SDP 2021-2022 Week 15: Communities

We started this class by discussing the week’s readings. Burge first highlighted the need to maintain relationships after the initial stages of creating relationships. Eesha went on to highlight this comment by saying how important it was to have good relationships with those who we are doing work with, but also to focus on external relationships. I thought this was an important point to make because some external relationships that we are forming was made more possible by us publishing the op-ed and our relationship with the SBCLT.

Anand went on to ask us to what extent Baltimore exists. We then discussed Baltimore as a city of neighborhoods and how we are accustomed to seeing the history of segregation. This sparked a response from Jaeson where he mentioned his conflicts with working in the community as a privileged student at JHU. This insight is important because we all need to ask ourselves what our roles are; understand that it is a privilege for us to be doing this work; and think about how to actively avoid being extractive.

Ryan then talked about how we need to focus on this process, but how we also need to think about the byproducts. I was happy this point was brought up because it is imperative. In my personal experience and others as well, no matter the byproducts we may consider prior to pushing a project forward, there are others that we did not anticipate.

We then broke into groups where we discussed the 3 following questions:

  1. HMW connect with small & large businesses so as to start a conversation around composting?
  2. HMW engage (private) residential stakeholders?
  3. HMW ensure that local governing bodies are well informed and have a buy-in?

More on question 1):
We talked about how we could start with Mom’s (the only business which responded to our survey) in the Rotunda. We thought about how we could have them as a business leader that could also talk to other businesses in the are. Mom’s could possibly be a trial situation and working with Mom’s could provide further inside into what needs to happen for zero-waste to happen for a collective group of businesses, as well as what works and doesn’t. We also talked about the lack of business’ response to our surveys and discussed the possibility of going to meet individuals in person to make this relationship more personality. Upon further discussion, we found that Mom’s works with Compost Crew and talked about the possibility of having them switch services. Greg & Shashawnda talked about how the contract with the compost crew is quite expensive and it wouldn’t be a hard sell to have them send their compost closer. Further, they emphasized the need for businesses to commit to their tonnage.

More on question 2):
We talked about how important it is for us to focus on relationships between residents and management. Someone mentioned that some apartments had councils and these councils could build up momentum among residents. Without councils however, it was mentioned how important it is to trigger residents into wanting to bring up zero-waste to their management. We discussed potentially starting at bigger residential complexes and showing residents how composting could be implemented. Greg & Shashawnda suggested that we think about what businesses are currently being used by these multitenant buildings. Greg mentioned that there are civic groups with set away funds received from JHU. They mentioned that we could potentially convince these groups to set away money for composting implementation.

More on question 3):
When talking about local governing bodies, we need to decide what it means to be will informed and who we are speaking on behalf of. We also discussed how to establish buy in and how we could show the various health and environmental effects caused by the incinerator. We also talked about how it was a good time to enact change as it relates to zero-waste because there is momentum behind this movement – particularly groups and people. Questions that were asked: How can we combine these efforts? What meetings do we need to attend to provide this information? Shashawnda said it was important for us to build pressure and highlighted the need for us to focus on JHU. Greg & Shashawnda both them emphasized this point by reiterating our existing presence and work at JHU.

As for the future, we as a collective need to think about how we can get JHU to commit to something. We talked about how we could potentially put pressure on this institution by mobilizing the student body.

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