Melanie is a highly engaged student in her campus community and home community of Newark, NJ. At Colgate, Melanie is a voice for neurodivergent peers, seeking to address disability injustice by bringing her fellow students together and calling upon our Office of Disability Services to expand its work. She has also served in multiple leadership roles for our Queer, Trans, People of Color student group, seeking to create events that enable leisure, joy, and community for Black and indigenous people of color and non-BIPOC allies. Melanie is involved in local mutual aid work in the Village of Hamilton, seeking to meet the basic needs of community members who are food or transportation insecure. She also secured a Manzi fellowship over the summer of 2021 in Boston, MA at the Women’s Lunch Place, an advocacy and daytime shelter/soup kitchen for women experiencing housing insecurity. Melanie’s civic engagement work connects to her home community of Newark, NJ. She organizes for tenants’ rights, aiming for long-term goals of accessing clean, safe, and affordable housing. Melanie contributes translation services, meal preparation, and grant assistance to low-income residents though Brick City Mutual Aid. Finally, she helped enumerate the 2020 Census, reaching 500 homes across Newark.
The work of fighting for respectable living conditions and affordable housing within my hometown of Newark, NJ, as well as the fruitful work of executing events where joy is a form of resistance for historically marginalized people at Colgate, are projects that will not end when I graduate from Colgate. They encompass my life-long commitment to building the communities I am a part of and fighting the injustices that pervade them. This commitment to social justice guides my desire to pursue a dual degree after my undergraduate studies: a Master’s in Social Work and a Juris Doctor Degree, specifically with a focus on undocumented immigrants, tenants rights, and BIPOC communities.