Our Summer Postcard Series Concludes With a Letter from Lamisa S. Hossain ’17
The sixth and final in a summer postcard series featuring letters from students, Lamisa S. Hossain '17 writes from San Francisco, where she is participating in the American Cities Program through Wellesley's Center for Work and Service.
"The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Whether or not Mark Twain actually said this, I have no doubt that it's true. (Though I'm fairly certain I will retract that statement once I'm facing another 'snowpocalyptic' January in Wellesley.) The capricious Bay Area weather has been one of several things keeping me on my toes!
When I subletted a shared student apartment in Berkeley, I didn't realize the sheer expanse of the options I’d have to explore. I've had the opportunity to live with two other lovely women who are in the same position I am—away from their home countries, living in California for the first time, and eager to make the most of the summer.
We've had the privilege of attending events at UC Berkeley and drinking in the scholastic milieu. We attended a rally for the Golden Gate Warriors after their NBA championship win , and cheered at the San Francisco Pride Parade the weekend after the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. We were even gung ho enough to believe we could carry a month's worth of groceries home, and consequently spent 45 minutes panting on the living room couch. With only a little time before I head back East, there's too much to see, and far too little time.
One thing I am thrilled to see every day is the gorgeous Lake Merritt in Oakland. I often slip into fanciful daydreams when I look up from my computer screen and watch sailboats bob on the shimmering water—but that's not to say my work hasn't been engaging!
I'm working for Supervisor Wilma Chan '71, an elected official in Alameda County. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Supervisors. As part of the Global Engagement Internships Program administered by CWS, I've been staffing her new "War on Poverty" initiative, ALL IN, for almost two months now, and it has been a tremendously humbling experience. Attending public hearings, doing research, and listening to those working hands-on in the area has exposed me to a side of poverty that I'd never witnessed before. Born and raised in Bangladesh, it was eye-opening to work with experts and community organizers in a developed country and gain an understanding on the challenges faced by the low-income population in the area, of which the most prevailing was food insecurity.
I'm grateful to Wellesley for preparing me to jump into the deep end of this pool—for which I had little background—and quickly navigate the complex issues of food insecurity and hunger in urban and suburban food deserts. I have also learned about building a multi-sector collaborative and the delicate politics necessary to create one from the ground up.
Let's hope it's sunny this weekend-—it wouldn't do to spend an entire summer in San Francisco without visiting the Golden Gate Bridge!
Lamisa S. Hossain '17 is an Economics and Political Science double major interested in global politics, inequality, and development issues. She is an international student from Bangladesh and an enthusiastic member of the Slater International community. On campus, she also works for the Wellesley College Office of Admission. This fall, Lamisa will be studying abroad at Oxford University.