Global Health Symposium – presented by Timmy Global Health & MHEAL

The Global Health Symposium is an annual lecture-based symposium hosted by M-HEAL andGlobal Health Symposium pic 1 Timmy Global Health to promote active learning and engagement in global health efforts in the university community.  With generous grants from BLI and other organizations, we were able to successfully carry out our event.  This year, 124 students from various majors were able to listen to three keynote speakers: one from the School of Public Health, one from the University of Michigan Health System, and one from NSF International.  Between the second and third speaker we had a lunch break where we provided refreshments and lunch from Cottage Inn Pizza. Afterward, attendees were encouraged to further discuss and network with the speakers and their colleagues toglobal health symposium pic 3 gain greater knowledge and insight into their talks.  

After our event, we administered an online survey to help us evaluate our success.  Some of the responses we received related to having preparation from the speakers and having more speaker – audience activities. Many of the attendees enjoyed the diversity of the speakers.  These responses were very helpful and we hope to use them for future references.

Although our event ran relatively smoothly, we faced the same challenges we seem to run into each year.  One of the major setbacks of our event will always be getting a lot of attendance. Although 124 is not bad, we were hoping we could get 200 attendees. Another setback was not having enough members attend from our respective organizations.  We learned that as leaders of our organizations, we must be more authoritative and encourage more committed members to come to our events.  If we cannot assure our own members to attend, we cannot assure others to do the same.  We hope as leaders to continue to communicate with our members and possibly gGlobal Health Symposium pic 2et them more involved and engaged with planning the event.  

The event is open to all students and faculty at University of Michigan, and we hope to expand our audience.  For next year, we hope to focus more on marketing/advertising and finding new ways to reach out to a wider audience.

Overall, the attendees enjoyed our speakers, food, and learned something new, so the event was a success!  On behalf of Timmy Global Health and MHEAL, we thank you for awarding us this grant and making it possible to educate and further spread awareness for global health. 

Standing Rock Solidarity Zine Release Event

This fall semester, I had the great privilege to work with a group of independently organized students to show solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Though our project originally formed through the Graham Sustainability Institute’s undergraduate scholars program’s interdisciplinary courses, our team grew to incorporate a larger group of students from different backgrounds interested in raising awareness on UM’s campus about indigenous struggles and environmental injustices. Inspired by the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement (#NODAPL) started by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, we wrote a zine publication about the effort to stop the construction of a fracking oil pipeline on the tribe’s sacred land in order to protect clean water access, cultural artifacts and ancient burial grounds. In the zine, we highlight the history of indigenous resistance to colonialism and environmental destruction, background on the movement, the timeline of events surrounding the DAPL, and ways for those in Ann Arbor to take action against the construction of the pipeline. When beginning our organizing against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at UM, we felt as though there weren’t many accessible resources for students and the broader UM and Ann Arbor communities to learn about the struggle at Standing Rock; therefore, we decided that collaboratively writing a zine on the issue was the most effective way to spread awareness on our campus as zines are easy to distribute and generally free of charge (to download a copy of our zine, visit our website.)

As recipients of the Barger Leadership Institute small grant award, our group held a zine release event to distribute our zines, fundraise money for the Standing Rock camps and water protectors, and showcase interviews that were collected at Standing Rock during our group’s fall break trip to the occupation. One of our main objectives at this event was to raise indigenous voices as this movement is only one piece in a longer, ongoing struggle for indigenous justice and, therefore, indigenous voices should be at the forefront of these movements. To do this, we had listening stations of the interviews collected at the Standing Rock camps to provide authentic voices from the movement at our event. Also, members of a group of indigenous drummers and singers called the Swamp Singers  performed and shared the cultural importance of the No DAPL movement with attendees. Additionally, we created buttons, stamps, and patches with messages to support Standing Rock, access to clean water, and indigenous resistance. All of these items, along with our zines, were available on a donate as you’re able basis. Ultimately, we raised about $850 at our event, all of which was sent to the occupation. Through this event, we discovered how many people are interested in learning more about indigenous and environmental justice. Community members, parents, friends, and students from all over the university came to our event and picked up a zine, listened to the interviews, and engaged in conversations about the struggle at Standing Rock. It was also beautiful to see community members and students participating in intergenerational exchanges of knowledge through conversation; I was grateful that we provided a space for folks of different ages and backgrounds to teach and learn from one another about organizing and the ongoing struggle towards justice.

Although our event went well and we learned a lot about the logistics of putting the zine release together, we recognize that our organizing doesn’t stop here; rather, this event can be viewed as a jumping off point for more organizing around environmental and indigenous justice in our region. We plan to continue distributing our zines around campus and Ann Arbor and we’ve also created a website to share our zine, videos and interviews. We are still selling our merchandise from the zine release event and sending all funds to the Standing Rock occupation because the struggle still continues today – despite the denial of DAPL’s permit to drill, Energy Transfer Partners has announced they will ignore the order and continue drilling. We have held phone banking events to demand that all felony charges against the water protectors are dropped immediately and we plan to do more phone banking in the future. Lastly, we’ve discussed organizing against Line 5, another oil pipeline that runs under the straits of Mackinac in Michigan. Our group will be regrouping in January once the winter term begins and we will outline what we hope to accomplish for the upcoming semester.

We are so gStanding Rock Zine Eventrateful to the BLI for funding our zine release event and the printing of our zines! Without the resources provided by Barger, we couldn’t have held our event and raised the funds we sent to the occupation at Standing Rock. For more information on the work we are doing or to purchase merchandise, email michsolidaritynodapl@umich.edu and visit our website at michsolidaritynodapl.tumblr.com.