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Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Program

The Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (TFVSA) 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 TFVSA time, space, and support to work on a project that would not be possible under the activist’s usual working circumstances.

The TFVSA program gives the selected TFVSA time for reflection, research, planning, and writing related to the area of activism. Each TFVSA is required to work on a project that will advance the future work of the TFVSA and potentially benefit other activists. This project may be a report, plan of action, communication strategy, training tool, or another 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.  The residency typically takes place during the winter semester with a presentation of the project deliverables taking place the following fall semester at the CEW+ Annual Advocacy Symposium. Housing and travel expenses are paid by the TFVSA program endowment. After these costs are paid, the remaining yearly allocation is given to the TFVSA as a modest stipend. 

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 TFVSAs nurture a “scholar-activist” mindset that can improve the quality of work done in academia as well as in social justice organizations.

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

Eligibility

The TFVSA 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. 

For the 2021-22 cycle CEW+ is seeking applications from individuals who, through activism, service, creative arts, or research, are working to address the challenges and issues faced by student caregivers in higher education with special emphasis on student caregivers who are BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color).

Visiting Social Activist Project

Interested activists must:

  • Develop a project proposal with deliverables relevant to their work. 

Examples include a report, plan of action, communication strategy, training tool, or another item. The deliverable will later be shared on CEW+’s website. Nominees must outline a plan for working on the project during their residency and describe how insights gained from the engagement will be integrated into the activist’s future work. Ideally, nominees should be able to suggest ways to disseminate their completed deliverables 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.

  • Commit to spending four-weeks dedicated to their residency during U-M winter semester, understanding that meetings and interactions can take place virtually but will happen during EST business hours
  • During residency, engage virtually or in-person with U-M constituents including researchers, course, community members, and/or students
  • Present at the annual CEW+ Advocacy Symposium the fall directly after their TFVSA residency.

Presentations should: make accessible to a wide audience the importance of the work completed during their TFVSA residency; showcase their project deliverables; provide action steps and tools for how audience members (faculty, staff, students, and the broader community members) can implement change in their scope of influence.

Nomination, Application & Selection Process

The application process for the 2022 TFVSA is now closed. If you have questions, please contact cew-tfvsa@umich.edu.

STORIES

“We all have the ability to make change.”

"I've had the privilege of seeing student parents meet each other and just see that moment of 'Oh my gosh, my story is reflected in you and your story', and that's so fulfilling. Every time that I see it, I'm just like, this is why we started this, this is why we do it.”

“Being a black woman is extraordinarily important to me...that identity coupled with everything I’ve been able to achieve is an important symbol...”

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