New Bedford Now: Connecting to Grow

Maura Ramsey and Kristin McCullin filling the wagon with plants outside of Haskell Public Gardens on Shawmut Avenue, NB.

Last Thursday, June 7, GROW Education held its annual Community Garden planting at Carlos Pacheco Elementary School. It was one of many the program has done in recent weeks all around New Bedford.

Last week, too, the New Bedford outdoor Farmers Markets opened for the season. You’ll find them on Mondays at Brooklawn Park from 2:00-6:00 p.m.; Thursdays in Custom House Square Park also from 2:00-6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays at Clasky Common Park from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Yesterday, I happened to catch Maura Ramsey, Executive Director of Groundwork USA Southcoast (not affiliated with this Groundwork, the coworking facility) at Haskell Public Gardens. She was picking up some donated vegetable plants from Kristin McCullin, horticulturist at the park.

Groundwork USA Southcoast is planting the community gardens at Riverside Park in the city’s north end this year. The organization is based out of the Community Economic Development Center at 1285 Acushnet Avenue, and is part of the Love The Ave group, which is seeking to help revitalize the greater Acushnet Avenue neighborhood.

Maura told me that one of their interns, Irlanda Antunes is also working with Adam Davenport, who oversees the GROW Education gardens for the Marion Institute, which started the program with Zoe Hansen-DiBello. (Both Adam and Zoe are members of this Groundwork.)

Adam Davenport leads the planting at Carlos Pacheco School, Mt. Pleasant Street, NB.

At Saturday’s Clasky Common Farmers Market, newcomers Marisa Barone and Ian Nichols from Westport’s Backyard Garden were well aware of GROW Education’s gardens. Naturally, they love the concept. They would; they grow and sell holistically grown vegetables and herbs. New Bedford is a destination for their hard work due to the city’s growing embrace of local agriculture.

Kristin at Haskell Park has been growing vegetables there for several years now. Discovering her supporting Groundwork USA Southcoast’s efforts in Riverside Park wasn’t surprising; she, like all the people in this report, put their beliefs into practice.

A common bond is developing through all these efforts. It’s one that is very – no pun intended – organic. Local, sustainable agriculture initiatives across the city are finding each other to make common cause.

That’s intentional. Maura Ramsey says that the groups have been actively searching each other out to find ways to go further together by sharing knowledge and resources.

That not only strengthens each but also strengthens the whole – as well as the holistic.

Maura said on Monday that she was thinking of planting potatoes at Riverside Park, but was afraid it was too late in the season.

Not so, said Kristin and myself. Kristin knew from experience. I knew because I saw Davenport doing it at Pacheco School last week.

No doubt Irlanda Antunes will find that out interning for both Groundwork USA Southcoast and with GROW Education, and share the knowledge.

At this coworking facility, we love the concept and practice of collaboration.

And we like it even more when it occurs out in the wild, naturally.

  • The New Bedford Now weekly briefing is deep dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.


Drawing on the Sacred Circle at Haskell Gardens – an Installation by Andy Moerlein; in collaboration with Master Horticulturist, Kristin McCullin; and Artist/Curator Jessica Bregoli.

On the Menu in New Bedford Now

This week’s New Bedford Now briefing hits close to home – because I’m happy to share the news that myself and Sarah Athanas, working together as Twin Fish, and in partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council, are launching the city’s first RESTAURANT WEEK this September, 2018.

The Love The Ave & North End Restaurant Week will happen from Saturday, Sept. 15 through Friday, September 21. Pull up a chair, grab a fork, and come hungry.

Restaurant Weeks are a terrific vehicle to showcase a city or region’s unique cuisine – and as we all know, New Bedford’s diverse dishes are satisfying and savory. Renowned for fresh seafood, Portuguese and increasingly, Latin American flavor, the city is indeed Destination New Bedford when it comes to dining.

During a restaurant week, eateries break out the good china, so to speak. Specials, signature dishes and discounts define the seven days and thus the establishments. And, then the city.

New Bedford’s first Restaurant Week is centered on and around Acushnet Avenue for a reason. It’s genesis was in the Love The Ave committee, a community group dedicated to revitalizing the commercial corridor which I call New Bedford’s most relentlessly urban space.

So, to help promote Restaurant Week, the group will finally be getting something it has needed for some time – its own website, In the process of fostering business development with the Restaurant Week, the North End will then be left with a resource to showcase itself into the future, too.

This week, the site and first rush of publicity for the Love The Ave & North End Restaurant Week get rolled out – and followers of Groundwork get the first look courtesy of this blog.

From now until mid-July, we’ll be lining up all the terrific bakeries, eateries and restaurants along Acushnet Avenue and throughout parts of the North End and then packaging them all together to publicize like crazy from later July through September.

You can read all about it soon on

Below is the first official Press Release for the event, going out to all media in the region this week.

Sarah and I, working from right here in Groundwork, hope you’re excited as we are to get a taste of what makes all of New Bedford tasty. Join us in the months ahead as we plot our course – make that three or four courses – up and down and all around Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford.


Restaurant Week comes to Acushnet Avenue and North End in September

Pull up a chair, grab a fork, and come hungry.

The City of New Bedford’s first Restaurant Week launches this September, 2018. It will feature the diverse menus of what some regard as the city’s Restaurant Row.

That’s the commercial corridor Acushnet Avenue, the heart of the North End and affectionately called “The Ave” in the City of New Bedford. This vibrant space pulses from Coggeshall Street to Lunds Corner.

Additionally, eateries from Belleville Avenue to the east and Ashley Boulevard to the west will join in this special week of gastric delight from Saturday, September 15 through Friday, September 21, 2018.

It’s a week to showcase the culinary flavor of New Bedford’s North End,  home to some of the city’s most beloved bakeries, eateries, and restaurants.

From fine dining to casual noshing, Acushnet Avenue and the North End boast an impressive array of savory cultures: American, Chinese, French, Guatemalan, Peruvian, Portuguese, Mexican and Spanish dishes are all on the menu here.

During Restaurant Week, participating eateries can feature price fixe menus, promote special discounts, highlight signature dishes and offer entertainment. It’s their choice – and their moment to showcase their kitchens.

All of these special Restaurant Week happenings will be posted to the website,, launched as part of this special event.

Restaurant Week is being organized by the content media firm, Twin Fish, LLC out of the Groundwork! coworking space in partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) and the community group, Love The Ave – with enthusiastic support from Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office and various city departments.

The Love The Ave group, overseen by the NBEDC, the Department of Planning, Housing and Community Development and the  Community Economic Development Center (CEDC), located at 1285 Acushnet Avenue, is committed to revitalizing the area while empowering its diverse population.

“The Avenue’s many delicious dining spots are its greatest commercial and human asset,” says Steven Froias, a member of the Love The Ave community group. “They all bring distinction to this wonderfully funky, relentlessly urban space in New Bedford.”

Establishments that would like to participate in Restaurant Week can sign up directly There is no cost to participate. It is everyone’s wish that these terrific small businesses seize the opportunity to put North End dining on the Destination New Bedford map.

Eateries in the Restaurant Week area, along Acushnet Avenue from Coggeshall Street to Lunds Corner and from Ashley Boulevard to Belleville Avenue, can also contact Steven Froias and Sarah Athanas, the Twin Fish team, at with any questions. They will be reaching out to owners and managers between now and July 15, too.

After the full line-up has been created, Restaurant Week will be promoted through special blog posts to, its Facebook page (, posters, postcards and advertising throughout the city and region.

Acushnet Avenue is New Bedford’s International Marketplace. In recognition of this, Twin Fish has designed to be read in English, Portuguese and Spanish. It will read the settings on web browsers and switch between languages – or, you can click on the flag representing each at the top of the site.

Many of the cultures found around Acushnet Avenue and the North End are represented by their food and the places that serve it.

“A Restaurant Week is a great way to literally bring everyone to the table. It’s a meaningful economic development tool that is also culturally enriching,” says Angela Johnston, Director of Business Development for the NBEDC.

Mark your calendar now for the Love The Ave and North End Restaurant Week, Saturday, September 15 through Friday, September 21, 2017.

And remember to come hungry.

New Bedford Now: All Eyes on Hicks-Logan

Sitting right off I-195, New Bedford’s Hicks-Logan neighborhood could be an important gateway to the city.

For some, it’s a convenient means of egress and exit to and from the north end.

Some still call it home. In fact, the pioneering The Lofts at Wamsutta are part of a generous interpretation of the area.

For others, it’s a place to do business. Service industries, the city’s only LGBTQ bar, two destination antiques stores, Kyler’s Catch Fresh Seafood and more are all located here.

Here would be Hicks-Logan – an area of New Bedford sliced and diced by highways and left for dead.

And yet…

The obituary for its residential and industrial apocalypse was always premature. It’s held its own as a distinct neighborhood – which is more than can be said for others within Ward 3, where it resides. And many consider it a woefully underutilized gateway to the city, sitting right off Interstate 195.

Public art by Alexx Jardin under I-195.

It’s also exuded an urban porn charm which has always made it catnip to those with the fetish – like artists.

As I often say, “Where angels fear to tread…” artists rush in. And they have to Hicks-Logan. With street art (courtesy of Alexx Jardin) and performance art (thanks to the drag shows hosted at LePlace) and, in a bygone era, the music of the New Wave Cafe.

LePlace, the city’s only LGBTQ bar, has been open in Hicks-Logan for over 30 years.

The public mural team SUPERFLAT has had walls in Hicks-Logan in its line of sight since day one.

The money always follows the artists (even if too few of them get any of it), and that’s the scenario that may be playing out soon in the Hicks-Logan neighborhood of New Bedford, located East of Acushnet Avenue to the river of the same name, south of Coggeshall Street and basically under Eisenhower’s Interstate I-195.

Blanks walls leading up to Kyler’s Catch have caught the eye of the public art mural team, SUPERFLAT.

Patrick Sullivan, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development for New Bedford, tells me that the Hicks-Logan neighborhood and the former Eversource site on the waterfront downtown are this close to being officially designated Redevelopment Zones by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under a new banner of Urban Renewal.

I write “new banner” because some in New Bedford may remember ‘Urban Renewal’ in the city as defined by the demolition of numerous historic properties, Rt. 18 and a Quixotic attempt to turn Purchase Street into a “Pedestrian Mall” from Spring to William Streets (which may have actually been an idea ahead of its time, but let’s not digress…)

Urban Renewal today is defined by Massachusetts as follows: a strategy for redeveloping and revitalizing substandard, decadent and blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other uses.”

What that translates into is a redevelopment authority being given the power “ to plan and implement activities needed to address the conditions contributing to the disinvestment that leads to substandard, decadent and blighted open areas.”

Remnants of the former Revere Copper mill in Hicks-Logan.

That can include quite a lot, including the use of eminent domain, under specific approved redevelopment plans. The scope of these Redevelopment Zones is unclear as of now, as an official announcement is still forthcoming. (A 2008 Hicks-Logan-Sawyer Master Plan can still be found here on the City of New Bedford website.)

In plain English, things are getting real in New Bedford.

Hot on the heels of the city being designated an Opportunity Zone by the U.S. Treasury (details here), and last week’s announcement that Vineyard Wind got a green light for their off-shore wind farm, this is a city which will be soon be juggling multiple big ticket initiatives at once.

Let’s take a deep breath – and a step back.

The fact that the New Bedford Redevelopment Authority and SUPERFLAT both have their eyes on Hicks-Logan just may be a good thing. An opportunity to bring the city’s Creative Activists to the table and breathe some life into what Mayor Jon Mitchell has termed the “New Bedford Way” of doing things.

Redevelopment plans can often go astray – especially given the scope of power entrusted to an agency to carry out its agenda. All too often, the human is lost in the jargon.

Combining ambitious renewal plans with the city’s nationally-recognized Creative Activists is not only a hedge against the new Urban Renewal looking like the old Urban Renewal of the 1970s, but smart policy.

Greater municipal interests and artistic pursuits shouldn’t exist in separate silos. Bring them together and redevelopment just may have a human face – the New Bedford Way.

New Bedford’s season of renewal is real and lasting. Let’s bring all parties to the table and make it something else, too: sustainable and self-regenerative.

  • The New Bedford Now weekly briefing is deep dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

New Bedford Now: City designated an “Opportunity Zone”


Weekly Briefing

A dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

New Bedford is an Opportunity Zone

Looking for a place to escape paying capital gains taxes?

Forget the Cayman Islands.

Try New Bedford.

The U.S. Treasury, on the Baker administration’s recommendation, designated a big chunk of New Bedford an Opportunity Zone this past past week.

Opportunity Zones are specially designated areas, based on census tracts, around the country which are deemed eligible for a new tax incentive-based plan to attract investment in communities.

The idea is to create Opportunity Funds in the zones. The payoff for investors? They avoid capital gains taxes on money put into the Opportunity Funds, which are privately created.

The New York Times recently labeled the zones and funds “the hidden provision” tucked into the U.S. Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 championed by the Trump administration and signed into law late last year. They note, “If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment” – if the money flows in.

Construction on Pleasant Street: Will an Opportunity Fund stimulate more private investment in New Bedford?

The plan within the tax cut was proposed by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, but enjoyed bipartisan support. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker signed on to it, for example.

The concept itself came from the Economic Innovation Group, which was founded by Sean Parker of Napster, Facebook and Plaxo fame. (Take a deep dive here.)

Potential Opportunity Zones nationwide had to meet eligibility requirements based on census data. Governor Baker had to submit a list of possible census tracts to be considered for Opportunity Zones around Massachusetts.

Tracts within New Bedford (and others) met the criteria, and were officially recognized by the U.S. Treasury last week.

So, if you know anyone who is looking to avoid appearing in a Paradise Papers sequel, tell them the city is a sound investment.

New Bedford Seen/Scene

Acushnet Avenue in the North End is ready for the World Cup 2018.


New Bedford News

ROOMS WITH A VIEW: The Standard-Times’ Mike Bonner reports that the boutique New Bedford Harbor Hotel, soon to open on Union Street, has started accepting reservations for August.

THE GRAND PANORAMA: Yours truly reports that Kilburn Mills Studios on W. Rodney Street in the city’s south end will host a rare off-site exhibition from the Whaling Museum.

NEVER GIVE UP: It’s debatable as to who is more popular – The Baker on Pleasant Street or the Baker in the state house, as in Charlie.

But the democrats aren’t conceding the next election yet – though they may be testing voters’ patience with a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum from 12:00 P.M. – 2:00 p.m. at the Zeiterion Theatre – on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

They have also scheduled an Open Fair for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The fair will at least have booths that offer Voter Registration Information, Candidate Advocacy briefing materials, a local Farmer’s Market and local Music.

Perhaps donuts from The Baker would help the cause? Just a thought…

WEB New Bedford

The Arts & Culture Planning Project comes to Groundwork!

Some readers may already be aware that the City of New Bedford is in the process of creating what it hopes will be a comprehensive arts plan. In my other life as a Standard-Times columnist, I wrote about it recently for State of the Arts, and you can find those words here.

For those of you who aren’t aware, here’s the 411…

To come up with a plan, the city has designated the New Bedford Economic Development Council – located right upstairs from Groundwork! In the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street – to coordinate the effort. They’ve contracted a cultural strategist, Margo Saulnier, to help facilitate meetings between city artists, arts patrons, arts administrators and interested citizens with a planning firm, Webb Associates, which will draft the actual plan after collecting input.

In all, it will be a six month process that will end in June of this year. So, month two is just about to wrap up – with another series of outreach meetings, one of which will take place right here at Groundwork!, this Thursday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m.

An initial series of meetings has already taken place, and a bunch of one-on-one interviews. So, Webb will be sharing some preliminary results at all four meetings, and here’s the complete schedule in case you can’t make the one this coworking facility is hosting.

Meeting 1: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28 at 3:30 p.m. at the NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM, 1 Johnny Cake Hill, NB.

Meeting 2: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28 at 6:00 p.m at HATCH STREET STUDIOS, 88 Hatch Street, NB.

Meeting 3: THURSDAY, MARCH 1 at 4:00 p.m. at GROUNDWORK!, 1213 Purchase Street, NB.

Meeting 4: THURSDAY, MARCH 1 at 5:00 p.m. at GLOBAL LEARNING PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, 190 Ashley Boulevard, NB.

At each of these meetings, you can offer your opinions as to what you think an arts plan should look like, what its goals should be and what its purpose for the city should be. Just to clarify, the different meetings are categorized by the strategist into separate artistic disciplines – but that’s just a guideline. All artists – visual, musical, literary, what-have-you – are welcome at all of them.

I’ll be attending at least two of the meetings – and will no doubt be reporting on what transpires both here and in The Standard-Times.

But that’s for another day – today, just know that you’re invited to all the meetings, and as always, particularly welcome to Groundwork!

See you at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1!

Coworking on the weekends is here. Get a Groundwork! weekend pass:

Have you been wanting to check out coworking at Groundwork! – but haven’t had the opportunity during the regular work week?

The Groundwork! Weekend Pass is your ticket to coworking this winter.

During the month of February, Groundwork! will be open to guests on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day for a special non-member, guest rate of $40 for one entire weekend or $25 for any weekend day of your choosing.

Got a start-up business plan to write? Working on a thesis or school project? Been contemplating writing a novel? Or, do you just want to beat cabin fever and get some work done on the weekend – without the temptation to binge-watch on Netflix?

Whatever your need, spacious tables, fast wi-fi and hot coffee await you. GW member and  blogger Steven Froias will be here to greet you and get you settled in.

Swing by at your leisure and get your pass when you arrive any Saturday or Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on these  dates:

  • Sat. Feb. 3 & Sun. Feb. 4
  • Sat. Feb. 10 & Sun. Feb. 11
  • Sat. Feb. 17 & Sun. Feb. 18
  • Sat. Feb. 24 & Sun. Feb. 15

The weekend pass is good for one weekend. Credit or debit cards accepted, or cash. You will receive a Groundwork Guest password upon arrival to access wi-fi. Staff will be present to greet you and provide any assistance you may need.

Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

Please use the Maxfield Street entrance. Groundwork! is located in the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford and street parking is abundant on weekends.

Please note: No other special promotions or discounts can be applied to the Weekend Pass. Free day passes do not apply to weekends.

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Social Media: A college student’s perspective

Thank goodness social media, and the way we use it, has been evolving as quickly as we do. Looking back at my old posts, that Facebook and Timehop love to remind me about, I can’t help but get red in the face and ask myself, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ When Facebook was relatively new, status updates were step-by-step rundowns of a person’s day – “Jenny is…chewing bubble gum and walking to the corner store”.

When did people start thinking that the world cared or needed to know what they were doing every minute of every day? Social media grew like wild fire, so people must have cared – no idea why. Maybe we’re lazy? Maybe we’re creeps? Maybe we just like to stay in touch? Whatever the reason, social media is a way of life for us now. If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn or some other platform, do you really exist?

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Do you really exist?

Millennials manage social media

I am a millennial. We are on almost every form of social media and they are definitely not all the same. They each have certain features and options that allow them to serve different purposes. There are some that I like and some that I never use.

Facebook: The one-stop-shop of social media

I use Facebook as a form of entertainment and surprisingly education. Not only do I enjoy watching hilarious animal videos or BuzzFeed’s blog videos, but I also read articles that my friends share, hear about what’s going on in my community, and try to spread messages that I feel are important. It’s like an interactive, multi-faceted, unbiased news network. *This may depend on who your friends are*.

Groundwork facebook screenshot

I’m not going to lie, I am one of those people that plays Facebook games. They are convenient ways for me to waste time, especially when my news feed is quiet and I’ve already scrolled through everything. Facebook is really like the one-stop-shop of social media. It has everything and knows everything… the ads on my timeline are too creepy. How does it know that I have been looking for this one pair of shoes for weeks?! Creepy but effective.

So why use other platforms if Facebook has it all? That question is exactly why I use those other apps and websites. Facebook is a trap. Have you ever gone to Target to buy one thing and leave two hours later having spent $300? Well, that’s how Facebook works, open the app to check the one notification you got and BOOM, you look up and it’s been an hour. How?!

The visual you – Instagram

I like to view Instagram as my life’s portfolio. You can tell a lot about a person by their Instagram profile. Not only do you get to see a pattern of topics they photograph, but there are also color schemes visible in the ‘all pictures’ overview.

Instagram side-by-side

Instagram overviews:  Lisa(left),  Dena(center),  and Sarah(right)

My Instagram is mostly nature, animals, friends, and the occasional selfie – when I’m not looking like my usual ragamuffin self. The colors I see are very neutral, a lot of brown, blue, green, and the occasional pop of red. Comparing my account to my friends’, I see huge differences. One of my roommates has a lot of pink in her pictures – which fits her perfectly. Another one of my friends only posts pictures with his “squad”. Literally every picture is him and his friends. Someone else only posts selfies.

If a picture can speak a thousand words than your Instagram account is basically your autobiography.

Evolution of Interaction

Flowing with the trends, we no longer post hourly FB statuses depicting our every move. We now share videos, pictures and only make status updates when we have something big going on or an important message we hope to spread. So now how do we find out what all of our friends, family, and distant acquaintances are doing? Snapchat. A quick 10 second video or 3 second picture tells us all we want to know about what’s going on in that other person’s world.

The obvious argument is that we no longer actually communicate with one another. We live life and have relationships through our phone screen. Yes, this can be a downfall in our American Society today, but how do the people that actually use Snapchat feel about its effects on social interaction?

Snapchat: Social or anti-social media?

Being one of the newer forms of social media, Snapchat is most often used by younger generations. We use it because everyone we know uses it. It’s a huge network of our closest contacts. Now what do we use it for? How does it benefit us and actually boost our social interaction rather than sucking us into the screen? We usually only spend 10 seconds on it at a time. Videos are limited to that time frame. Pictures are, on average, visible for 6 seconds. The app actually makes you go back to the real world.

I like to watch friend’s “stories”- public videos or photos that remain up for 24 hours – to see what they’re up to. If I see a friend doing something close by, I message them and join them. Pet updates are the best! I can always rely on a quick picture or video of a friend’s pet to boost my mood. When I see all of my friends out having fun and I am inside bored, it motivates me to get active and go spend my time productively – the opposite effect that other social media sites often have.

Snap Image3

Snapchat: the new Candid Camera

What’s so special about Snapchat?

Comparing my use of Snapchat to other social media platforms, I would say that I spend the most time on Facebook, then Instagram, and the least time on Snapchat. While this is true, I am the most active on Snap. I post more pictures and videos on Snapchat than I do on Insta or FB. Why? Because it’s quicker, easier, customizable and it doesn’t feel like such a commitment. I can share something with friends in 2 seconds and I don’t have to worry about it being perfect because it’s not technically ‘the internet’. Once it’s uploaded it won’t be there forever.

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I think this gives us the opportunity to be more real. It’s almost like a platform for candids. Real time, untouched, real people. That’s what I appreciate the most about it. We all want to see those goofy authentic smiles, dumb jokes, and genuine moments in a friend’s life rather than that posed for picture we often see.
I guess the big picture really is that we all get something different out of the social media platforms we use. How you use it and what you get out of it, is completely up to you…and your followers.

Logging off.



UMD teach-in

UMassD Teach-in: Bridging Differences and Creating Change

As a senior in college with graduation only three months away, not only am I sad to be leaving my UMass community and wondering how to “adult”, I am also terrified of leaving the concrete fortress that has protected me from the outside world for the past four years. Usually you hear about people being afraid of change – moving, trying new foods, meeting new people – but I am afraid of the lack there of.

With the chaos that has erupted nationally and internationally, due to our recent presidential election, we can clearly see the division among our people. I’m not saying that the election caused these divisions, but it certainly opened the world’s eyes to them.

Whether you are freaking out, hopeful, or gung-ho about Trump’s win, there are obvious issues in society that need to be discussed. Instead of “let’s make America great again” how can we make America united?  Communicate, collaborate, and create change. The administration at UMass Dartmouth hopes to aid this effort with a community “teach-in”.

UMD teach-in

What is a “Teach-in”?

Cynthia E. Cummings, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth supplied me with the Merrian-Webster definition – “an extended meeting usually held on a college campus for lectures, debates, and discussions to raise awareness of or express a position on a social or political issue”.

“UMass Dartmouth’s Teach-In 2017 is an opportunity for students to learn the value of dialogue, bridge differences, and create positive social change.”
—   Jeannette Riley, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Activities will be run from 11am-9pm on Wednesday, March 1st and 12:30pm-6:30pm on Thursday, March 2nd. For the complete schedule of events go to:

Admission to teach-in events is free and open to the public. All members of the university community and members of the larger community are welcome and encouraged to attend

Who will be presenting?

A variety of faculty and staff will present workshops and other presentations. Student groups will set up message tables. Student artists will display relevant work.

What is the goal of this program?

Explore the societal issues that have divided our country and community
Examine their own narratives
Learn from each other’s perspectives
Practice the art of dialogue
Take action to bridge differences and create change

Hopefully this teach-in can promote conversations, offer new perspectives, and educate those of us who are shaking in our boots with no idea what to do. Rather than fear, I want to feel confidence. I want to know that I, we, he, she, they, and everyone else can work together to push positive change forward.

What topics are being focused on?

Topics to be explored:
Racism – Activism – Religious Diversity – Mindfulness – Sexism – Transgender 101 – Power & Privilege – Standing Rock  – LGBTQ + Inclusivity – Feminism – Women’s Issues – Health Diversity – Immigration Policies – Social Justice – Ableism

Younger generations are constantly stereotyped as “not being politically aware” and “unaware of what’s going on in the real world”. The amount of times that I have been called ‘naive’ -with demeaning intentions- because of my hopes to improve our global community, pisses me off. Just because I’m not 50 years old doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to be educated, educate myself, or experience and affect the world.

Time to change that. Lets show them we are aware, show them we know, we watch, we listen, we communicate, we’re involved. Show them…Show up. Share and learn about what we all post and read on Facebook, in person with each other instead.

How are the sessions organized?

The purpose of the initiative is to engage in civil discourse, so participation will be encouraged. Talks are designed to promote active civic engagement and open dialogue.

Want more info or hope to help organize and promote this event?
Contact the Student Affairs office at 508-910-6402.



Announcing Groundwork’s very own podcast! (and a sneak preview)

We’re super excited to announce that 2017 will bring a new addition to the Groundwork! media empire: the Ground Control podcast. Dena and I are teaming up with everyone’s favorite blogger, Steven Froias, to bring you supreme audio content about all the things that make our community awesome: New Bedford pride, entrepreneurship, creativity, and kick-ass women. Check out the pilot episode here, in which Steven interviews Dena and I on one year of running a coworking space: lessons learned and ideas for the future.

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