Liberal Arts Action Lab Opens in Downtown Hartford

AMANDA SCOPELLITI ’20
FEATURES EDITOR

Trinity’s new urban campus, located in Down-town Hartford at 10 Constitution Plaza is opening in November and will start offering courses in January of 2018. Starting in October, Trinity will be recruiting students to participate in the new Liberal Arts Action Lab, which will give them the opportunity to engage in community-based research projects at the downtown campus next semester. Trinity has partnered with Capital Community College, the city’s only public undergraduate institution. Trinity and Capital students will be working together on research projects aimed at im- proving the community in the City of Hartford.
You may be wondering how the research projects that Trinity and Capital will work on at the downtown campus are different from research that many Trinity students and faculty participate in right here on Summit Street. New Director of the Action Lab Megan Brown says that this program distinguishes itself by giving community members of Hartford the opportunity to come up with their own research projects. Through the Liberal Arts Action Lab, Hartford community members have the ability to submit proposals about changes they would like to see in the city area. The research proposals must be approved by the lab’s Hartford Residency Advisory Board; a group of city residents that represent the demographics of Hartford (who work mainly in nonprofits and advocacy groups). The group will then prioritize the issues that they want addressed through the program.
An additional benefit of the downtown Hartford space is that it facilitates involvement between Trinity students and the city by encouraging students to get off-campus and spend time in the downtown area. Students who participate in the Liberal Arts Action Lab will get to take two courses at Trinity’s Constitution Plaza building, located just two and a half miles from our main campus. Students can take the city bus to get downtown. The two classes include an Action Research Methods course, where all of the students in the program will meet, in addition to a Hartford Research Course, where project groups will have the opportunity to work on their research. Trinity professors will serve as faculty fellows for the research projects in order to help students set the stage and review their work.
If you are interested in getting involved in the Liberal Arts Action Lab during the spring 2018 semester, you can fill out an application online starting in October. You will have the opportunity to rank the research projects you would like to get involved in, as they will cover a variety of topics from public health to art-based development. The Action Lab will be accepting ten Trinity students and ten Capital students to kick off the program in January. The Lab is looking for predominantly sophomores and juniors, as the community research will likely open doors for students who are interested in participating in additional research or writing a senior thesis.
All in all, the Liberal Arts Action Lab is an in- credible opportunity for Trinity students to col- laborate with students from other colleges and ignite positive change in the Hartford community.

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