Pairing Theory with Practice
Jan 13, 2016 by Stuart Haruyama
Tara is a member of the Leadership & Community Engagement [LACE] Fellowship, which is a 300 hour leadership program combining community service, critical reflection, and leadership training. The Fellowship is an opportunity for RISD students to learn more about the local Providence area and experience how their art & design training can be utilized for the betterment of their communities. Fellows also receive a $1,200 education stipend at the conclusion of the program.
My name is Tara Gupta, sophomore in Film/Animation/Video and Nature/Culture/Sustainability concentrator from Oakton, VA. I’m interested in human rights and the construction of healthy lifestyles, which I believe involves sustainable, slow food growing, community building, and productive leisure time.
I chose to take part in the LACE Fellowship because it offered a supportive structure for community service while at RISD. The time that LACE requires me to spend in my community holds me accountable for leading a more involved and rounded life, and has helped me find time to know Providence better and learn from its existing community.
Through classes and opportunities such as LACE, I have discovered a passion for social entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as for sustainable design and community building, much of which is represented by the organization I chose to work with, Southside Community Land Trust. SCLT is a nonprofit organization focused on enabling people to grow their own food, and creating a community that shares resources and knowledge.
Thus far, I’ve been learning much about the structure of the organization, and how a nonprofit operates. My tasks have ranged from cleaning out a new plot that has been acquired for a new community garden to composing seed letters. It’s interesting to pair studies on the theory of social entrepreneurship, which I have learned in some of my classes within the NCSS concentration, with work within a real organization, which involves so many routine and manual tasks. As I get to know the organization better, I might make more use of my skill set in Film and Photography to sort through media that they have in archives, but my role has largely involved me using different aspects of my education and personality than RISD normally requires of me, which I think is important in pushing me as a student to gain new skills and adapt to new situations.