Equity and Justice

Muhajir Lesure '20

Muhajir Lesure ’20  

The concept of global warming was baffling but fascinating to Muhajir Lesure ’20 when he was introduced to it in third grade. The more he learned about the environment over the years, the more impassioned he became about helping to safeguard it. At Dickinson, he channels that passion about the natural world and social justice into his work as an environmental studies major with a minor in philosophy. He’s also deeply interested in food-justice issues, and he is pursuing a food studies certificate. Here, he discusses his environmental justice summer internship and student-faculty research he conducted on fracking and energy development.

Major: 

Environmental studies, with a minor in philosophy and a food-studies certificate.

Clubs and organizations:  

Multicultural Ambassadors and eXiled (spoken word and poetry).

Favorite book:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

Favorite movie:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Why I chose Dickinson:    

I did not know about Dickinson until my high school took the junior class on a college tour. Dickinson was on the list. I did not really have any expectations; however, when I arrived, I felt like it was the place for me. I applied Early Action my senior year and got in; I was set on coming when I received my acceptance and reward letter.

Favorite place on campus:

The Asbell Center for Jewish Life.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Vegan chili from the Kove.

On choosing a major:  

When I was in the third grade, I heard about global warming, and I remember being extremely perplexed. I decided to do my own research, and it amazed me that we were living on a dying planet. I was so intrigued that I voluntarily did an entire project on global warming and presented it to my third-grade class. As time went on, the term “global warming” turned into “climate change,” and my inclination to understand the anthropogenic detriment on our planet grew. I love how interdisciplinary and intersectional environmental studies is, because it allows me to tackle environmentalism from many different angles.

Favorite class:  

Black Lives Matter with [Associate] Professor [of Philosophy Chauncey] Maher and Environmental and Social Justice with [Assistant] Professor [of Environmental Studies Heather] Bedi have (by far) been my favorite classes.

About my internship:

Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to do an internship and conduct research at the University of Michigan, focusing on environmental justice. It was an amazing opportunity to make connections and continue my learning journey in environmentalism. The program that I worked with focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, so it catered to people of color and marginalized groups who have a passion for the environment. I really enjoyed the learning space, and I plan to use this opportunity as a catalyst for future endeavors.

Little-known hobby:

Collecting healing crystals and gemstones.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …   

… Frank Ocean.

In a perfect world … 

… black and brown people are not discriminated against and murdered for the color of their skin, women are not paid less than men and we are no longer fighting for equality but equity.

Biggest influence:

My mother. She is a warrior and constantly reminds me to never stop fighting for what I want in this lifetime.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:  

The more I know, the less I know.

About my research:

Last fall, I conducted research with Professor Bedi. She has been working on two continuous-energy justice projects (one based in the U.S. and the other, in India). I read a lot of literature and did reviews to help her expand on her projects. I learned a lot about hydraulic fracturing in the United States and solar energy development in India, and how these things not only have impacts on the environment but also on human life. I was able to use a lot of my knowledge from my prior research experience while working alongside Professor Bedi. During her sabbatical, she will be finishing these projects. This spring, we will present our findings, and I am genuinely excited to see what other opportunities will arise.

Favorite professor:

Professor Heather Bedi. She is so caring. I appreciate all the help, advising and learning experiences she has provided for me in my short time at Dickinson so far.

Personal philosophy:

Explain yourself to no one, because no one is experiencing your life except you. Be unapologetic in all your endeavors, but learn from your mistakes for a better tomorrow.

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Published January 23, 2018