GANAS (APA4154.01)

Jonathan Pitcher

In terms of public action, GANAS has survived the pandemic, as have its members, mercifully, and remains a community-driven, cross-cultural association that provides students with volunteer opportunities to engage with the predominantly undocumented Latino migrant worker population. These opportunities are increasingly facilitated by the group itself, in addition to partnerships with organizations such as Head Start, and the Bennington Free Clinic.

Recent members have implemented an ESL program, women’s workshops, high-school counseling, and conferences, hosted a radio show, gathered oral histories, designed exams for a certificate in interpretation, maintained a web presence and advertising, and continued with social events.

2-credit course for new participants, 2- or 4-credit group tutorial for those continuing, whose presence will be required during the first hour of class time each week.

Learning Outcomes:
I would suggest that some viable, pressing questions, beyond how we support the community, which is the main thing, are:

What are our objectives within the context of any specific project? What do the GANAS friends hope to achieve through our work?
Are we serving their goals?
What do we hope to achieve in supporting them, from their perspective?
What are our specific goals as GANAS members / undergraduates at Bennington? Are we becoming experts in the fields listed below?
Are we progressing each term?
How do we evaluate this, holding ourselves to account?

The list of past / current activities is now daunting, barely even trackable, so although I am about to recreate it for you below, it must surely be honed, and based simply on the friends’ needs and our most pressing interests and abilities, to be discussed / defined / structured.

Members have offered / are offering an ESL program, women’s groups / workshops, high-school counseling, conferences, an almost nightly radio show, oral histories, exams for a certificate in interpretation, an updated web presence, advertising, merchandise, social events, transportation (mostly through becoming licensed on the College vans), consistent contact via social media / calls / visits, financial literacy workshops, Spanish classes, political engagement (not least through Milk with Dignity), redefinitions of GANAS itself, and academic work on food, detention, education, security, drugs, family welfare, and identity. We continue to liaise with Migrant Justice, the PAIR Project, consulates, local schools (mostly through Head Start in North Bennington), the police, the Town Council, have provided simultaneous interpretation at the BFC, and at the DMV, explored available grants, and run our own budget.

We are also members of two consortia. One specifically oriented around our work, along with that of similar, though less advanced, programs at Middlebury, Dartmouth, and UVM, which we originated in the spring of 2017. The other is the CAPA Migration Consortium, which resulted in a successful Mellon grant application in June 2018, and includes Sarah Lawrence, Vassar, and Bard. We will need to consider our participation in these endeavors over the course of term (the Mellon grant requires living up to our claims in the application), and perhaps others. We should continue to inform outside audiences of our progress.

There are now at least two funded student internships, one for FWT and one in the summer, thus ensuring more consistency throughout the year, which should maintain the outcomes of the above.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: At least conversational Spanish. Please contact Dr. Pitcher at
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Advancement of Public Action , All courses , Fully In-Person