the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

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Posts tagged "homelessness and housing insecurity"

A good education does not prove itself in a test, but instead in practical application.

Totally proud and shamelessly bragging. There have been two Crimson articles in one week about Patrick’s course on inequality. This one is a staff editorial urging for more classes to merge theory and practice. I couldn’t agree more. My final semester of college, I took a course on feminist praxis taught by Susan Marine, the then-director of the Women’s Center. Susan asked students to apply feminist values and principles toward evaluating and making sense of our experiences interning at partner feminist organizations. This class left a huge impression on me and has informed many of my professional decisions since graduation. Two years later, I still refer back to it whenever I come up against contradictions in my day-to-day life and activism. So basically, I think about it every other week ;)

I would add that the goal of Patrick’s teaching method is not just to improve the education of Ivy League students, but to offer a better framework for addressing homelessness. In a culture in which academic degrees are synonymous with authority, I think it’s easy to forget that the people who are most informed on the subject of housing insecurity are not social scientists or leaders of non-profits or policymakers, but those who have personally experienced it themselves. Rather than simply theorizing about homelessness or trying to “save” people (both common tendencies in the academy), students have a responsibility to sit back, listen, and learn from the real experts.