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  • 3. Unlikely Friendships: Shared Space Across Faith Traditions

    For our third interview of The PARK series on "Unlikely Friendships" we turn to two incredible staff members who are part of the Penn Religious Communities Council out of the Office of the Chaplain. Megan LeCluyse and Patty Anton. Megan LeCluyse is an ordained Presbyterian minister and heads up the Christian Association, while Patty Anton is a chaplain to the Muslim Student Association.They both support students who share their own spiritual beliefs and traditions, yet Megan, as a Christian and Patty as a Muslim do not share the same religious beliefs. As you will hear in the conversation, they share space, both housing their religious communities within the same space over at the Christian Association. This shared space has fostered a friendship where they have come to many profound realizations. One of them is that they actually have similar roles in students’ lives. Because of this Patty and Megan are able to support each other as they have very proximate knowledge about what it means to be women religious leaders serving students at Penn.

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  • 2. Unlikely Friendships: Connections within the College House System

    In our second interview in the series, we are joined by Penn Senior, psychology major in the College Maddie McGregor and recent Penn graduate from the College Class of ’21 Cognitive Science major and Computer Science minor, Fawad Syed. Fawad was Maddie’s RA in Ware College House in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic hit. Even though their time being together in person was truncated, they were able to develop a strong friendship that continues to contribute to their wellbeing. They have several other differences, yet they have been able maintain a strong and authentic connection that transcends these differences. Fawad and Maddie have very interesting things to say about Penn’s culture that go beyond their particular friendship. We can learn larger lessons about friendship from their compassionate insights in this conversation.
  • 1. Unlikely Friendships: Identity and Difficult Conversations

    What does it look like to develop a friendship with someone who may be different from you? In some way? Does it cause you to grow socially and intellectually? And if so, how? For our very first interview in the "Unlikely Friendship" series, we are joined by Penn Seniors in the College, Laila Shadid and David Garnick. Here, they explain their friendship to us, why it is unlikely, and what they have learned from each other. By bravely entering into hard conversations. They are wise and kind, and though they are describing their particular friendship, there are many larger lessons that can be gleaned about how friendship contributes to our well-being. If you are a member of the Penn community in an Unlikely Friendship and would like to be considered for an interview on The PARK, submit your friendship here.
  • 4. Social Action, Integration and Sustaining Practices: The Change Making Power of Public Service

    Dr. Lia Howard hosts Ellen Kamei, a former mayor of the city of Mountain View, who has spent most of her career in public service, especially focusing on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2018, she served her first term on city council, where she worked hard for citizens during COVID 19. This past November, she won reelection to city council. She has roots in her community as a third generation Mountain View resident, and she's a full time working mom.
  • 3. Self Care, Community Care, and Social Change: Youth Access to Nutritious Food

    Host Lia Howard talks with Jarrett Stein, a two-time Penn alumnus and a staff member at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Stein is the director of social enterprise and health partnerships at the Netter Center, where he oversees the health education and social-entrepreneurship partnerships between students, staff, and faculty at Penn and at the Netter Center’s University-Assisted Community Schools. To support kids' access to healthy foods and meaningful jobs, he co-founded Rebel Ventures, a youth-driven health food business run by high school students. In 2018, Jarrett was selected as a TIAA Difference Merk 100 honoree for his efforts to improve nutrition for the young people of West Philadelphia. 
  • 2. Self Care, Community Care and Social Change: Civil Rights Law

    Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) joins host Dr. Lia Howard to discuss both the visionary, as well as the practical ways he fuels his work. Espinoza-Madrigal focuses on the legal needs of people who identify across intersecting lines of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and immigration status. Ivan's insights and how to balance self-care and sustained social justice work through his ability to both grieve with and fight for his community, provides a wonderful entry into a broader conversation on the connection between individual and community wellness.
  • 1. Self Care, Community Care, and Social Change: Immigration and Human Rights Law

    Host Lia Howard talks with Efrén Olivares about his work at the Southern Poverty Law Center and his stunning book, "My Son Will Die of Sorrow, a memoir of immigration from the front lines". In it, Efrén weaves together his experience as a human rights lawyer working for the Texas Civil Rights Project in 2018, when the Trump administration instituted the zero tolerance policy and began to separate families at the border with his own story as an immigrant to the U.S.. Efrén shares his career journey towards social justice work and opens up about the necessary shift in mind-set to make the challenging work sustainable. This is the first conversation in the new series of The PARK featuring Penn alumni working to change some of America's most intractable social problems. We ask them how are they taking care of themselves so that they can sustain their fight on behalf of others. It examines the intellectual, social and contemplative practices that leaders in the arena of social change are embracing to inform their work, offering examples and real world experiences. This series speaks to current Penn undergrads, hoping to better undergird their own social action with integrative and sustaining practices.