Blog Post #24

April 8, 2024

Brigitte Stepanov

2024 Update

My last post, from December 2023, began with words of surprise about the quick flow of time. As I reflected on the highlights of the Serve-Learn-Sustain 2023 program at Georgia Tech-Europe, I had a hard time believing that our time in Metz, France was coming to an end. 

I have been back in Atlanta since then, eagerly writing, teaching, and working with students and community partners here. Now that April is upon us, I feel an iteration of surprise once more, since the Spring 2024 semester is coming to a quick close. Below, I have included some highlights from the past three months, during which time I have been learning from esteemed community organizers in my role as an Energy Equity, Environmental Justice, and Community Engagement Faculty Fellow at Georgia Tech.

I'll be back at GT-E in Metz in May, continuing to work with our community partners there over the summer. Stay tuned for updates from across the Atlantic and a forthcoming publication on integrating campus and community!

Dr. Yomi Noibi

In January, I was fortunate enough to go on a site visit of ECO-Action, where I met Executive Director Carla Lewis and ECO-Action Founder, Dr. Yomi Noibi. Dr. Yomi’s talk focused on environmental justice in Atlanta, disseminating knowledge, and the ways in which institutions and community partners can work together in transformational - not transactional - ways.

ECO-Action exists to promote a safe and healthy environment by helping Georgia communities organize to address environmental health hazards and pollution. ECO-Action serves the general population, but we focus on vulnerable, low-income communities and communities of color. Our objective is to empower communities to become resilient – better able to respond to environmental threats such as global warming and move forward to improve their environmental, social and economic health and wellbeing. ECO-Action believes that all communities have the right to clean air, water land and energy, to know about and take action against environmental hazards, and to fully participate in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Learn more here.

In February, I was grateful to be able to attend the RCE Greater Atlanta Quarterly Meeting, hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine. RCE Greater Atlanta is one of over 190 RCEs (Regional Centres of Expertise) on Education for Sustainable Development. RCEs support the implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals at the regional level through education and training, thus bringing together universities and colleges with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners. Learn more here.

Thank you to Monique Terrell, RCE Student Coordinator, Claire Horn, RCE MarComm Volunteer, Lakshya Sharma, RCE Student Coordination Manager, Dr. Stephanie Miles-Richardson, Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Public Health Education at Morehouse School of Medicine, Tracy Bates from Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council, Klean Energy Kulture, Dr. Fatemeh Shafiei, Director of the Environmental Studies Program, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science at Spelman College, and the Co-Chair of the Sustainable Committee at Spelman, and Brother El from Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council for your presentations and for all of your tireless work. Read more here.

Dr. Stephanie Miles-Richardson  

Brother El

Dr. Fatemeh Shafiei 

Mary Wilson

In March, I had the privilege of meeting Mary Wilson of Ubuntu Community Catalyst. She spoke at Georgia Tech about community-engaged research and the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) framework.

Ubuntu Community Catalyst offers training and services to community members to make resilient neighborhoods. This includes leadership development, youth and adult development programs, mindfulness meditation training, civic engagement, and more. 

Learn more here

This semester, in my writing and teaching, I've continued reflecting on histories of violence, transportation/transit/movement (often via coal), gardens and "green spaces," and the ways in which narrative media (like contemporary sculpture, photography, collage, and even furniture) can tell the stories and futures of life and land. 

Exhibits visited on a research trip to Philadelphia

Movement and Network

Abra Lee's "Thoughts on W.E.B Du Bois and the Story of Black American Gardens" at the 2024 edition of Atlanta's Night of Ideas