The Haury Program awards challenge grant to A Student’s Journey

The Haury Program awards challenge grant to A Student’s Journey

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice awards challenge grant to A Student’s Journey

The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice (Haury Program) announced the Spring 2019 Challenge Grant Award on April 24, 2019, during the event, Celebrating Five Years of Impact for the Haury Program. This is the fourth challenge award and 33rd competitive award overall granted by the Haury Program in its first five years. Challenge grant awards are for UA and community partnership projects that seek transformational change addressing persistent problems in environmental and social justice.

A Student’s Journey: From Tribal College to University is a partnership between University of Arizona (UA) Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC) and the Tohono O’Odham Community College (TOCC). The program team intends to increase the number of TOCC students entering the UA by systematically developing and testing an assistance model to support Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) students to transfer to a university. This project will also connect and coordinate with other efforts at UA to improve the university’s work on Native American student recruitment and retention as prioritized in the university’s new strategic plan.

The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice (Haury Program) judges selected the three-year project, A Student’s Journey, earlier in April from the group of three finalists. The three-year $600,000 award will fund three cadres of students (60 total) to help develop: knowledge about environmental and social justice, skills and confidence to pursue bachelor’s degrees that are related to environmental impact and work experience in Tribal departments. The co-leads on the project are Marti Lindsey (UA) and Daniel Sestiaga (TOCC).

 “We are excited about the potential of A Student’s Journey to provide opportunities to students from TOCC and to connect with and support the new UA strategic plan efforts,” said Anna Spitz, Director. “This project, along with those selected in 2016 and 2017 K’é bee da'ahiiniita: Strength through the Navajo Clan System to Respond to the Gold King Mine Spill, Karletta Chief and Paloma Beamer, leads, and Engaging Native Boys in Education, Tribal Lifeways, and Land Stewardship: An Exploration, Leisy Wyman, lead, has strong educational aspirations to extend knowledge, capacity and leadership of younger generations at UA and in communities.”

The evening celebration included a wonderful keynote presentation by Alberto Rios, 2017 Arizona Poet Laurate. In his presentation, When giving is all we have, Alberto invites us to reflect in the act of giving through art, by listening to what surrounds us, writing, creating music, sharing stories, and raising awareness, in short, changing other people’s lives.  

This year’s event also showcased two of the current challenge grants, K’é bee da'ahiiniita: Strength through the Navajo Clan System to Respond to the Gold King Mine Spill and La Siembra: Sowing a New Model of Community Engagement through Urban Agriculture, and their accomplishments. The teams provided the attendees with short presentations that captured the excitement and strides of communities and university partners in different stages of their projects. The evening program was also enriched by comments from Jane Hunter, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, who spoke about the UA commitment to tribal communities. Mary Grier, Haury Program Donor-Advised Fund Board, provided an overview of how the Haury Program has started to create impact in its first five years. She envisions the program as “a place where we can try out innovative ideas to develop solutions for the world’s problems in the area of environment and social justice, scalable and replicable solutions involving authentic partnerships between community and university.”  Ms. Grier also recognized individuals who had served on the Haury Program’s Advisory Council and the Rising Voices Board during the first five years for their contributions to the impact of the Program.

The program concluded with a blessing song by students of TOCC as all returned to their pursuits focused on another five years of impact through investment in people and projects to continue Mrs. Haury’s legacy of transformation-focused funding.