Tufts is hosting its third annual Global Tufts Month, a month-long series of activities and events across the university’s schools and centers this March. This year’s theme is “A Call to Action: Global Perspectives on Climate Change.”
Senior International Officer and Associate Provost Diana Chigas explained that Global Tufts Month began as a way to recognize global climate action work by members of the Tufts community.
“[Global Tufts Month] is an opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of all the kinds of things that students and faculty and staff are doing that is globally engaged, and [to] raise the profile and visibility of a lot of our global engagement and celebrate it,” Chigas told the Daily.
The series of events and activities now known as Global Tufts Month began in 2019 as Global Tufts Week and has since expanded in scale to its current month-long form.
Chigas described the categories of events hosted during Global Tufts Month.
“Each year, we've chosen a theme that’s broad enough to … be really inclusive of the things that all the schools do, but also lots of different kinds of activities from lectures and conferences to social events, to networking, to a range of types of things.”
She also explained how this year’s theme was chosen.
“[Climate change] is a theme that — in terms of both student interest and student work, but also some really interesting faculty research and interdisciplinary research across the schools — Tufts does a lot of really interesting things on,” Chigas said.
Chigas added that her involvement last fall in the Talloires Network Leaders Conference, a partnership between the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, partly inspired this year’s conference theme.
According to Christine Hollenhorst, program administrator in the Office of the Provost, Global Tufts Month is an aggregation of many events occurring across the university.
“We’re not really organizing the events ourselves,” Hollenhorst said. “Rather, we’re encouraging everyone across the university to host their own events. … We really want to be open and broad and encourage people to participate and host events in things that they’re interested in.”
Hollenhorst noted that community members can receive grants to host their own events during Global Tufts Month.
“We do have a ‘mini grants’ program where we provide small grants; the maximum is $500,” she said. “Those can be to develop a new event, so it can be a student group that wants to put on a film screening or something like that, or it can be money that goes towards a larger event.”
Nitya Nadgir, liaison director for Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services, said her organization received funding to host an event exploring the impact of U.S. imperialism on the climate crisis.
“ALLIES is planning a speaker event called Climate & Militarism, and we have invited Ph.D. student and political organizer Nick Rabb to speak with the Tufts community on the intersections of the military-industrial complex and the climate emergency,” Nadgir, a junior, wrote in an email to the Daily.
Nadgir explained why ALLIES decided to invite Rabb to speak.
“Militarism is an interdisciplinary issue in the United States that influences almost all fields of study, from engineering to policy. Because of this, there’s a significant pipeline that leads college students to careers in the military,” she wrote. “Since climate change is one of the world’s most pressing issues, we thought that this would be a great way to introduce Tufts students to the impacts of militarism on the global community specifically with regards to the climate crisis.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two of the past three Global Tufts event series have been held either partially or entirely via Zoom and the event was not held in 2020. According to Chigas, this has opened up many more possibilities for events.
“One of the great things about doing things online is that alumni could often actually Zoom into things that were happening on campus,” Chigas said. “They also mobilize some of the alumni who are in the various countries to do some really interesting things as well.”
Hollenhorst encouraged Tufts community members who have not already done so to organize their own Global Tufts Month events.
“The calendar isn't set,” Hollenhorst said, “We consider it kind of a living thing throughout the month. … [If students are] inspired to put together an event, they can absolutely still do that.”