By: Carley Crain
Combining their joint interests in science, diversity, and equality, Springfield Scientists Embracing Equality and Diversity (SEED) is a club on campus that aims to educate others about the inequalities in the science community. Anyone is welcome to join, and weekly zoom meetings are held every Thursday at 8 p.m.
SEED was formed as a club five years ago by a group of young white female students. Over the years, they have been working on diversifying the club and creating an open environment for everyone.
“Our advisor, Dr. Fouler did create SEED with a group of past students that felt like they needed a place to discuss injustices that they saw and they needed a safe environment to discuss it,” said co-president of SEED Danielle Fernandes. “Our club did start out pretty much as all white women and over the years we have been working on changing that with many members of our e-board being a part of different ethnicities.”
As a club, SEED focuses on bringing to light social issues within the science and healthcare community. The club encourages students to use their voice and speak up about issues happening around campus and the world. Due to COVID restrictions, SEED has had to move to virtual meetings over Zoom, but despite this the club still has big goals for this school year.
“Our main focus is to make everyone feel involved and equal,” said Fernandes. “Also, we want to give people a voice on campus and bring things people are not aware of to light.”
With the recent events regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement, one of the main goals for this school year is to actively engage the community and educate others about the injustices in the science and healthcare community, and how minorities are disproportionately affected by these issues.
They plan on doing this by interacting with other clubs and organizations on campus, like the Black Student Union, Seat at the Table, athletic teams, and the president’s leadership team.
“We prioritize working on different environmental issues, social justice, and difficult dialogues,” said vice president Nathalie Beltran. “One of the things we want to work on is diversity around campus and having those difficult conversations with other students. One of the things we embrace is having our members feel welcome no matter where they come from or what background they have so it will be a safe space for them.”
In the past, SEED has worked with children from the Springfield public school system, encouraging them to be a part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field. SEED members worked with the kids to motivate them and to show that the opportunities to succeed are endless. They hope to continue working with the Springfield public schools during this school year, but with the coronavirus still in full swing, things may look a little different.
Research activities have also been a focus of the club in the past and will continue to be moving forward, specifically focusing on the injustices in the United States healthcare system and how women are disproportionately affected. SEED has presented these research findings in Boston at a conference with other college students.
This year SEED will continue to work on their campus wide recycling project that they started last semester. The club is still working towards having every building with recycling bins available since some still do not have any at all. SEED also plans on advertising around campus how to recycle, highlighting what can and what cannot be recycled.
SEED organizes their club projects by having different sub committees. By having sub committees, projects are more efficiently planned out and organized. Sub committees change every year depending on what projects SEED is working on, but anyone can be in charge of one. General members are encouraged to bring up project ideas and then start their own sub committees.
Despite the coronavirus restrictions, SEED still is hosting weekly virtual meetings. Each meeting is focused around one topic that relates to social injustices in the science and healthcare community. For their first meeting of the year they talked about cultural humility and how it can be practiced in the healthcare field, as many SEED club members are aspiring health care providers. This upcoming Thursday at 8 p.m. on Zoom their central topic of choice is the California wildfires and how they relate to climate change.
The executive board encourages general members to bring up topics to talk about and discuss at each meeting. To go along with their weekly discussions and presentations, SEED is working on having a variety of guest speakers to share their experiences and knowledge in the science and healthcare field.
To join SEED and to stay connected with what they are doing throughout the semester, follow their Instagram page @sc.seed. Anyone is welcome to join at any time.