Center for Community Engagement

Getting 'real world experience': Robyn Lightner '11 shapes Boston food policy with research and community organizing

Robyn Lightner '11

May 2011—Story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Robyn Lightner ’11

Robyn Lightner ’11 never planned on writing a thesis.

She was so sure, in fact, that she made clear on her Civic Engagement Scholars application that a thesis was not in her future. An environmental studies major, Lightner (standing, on the right) was applying to the fellowship in 2010 to fund a summer internship focusing on food access in underserved neighborhoods in Boston. She was awarded the fellowship—with no thesis strings attached— and began working for the Food Project and the Bowdoin Street Health Center. Lightner’s biggest project was to initiate a study comparing the cost and quality of farmers’ market produce to grocery store produce. No one working on food issues in Boston had ever conducted such a study, and by the end of the summer, it was clear that she wasn’t finished. “I didn’t feel that I could let it go,” Lightner reflects. “I fell in love. I really felt invested in the follow through…and [getting] a good message out.” She continued her research, eventually translating the project into a 100-page thesis and a presentation for the Boston Food Policy Council. The thesis that might never have been is now helping shape the conversation on how to support getting fresh, local, and healthy produce in Boston’s underserved communities.

‘Real decisions about real money’: Participatory budgeting for Springfield?

On Monday, April 11, 2011, Springfield and area residents, nonprofits, and local representatives are taking what could be the first step towards implementing “participatory budgeting” (PB) in Springfield: they’ll listen and learn about the very first PB success story in the United States.

Sarah Leyman ’11, Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup finalist, reflects on years of organizing Amherst athletes for community service

Sarah Leyman '11

Story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Sarah Leyman '11

Sarah Leyman ’11 (pictured second from right) is currently competing with the women’s basketball team in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament. Bolstered with a home court advantage through at least the Elite Eight, Leyman, co-captain of the team and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is optimistic for her final tournament with her teammates.

Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams take on seventh annual Hour of Power

Story by Reilly Horan '13, photos by Eugene Lee '16

Beyond Shangri-La, Tibetan oral history website, launches

Spaces available in Interterm course, Social Action Through Social Enterprise

Course dates: January 14- 22, 2013
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
Location: Chapin 101
Facilitator: Megan Briggs Lyster, Social Entrepreneurship faculty member, Hampshire College
Sponsored by: SILT (Social Innovation Leadership Team at Amherst) and SEARCH (the Social Entrepreneurship Aid and Research Center at Hampshire).

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Job Posting with Youth Action Coalition

Program Coordinator, GirlsEyeView Amherst

Posting date:   11/8/12
Start date:       January 2013, with orientation in December 2012
About GirlsEyeView

Volunteer Opportunity with Jones Library ESL Center

The Jones Library ESL Center needs co-leaders for weekly English conversation circles for adult English language learners in downtown Amherst. We need one volunteer for the Saturday group (10-11:30) and another for the Tuesday group (5-6:30) running through the end of the semester. No planning/prep. time is required, but we would like your help writing up notes to send to participants after the session. One-to-one English conversation partners also needed (location and schedule are flexible). For more info, contact Lynne Weintraub at or 413 259-3093.

Women’s Golf hosts clinic for Girls, Inc.

On Saturday, March 31, the women’s golf team hosted seven girls from Girls, Inc. of Holyoke to teach golf skills and share the importance of learning new things and practicing hard.