Critical Research//Community Engagement//Radical Advancement
House in SoHE’s Civil Society and Community Research department, The P.O.W.E.R. Collective—People.Of.Wisdom.Eternally.Revolutionizing—consists of graduate students on a mission to support research, political and community action programs, and professional development for and by communities of color.
While not new to campus, the group has found a new online presence on the SoHE website.
“Three years ago, when I was being recruited to the university, I was told about The P.O.W.E.R. Collective. It was the deciding factor for me selecting UW-Madison for graduate school,” explains Troy Williams, a current CSCR PhD student. “It was the first space that I have seen on a college campus designated for activist-scholars of color from multiple disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences engaging in community-based education, projects, and research.” Today, Williams serves as the Program Director for The P.O.W.E.R. Collective.
SoHE’s Dean Soyeon Shim also sees the power of the collective. “When SoHE doctoral students Ife Williams, Bakari Wallace, and Ethan Pollard came to my office, I was very impressed with their vision,” she recalls. “It didn’t take long for me to be convinced that we needed to support the P.O.W.E.R Collective to empower our students and community members of color in the research and scholarships that meet their needs. It has been a joy to watch their professional growth and witness their real impact on the community.”
Very rarely are there spaces designated for folks of color to exist, explore, and network unapologetically inside and outside of the academy.—Troy Williams, P.O.W.E.R. Program Director.
Recently, the group was awarded a Community-based Learning Course Development Grant from the Morgridge Center, which they are working to quickly implement in SoHE while connecting with community organizations to develop the syllabus. In addition, they will be hosting the third Culture and Community Cyphers event in Fall 2020.
“I love and appreciate the work that we are doing,” concludes Williams. “I have to acknowledge the core members of our organization and Wisdom Counsel Members because if it were not for them, P.O.W.E.R. would not be what it is. The work that they are doing in the community, in the classroom, and within our organization deserves recognition, and I am fortunate to be able to create with them.”
In addition to Williams, core members include:
Ethan Pollard and Abigail Escatel (Co-Directors of Community Engagement)
Bakari Wallace, Shereen Yousuf, and Michael Davis (Co-Directors of Education)
Youbin Kang and Ife Williams (Co-Directors of Operations)