UACT develops powerful social justice facilitation and organizing skills
for people who work in worlds of power and difference.
We know how challenging it is to develop and sustain learning spaces that challenge people to work together, across differences, in a way that recognizes and invites rigorous collective work toward social change. UACT facilitation training develops the capacity for sustained, dynamic, inspired learning, both inside our own organization as well as in other university and community organizations that seek our partnership. Skilled facilitation -- the ability to create and hold collective space, to involve all participants in rigorous engagement with issues of power across lines of difference, and to develop context-appropriate participatory structures -- creates the conditions for social justice work that is deep, broad, and effective.
Our facilitation, training, and events aim toward the development of alliances and coalitions in which everyone can take part and which cultivate the leadership and wisdom of those directly affected by injustice.
Advanced UACT staff, including student trainers, post-graduate interns, and the faculty Director, develop partnerships toward this end within the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with organizers and coalitions in the region, and with programs in diverse higher education institutions. Please contact us if you are interested in working together.
Community Organizing and Facilitation
In 2016-2017, UACT trained organizers, leaders, and facilitators working with the following organizations/movements locally and in the region:
Western Mass Cosecha
La Mariposa Colectivo
UMass Student Government Association
UMass Divestment Campaign
Hampshire College's Center for Ethics and the Common Good
UMass Amherst Women of Color Leadership Network
Past Trainings, Workshops, and Presentations
Other university classes, departments, organizations, and community groups for which UACT has conducted training and workshops since 2012 include:
Social Justice Student-Taught Colloquium (UMass’ STPEC Program in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and AFSC)
Eco-Rep Program (UMass School of Natural Sciences)
Sustainable Living undergraduate TAs (UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture)
Real Food Challenge Internship (UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture)
Preserving Food Culture from the Homeland (Nuestras Raices in Holyoke, UMass Stockbridge, and UMass Community Engagement and Student Learning)
Summer Institutes in Sustainability and Filmmaking (UMass Commonwealth Honors College)
Peer Health Educators Program (Hampshire College)
Student Union (Hampshire College)
UMass Student-Run Businesses
Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Public History/Histories of Incarceration Graduate Course (UMass History Department)
Women of Color Leadership Network (UMass Center for Women and Community)
UMass Collaborative Leadership Conference
Loretta Ross' "Calling In the Calling Out Culture" conference
Grassroots Community Organizing (GCO)
Our core facilitation training focuses on preparing students to facilitate GCO, UACT’s five-credit, upper-division, community-engaged Anthropology course. Facilitators are not TAs. They create and maintain space for collective intellectual and personal exploration. Facilitators work with our community organizer partners, texts, and a training team to move diverse groups of students toward collective engagement in racial, economic, social, and environmental justice organizing.
GCO facilitators are trained, mentored, and supported by a team of trainers (generally two student trainers and the Faculty Director). They take three training courses and commit at least 30 hours each week to their facilitation work during the spring semester. Facilitating GCO is some of the most difficult and rewarding work of our students’ college careers. They emerge from the experience with highly transferable skills in the facilitation of small, diverse groups of young adult learners.