grants

Students who are participating in the Sophomore Experience or hired for a Hive Internship Project may apply for a small ($100-$200) need-based grant to help offset living expenses during January. Recognizing that financial constraints may limit the ability to dedicate time to these experiences, these grants are intended to make it possible for students to participate in the January Project. 

Students will be able to apply for grants only once they have secured placement in the Sophomore Experience or are hired for a Hive Internship Project. To apply, students will submit a brief statement explaining why they need the funds through a Google Form. The application is available here and the deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 23 at midnight. Grant funding is limited and will be disbursed early January.  

Please reach out to Katy Ryan (kryan4@wellesley.edu) with any questions.

The Immersive Experiences

First Year Common Text Project

The First Year Common Text Project will center exploration and connection for first year students who are transitioning away from the Wellesley campus. As first years approach the mid-year transition this experience will offer a creative intervention to enable a continued sense of connection to one another and to their newly formed Wellesley community. Reading groups will explore the themes of the January Project in small community reading groups with faculty and staff guest appearances. The common text is The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami. 

 

Sophomore Community Engagement Experience

The Sophomore Community Engagement Experience, led and facilitated by the Ministrare Council, gives the sophomore class the opportunity to engage in community-based learning, guided reflection, and peer community development. Through this reflective, peer-led model, sophomores can actively engage with communities beyond Wellesley’s campus — virtually or in person — to learn about the skills and relationships that ground social change. The program will support sophomores in beginning to consider what skills are needed to be active listeners, effective advocates, critical thinkers, and empathic citizens. Sophomores will identify their own community partners in areas of interest in their home communities or in virtual spaces. Students can begin to register their community experiences on WEngage beginning November 16th.

 

Junior and Senior Hive Internship Project (HIPs) Experience

Hive Internship Projects are short-term, virtual experiences that are designed by unbundling long-term internships and separating out individual projects that can be completed remotely. Students benefit from working on a real-world project, while organizations gain timely support from students. Through participation in a Hive Internship Project, students will have the opportunity to earn non-academic credit, build skills and gain industry knowledge, and develop a mentorship relationship with a Wellesley alum, parent, or employer partner. Hive Internship Projects will run for 40 hours over the course of four weeks (January 4 to January 29). Eligibility is limited to currently enrolled juniors and seniors. Students can apply for projects through the Hive beginning November 16.

 

Seminars

All students will have the opportunity to participate in short-term seminars and workshops offered throughout the month of January. Students can pair these with immersion experiences or engage only in the seminars. Students can enroll in as many seminars as they choose. These sessions will be hosted by centers, institutes, and offices across campus, emphasizing one or more of four common themes drawn from this year’s Tanner Conference: the Covid-19 pandemic, the changing environment, the movement for racial justice, and the 2020 election.

 

Seminar Schedule

31 Actions for 31 Days

January 1 – 31, 2021
Inspired by and adapted from the 50 Actions for 50 Years project that the Office of Sustainability hosted for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day last year, this list provides a diverse set of accessible ways that members of our community can act on environmental values to start off the new year.
Theme: The Changing Environment
Register here.

Sponsoring Departments: Frost Center for the Environment, Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative, Office of Sustainability, and Wellesley Botanic Gardens
Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

A New Hope: Multilateralism in the Time of COVID-19

January 7, 2021  •  12 – 1pm EST
This talk, given by Ms. Susan Nazzaro '01, Senior Program Officer, Product Introduction and Access at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and moderated by Prof. David Lindauer, Stanford Calderwood Professor of Economics, Wellesley College, will cover international public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemicwith a focus on work being spearheaded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Theme: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Albright Institute
Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

Pandemics at Wellesley College: Past to Present

January 8, 2021  •  3 – 4:30pm EST
Quarantines, face coverings, and social distancing seem so extreme and unprecedented. Yet throughout its history, Wellesley has faced these types of challenges with thoughtful resolve (and good humor!). This seminar, hosted by the Wellesley College archives, will provide a glimpse into past pandemics on campus with a particular focus on the 1918 Influenza. Participants will get an opportunity to see and hear how the campus community dealt with situations similar to how we are dealing with COVID-19 today, examine primary source materials, and participate in a discussion of these materials with other community members. 
Theme: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Archives

Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

Centering Authenticity & Engaging with Diverse Audiences with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant

January 11, 2021  • 6:30 – 8 pm
Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant will detail how her formal education in conservation science dovetailed with her informal education in science communication with an emphasis on lessons learned, what not to do, finding your unique voice, and how to bring social justice advocacy into scicomm. Dr. Wynn-Grant will also share her own journey through her conservation career and chat with students about how they can tailor their communications interests to their studies.
Theme: 
Changing Environment
Register here.

Sponsoring Departments: Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative and Frost Center for the Environment
Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

QAI Data Hackathon

January 12 at noon – January 13 at noon
Over 24 hours, we will work together to draw meaning from public data sets related to political polarization, COVID-19, racial justice, and climate change. The task is to pose a question and answer it using data visualizations, data wrangling, summary statistics, and statistical models. You might delve deeply into one data set or connect multiple topics. Support will be available throughout, though we hope that you will enter and exit as appropriate for your time zone. There will be many chances to share work in progress and collaborate. We will produce an online showcase of results.
Themes: 
The 2020 Election, The Covid-19 Pandemic, The Changing Environment, The Movement for Racial Justice
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Quantitative Analysis Institute
Attendance capped at 48 students. Students must have a course beyond the introductory level that focuses on data analysis, plus basic proficiency in R, Python, or Stata. Appropriate courses include STAT 260, STAT 318, ECON 203, any PSYC 300R course, CS 234, CS 305, STAT 228, SOC 290, or a QAI Certificate.

 

Graphic Resistance: Print, Protest, and Collecting

January 14, 2021  •  11 – 12:30pm EST
Over the past decade, the Davis Museum has built a collection of prints and posters—both historical and contemporary—that directly engage with political and social issues. The collection reveals just how diverse the aims and approaches of activist art can be: while some works are made and sold to fund specific causes, others are intended as interventions into public space; some were carried at rallies, and others were circulated through collective portfolios and gallery sales. No matter their means of distribution, they were produced to challenge abuses of power, to bear witness, to issue calls to direct action. Offered by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum, this 90- minute micro-seminar considers the print medium’s role in relation to political resistance and dissent. Working with examples in the Davis Museum’s collections, and using the contemporary US political landscape as an orienting context, this micro-seminar will look at historical examples of protest in print and follow the trajectory forward to today. How do artists manifest the activist impulse in print? Do their tactics succeed? What changes when these works enter a museum’s collection?
Theme: The 2020 Election
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Davis Museum
Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

 

How Did We Get Here?

January 14, 2021  •  1 – 2pm EST

A Wellesley College faculty teach-in on the causes and significance of the January 6 Insurrection in Washington, DC. Participants: Michael Jeffries (moderator); Maneesh Arora (political science); Kellie Carter Jackson (Africana studies); P. Takis Metaxas (computer science).

Theme: The 2020 Election
Register here.

Open to all faculty, staff, students, and alumnae.

 

Mindful Winter Walk and Group Book Making: Create Gratitude Books with the Book Arts Program and the Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative

January 15, 2021  •  2 – 3:30 pm
Expressing and sharing gratitude can improve your health and well-being and help you develop a more reciprocal relationship with your community and the natural world. Before this workshop, participants will take a mindful gratitude walk to collect small items from nature that they can incorporate into gratitude books (such as leaves, seed pods, seeds, feathers, flat rocks, etc). During the workshop, we will create accordion style gratitude books that can incorporate your natural materials and thoughts you have about gratitude. 
Theme: The Changing Environment
Register here.

Sponsoring Departments: Book Arts Program, LTS, and Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative
Attendance capped at 20 students

 

The Rock Star Project

January 18, 2021  •   2 – 3:30 pm EST
This session will focus on the role and responsibility of the student leader on campus. This talk inspires students to celebrate and embrace their full potential - to be a positive influence and to reach out beyond their individual groups. 
Theme: 
The 2020 Election
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Student Involvement
Open to all students.

 

Michael Rakowitz, Museums, and Decolonial Justice

January 19, 2021 •  3 –  4:30 pm EST
Thieves stole nearly 15,000 artworks from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad following the US invasion in 2003. Artist Michael Rakowitz commemorates this loss in his ongoing project, The invisible enemy should not exist, for which he recreates the missing artworks out of Middle Eastern everyday materials (like commercial packaging and newspapers) exported to the United States. During this seminar offered by Dr. Nicole Berlin, Assistant Curator of Collections, we will analyze and discuss five artworks from The invisible enemy series now at the Davis Museum. How can Rakowitz’s work inform the way museums collect, steward, and display ancient Near Eastern art? And, more broadly, what can this case study reveal about the role of race, war, and colonialism in contemporary museum practice? The Davis looks forward to this conversation with the Wellesley community as part of our ongoing effort to decolonize the museum.
Theme: The Movement for Racial Justice
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Davis Museum
Attendance capped at 25 students, faculty, and staff.

 

A New Bretton Woods — Cooperation Towards a Resilient, Sustainable, and Inclusive World

January 21, 2021 •  2 –  3 pm EST
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, will share how the IMF is responding to the pandemic and the current global economic crisis. Moderated by Prof. Joseph Joyce, Professor of Economics.
Theme: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Albright Institute
Open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

Roundtable on Race, Gender, and Responsive Philanthropy

January 22, 2021  •  12 – 2 pm EST
We will have an informal discussion about performative philanthropy around race, gender, and other issues. How can philanthropic and social change organizations live out their stated values? What methodologies can we use - internally or externally - to steward transformation when they don't? What distinctive roles can individuals, communities, and institutions play in holding organizations accountable yet avoiding the pitfalls of cancel culture? We will imagine ourselves in these situations as a jumping off point for strategizing. Students are free to bring lunch or whatever meal is appropriate to their time of day.
Theme: The Movement for Racial Justice
Register here.

Sponsoring Institute: Wellesley Centers for Women
Open to all students.

 

Artistic Responses to Infectious Disease from the Davis Museum Collections

January 25, 2021  •  10 – 11:30 am EST
Dr. Heather Hughes, the Davis Museum’s Kemper Assistant Curator of Academic Affairs and Exhibitions, will lead students in a discussion of objects from the collection that reflect the impact of infectious diseases on art and society. While practicing the skills of close-looking and visual analysis, students will gain an appreciation for the role of visual art in processing trauma and social upheaval. To emphasize historical perspectives and the recurrent nature of epidemics, the discussion will include works that relate to a range of diseases, such as bubonic plague, syphilis, smallpox, cholera, and HIV/AIDS. The seminar will be open to students of all years and majors. Prior experience in art history is not required, and we especially encourage participation from science and social science majors.
Theme: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: Davis Museum
Attendance capped at 15 students

 

Dr. David Blumenthal, Lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic on the future of the public health system in the United States

January 27, 2021  •  9:30 – 11 am EST
This talk discusses the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the health system in the United States. It will particularly address the question of whether or not the US should adopt a national health service, such as the United Kingdom or Canada’s. Would this reform or other similar alternatives make the US system more robust and able to mount a more efficient response to another pandemic in the future and improve equality of access to health care, or would national health care create new challenges without fixing current problems?
Theme: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Register here.

Sponsoring Department: The Freedom Project
Attendance capped at 100 faculty, staff, and students.

 

Laila Lalami

January 27, 2021  •  4 – 5 pm EST

Please join us for a reading and conversation with Pulitzer Prize nominee Laila Lalami, moderated by Newhouse Center Director Eve Zimmerman. Lalami's most recent novel, National Book Award finalist The Other Americans (2019), is about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant in a small California town. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters whose invisible connections—even while they remain deeply divided by race, religion, or class—are slowly revealed. It is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, infused with questions about America’s treacherous legacy of violent discrimination.
Theme: The Movement for Racial Justice
Register here.

Sponsoring Institute: The Newhouse Center
Open to all students, faculty, and staff.

 

What's Next? Democracy After 2020

January 28, 2021  •  7 – 8 pm EST
A virtual conversation featuring Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and Paula A. Johnson, president of Wellesley College. This event will engage students, faculty, staff, alumnae and others in a discussion about what comes after the tumultuous 2020 election.
Theme: The 2020 Election and The Movement for Racial Justice
Register here.

Sponsored by Wellesley College.
Open to all students, faculty, and staff.