Sometimes in college it’s hard to figure out who you are, where you’re going or what you want to do with yourself when the time comes to graduate into the real world. We get it. It’s hard. But for this week’s issue, here is a little inspiration to jumpstart your thoughts and ideas. These are people who are shaping the world by doing what they love and imparting real change on the issues and realities that shape their lives. Maybe after reading about some of these movers and shakers, you will be inspired to enact your own change here on campus.
DANN AND MARTHA PAQUETTE
WHO: Dann and Martha Paquette are the founders of the “Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project”
WHAT Pretty Things is a group of brewers based in Somerville who are committed to crafting quality beer and ales that are as whimsical and creative as they are fun to drink. Still too small to own their own brewery, Dann and Martha rent out brewing spaces from larger breweries. Dan and Martha “pour out ideas for beers in the form of mythical creatures, drawings and rambling writings. Jack D’Or, their flagship Saison beer is a great Belgian-inspired local favorite, brewed with four kinds of hops and five different malts.
WHERE: Though their resources are small, this couple has the drive and the dedication to raise the profile of local beer in Somerville and work hard to change the standards and expectations of what brewers can and can’t do.
HOW Tufts Wine Society, is an informal 21+ group that samples interesting and unique wines. (www.tuftscork.com)
WHO: Andrej Pejic, only 20 years old and a former Bosnian refugee, is quickly becoming an instantly recognizable (and uncategorizable) face in the fashion industry.
WHAT: Last spring, he shattered gender norms and expectations by walking in Jean-Paul Gualtier’s men’s and women’s shows. Andrej is being lauded in queer and trans communities as an emblem of the beauty of the female found within the male body. His androgyny and ability to model for both male and female consumers is becoming a highly bankable commodity in the fashion world. In September, he was ranked number 98 in FHM magazine’s Sexiest Women in the World, which caused a lot of anger in the active trans community.
WHERE: Whether you are confused, consumed or turned on by Andrej’s a-typical physical features, his is a face that is becoming the a-typical superstar of gender fluidity and sexual norms.
HOW: If you want to know more about trans issues at Tufts, check out the LGBT center located at 226 College Ave. To get involved in fashion, think about partcipating in Lux China Care Fashion Show.
WHO IS SHE: Jennifer Egan is the 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction
WHAT IS SHE DOING: If you haven’t read Egan’s, A Visit From The Goon Squad, you should. It’s beautiful and fun and whimsical and thrilling and deeply poetic and hilariously funny. Jennifer Egan has been writing fiction for years, but this year she truly became a literary powerhouse. Egan is able to successfully describe an entire culture of punk rock music from past, present and future perspectives – weaving nostalgia for what once was together with a nervous trepidation about what technology will mean to artists in the future.
WHERE IS SHE GOING HBO recently acquired the rights to the novel for a TV series. Though no writer has signed on to write yet, look for it next year as one of HBO’s new must-watches.
HOW YOU CAN DO THE SAME: Submit your creative work and short stories to the Tufts Observer Poetry & Prose section! Become a literary powerhouse right here on campus. Email all submissions to email@example.com
WHO Rocky Kistner, a former investigative journalist, is a staff writer for the NRDC’s staff blog, Swtichboard
WHAT: When you think about an environmental activist, you’re probably picturing a twenty-something hippy with long hair and tie-dye. Rocky Kistner is the antithesis of that and is emerging as a powerful online voice for green activists. Rocky has been reporting since June 2010 on the BP oil spill in the gulf, giving stories of fishermen, workers, families and surrounding wildlife that highlight the devastation and problems that still exist down south.
WHERE Now, he has started to focus on the Keystone XL, the oil pipelined proposed to pump from Canada to Texas.
HOW: Join Tufts Sustainability Collective! A student group dedicated to strengthening the environmental community on campus
WHO: Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist, who uses his works to speak to social and political criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party.
WHAT: As much a political activist as an artist, Weiwei focuses his works on addressing the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. Weiwei is a painter, a sculptor, a performance artist, an architect, a photographer, a filmmaker and an installation artist. Weiwei is best known for helping design the Chinese National Stadium from the 2008 summer Olympics known as the “Birds Nest.” Earlier this year, he was arrested at the Beijing airport and held for over two months without any official charges filed against him.
WHERE: The Chinese government is now charging his company. for almost two million dollars in back taxes. Forbidden to leave Beijing for a year without permission, Weiwei has become a symbol of international government resistance and free speech, and will continue to champion free speech and individual rights through his art.
HOW: The Social Arts Initiative works to use arts as a platform to raise awareness about social justice issues. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
WHO: Jennifer Pahlka is the founder of “Code for America,” a non-partisan, non-political organization founded in 2009 to bring web-industry professionals to work with city governments in order to promote openness, participation and efficiency in municipal governments.
WHAT: The organization is modeled after Teach for America by selecting fellows from a pool of competitive applicants and giving them a stipend in exchange for a year of public service. Projects by CFA include a GPS data program to let parents in Boston check if school buses are running late, Adopt-A-Hydrant where city residents pledge to keep designated fire hydrants clear of snow and debris during severe weather conditions, and ClassTalk, a program which allows teachers with much access to digital resources to instantly communicate via text and email with their students.
WHERE: Pahlka is passionate about keeping her coding open-source, which means anyone can use it, anywhere in the US. In this digital age, as more and more aspects of daily life move to online platforms, Jennifer and CFA’s codes are sure to become the standard for implementing digitalgovernment infrastructures.
HOW: Tufts’ Association for Computing Machinery is club full of people dedicated to programming and computing on an intense scale, find them on the OCL website!
WHO: John Prendergast is a human rights, anti-genocide activist who has concentrated his focus to maintaining peace in Africa for over 25 years
WHAT: He is the co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative which works to “end genocide and crimes against humanity, and preventing them from occurring in the future.” His humanitarian credits include work for the Clinton Administration, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. With the Enough Project, he helped launch the Satellite Sentinel Project, which aims to prevent conflict and human rights abuses through satellite imagery.
WHERE: By engaging law makers, high profile celebrities and other humanitarian aid leaders, John is raising the profile of human rights abuses and shining a much need light on the continuing genocidal problems that still exist in the world today.
HOW: John’s book, “Unlikely Brothers” is a great read to pick up over Thanksgiving break, It may inspire you to join the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
WHO: Cecile Richards is the woman who is making it her mission in the upcoming year to preserve women’s health and reproductive freedom.
WHAT: She is the active and vocal president of the Planned Parenthood Federation for America. Last May, she was a powerful voice in combating the bill H.R. 3, which would have stripped Planned Parenthood of its government funding. Her speeches are impassioned and delivered with a fierce aggressiveness that is crucial in defending such a volatile issue
WHERE: As the 2012 election gets closer, family planning, Medicaid and women’s healthcare will become more and more politicized. We can look to Richards as a voice of reason, intelligence and fierce combative energy that make her such a dynamic and impactful presence as the face of Planned Parenthood.
HOW: PACT, a student run organization, works to promote education and dialogue on campus about various health issues such as sexual and relationship violence, hookup culture, consent and sexual health.