Dartmouth's fifth annual Social Justice Awards ceremony recently recognized members of the community who have made significant contributions to peace, civil rights, education, public health, and environmental and social justice. The following individuals and groups were honored:
The late Meleia Willis-Starbuck '07
A sociology and African and African American studies double major, Willis-Starbuck had a profound concern for social justice. She volunteered at a meal program for the homeless and worked at Berkeley Youth Alternatives, where she led a nutrition class for low-income youth. She was the victim of a shooting while volunteering at the Berkeley Women's Daytime Drop-In Center in July 2005. On learning of her death, President James Wright said, "In just two years at Dartmouth, Meleia had already contributed so much to making the world a better place."
Matthew Wilson '83
Matthew Wilson is the national field director of Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., a political consulting firm that provides field operations for progressive causes, political candidates, public interest campaigns, and nonprofit organizations.
He was director of the Toxics Action Center in 1989, an organization that has helped more than 500 neighborhoods oppose hazardous waste sites and other environmental challenges.
Thokozani Xaba '89
Thokozani Xaba, acting head of the School of Social Work and Community Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, focuses on institution building in South Africa. He recently completed a project designed to make the rural government structure more representative. He majored in government and sociology at Dartmouth and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
This award was established by the Tucker Foundation to honor Granger, the first African American nominated president of the National Conference of Social Work. He was executive director of the Urban League for 20 years.
Nick Kotz '55
A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Kotz's writing for the Des Moines Register on conditions in meat packing plants led to the passage of the Federal Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 and the Meat Inspection Act.
The author of five books, his Wild Blue Yonder: Money, Politics, and the B-1 Bomber (1989), won the Olive Branch Award for outstanding work on issues of war and peace. His latest book, Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws that Changed America (2005), has already won the Iowa Book Award.
Kotz is a distinguished adjunct professor at the American University School of Communications. He pursued graduate study at the London School of Economics and later served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Grace Paley '98H
The first recipient of the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit and the fifth Poet Laureate of Vermont, Paley's fiction spans five decades. In recent years, she has turned her attention to poetry and is the author of several collections, including Leaning Forward (1985), and Begin Again: Collected Poems (1993). Her autobiography, Just As I Thought, was published in 1998.
A well-known activist, Paley has been a member of the War Resister's League, Resist, and Women's Pentagon Action. The recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, she has taught at Columbia and Syracuse Universities, the City College of New York, and Sarah Lawrence College, and received an honorary degree from Dartmouth in 1998.
Darfur Action Group
The Darfur Action Group (DAG) was founded to educate the community about the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. Led by Anne Bellows '06, Janet Smith '08, Niral Shah '08, and Kelsey Noonan '08, the group hopes to counter economic support for the genocide and was instrumental in formulating a recommendation brought to Dartmouth's Board of Trustees.
At its November 2005 meeting, the Board voted to direct the College's Investment Office to avoid investments in six companies (in which the College does not currently hold stock) deemed to be complicit in the genocide in Darfur, an action based on recommendations by DAG, the Board's Investment Committee, and the College's Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.
Engineers Without Borders
Dartmouth's student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (D-EWB) is one of only 26 such chapters in the United States. Tico Blumenthal '02 established the chapter in 2003 to apply engineering skills to problems in the developing world.
D-EWB has completed a project in Nyamilu in the Migori district of Kenya that will bring safe water to the community for drinking and irrigation.
Outdoor Leadership Experience
Outdoor Leadership Experience (OLE) is a mentoring program for young people in the Upper Valley region. Founded by Rachel Goldwasser '01 and Camilla Campbell '01, the group teaches self-reliance, teamwork, and respect through outdoor challenges.
By teaching outdoor skills, OLE builds self-esteem and fosters group dynamics. Over 100 Dartmouth students are currently involved in the group.
By LAUREN LOTKO '06
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Last Updated: 5/30/08