On Tuesday October 6, 2015, 19 students in POSC 290-WGST 202 had the rare opportunity to speak with award-winning actor and activist Mark Ruffalo who was visiting Dickinson as the 2015 recipient of the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism. The course, titled "Advocacy Organizations, Social Movements, and the Politics of Identity", addresses motivations, problems, and outcomes of organizing around social justice issues and identity politics. I never expected Mark to show up for class on time, let alone early. It's a good thing he did as it left plenty of time for the students and I to ask him questions about activism and organizing. Though primarily an environmental activist, Mark recognized the interconnectedness of racism, sexism, and class oppression in environmental problems and spoke of potential collaboration across these seemingly separate movements. Though the questions asked by students weren't easy, Mark fielded them in stride, demonstrating his experiential knowledge of grassroots activism and willingness to learn more. He encouraged students to get and remain involved in causes they care about and to never be afraid of acting up. Most of all, he wanted us to challenge ourselves and to recognize that change often comes from discomfort - discomfort within institutions, groups of people, and within ourselves.
—Kathleen Marchetti, Assistant Professor of Political Science