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Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Program

Each year, the Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (VSA) Program brings to CEW+ a social justice activist whose work affects women and recognizes gender equity issues from an intersectional lens. One goal of the program is to build the capacity and effectiveness of social activists while amplifying the voices of underserved populations. This is accomplished by giving the VSA time, space and support to work on a project that would not be possible under the activist’s usual working circumstances.

This gives the selected activist time for reflection, research, planning and writing related to the area of activism. A stipend, housing and travel expenses are paid by the program. Each VSA is required to create a product that will advance the future work of the VSA and potentially benefit other activists and the community. This product may be a report, plan of action, communication strategy, training tool or other item relevant to the activist’s work.During the VSA cycle, applicants are invited to reside near campus up to one month or make intermittent visits to Ann Arbor and work remotely.

Connections between Visiting Social Activists and influential community leaders in Ann Arbor, Detroit and/or Grand Rapids have a positive and synergistic effect on all. Nationally prominent activists draw visitors to U-M who might not otherwise come, demonstrating the university’s commitment to serve the community. These visitors, as well as U-M students, faculty and staff are able to learn from and be inspired by activists who are working to improve the quality of women’s lives. Interactions with VSAs nurture a “scholar-activist” mindset that can improve the quality of work done in academia as well as in social justice organizations.

The VSA program is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna Twink Frey and her husband, the late James McKay.

Visiting Social Activist Fellowship

Fellowship Program Overview

Each year, the Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (VSA) Program brings to CEW+ a social justice activist whose work affects women and recognizes gender equity issues. One goal of the program is to build the capacity and effectiveness of social activists. This is accomplished by giving the VSA time, space and support to work on a project that would not be possible under the activist’s usual working circumstances.

A four-week stay in Ann Arbor, Michigan, gives the selected activist time for reflection, research, planning and writing related to the area of activism. A $10,000 stipend, housing and travel expenses are paid by the program. Each VSA is required to work on a project that will advance the future work of the VSA and potentially benefit other activists. This project may be a report, plan of action, communication strategy, training tool or other items relevant to the activist’s work. See this website’s section on “Activists’ Projects” for some examples. Read more about the Program Overview here.

Eligibility

The Visiting Social Activist program supports activists whose work addresses gender equity issues that affect the lives of women and/or girls. The program defines social justice and equity programs broadly to include activism in such areas as housing, employment, income support, food security, education, violence, child care, health care, and employer benefits like paid sick leave and retirement income.

Visiting Social Activist Project

Interested activists must develop a project proposal relevant to their work. Examples include a report, plan of action, communication strategy, training tool or other item. The product will later be published on CEW’s website. Nominees must outline a plan for working on the project during their four-week stay and describe how insights gained from the visit will be integrated into the activist’s future work. Ideally, nominees should be able to suggest ways to disseminate their end product in order to advance the work of other activists. Ideas with the potential to have a regional or national impact and/or to be replicable by other activists are encouraged.

Nomination, Application & Selection Process

CEW+ will be reviewing its process to select future VSAs. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Tiffany Marra at tmarra@umich.edu.