Last week, the Center for International Studies hosted a substantive program, Trump’s Victory: What Does It Mean for You?. Among the excellent speakers was Nadeem Mazen, MIT alum and a member of the Cambridge City Council. Part of Nadeem’s talk centered on the need for MIT to deploy the “genius” here at MIT into our local neighborhoods. He senses that there is an altruistic core to MIT students but the mechanism to harness this genius for the greater good in our community has not yet been developed. He acknowledged that some programming existed, but he asked, “What can we do better? How can we capture this intrinsic drive to do better?" One way is to visit the PKG Public Service Center and check out the many opportunities available.
Mr. Mazen then went on and said something unexpected. He believes that lectures—such as the very one at which he was speaking—are mostly irrelevant. He said, “Unless you make use of the information, insist on take-aways, and get involved in change, sitting in a lecture and accruing knowledge is useless. Take what you have learned and put it into practice.”
Twenty-hour hours following the CIS program, Radius co-sponsored a large-format forum, Climate Change: Ethics in Action. The title choice was intentional. Not only did the program provide information but also specific actions that attendees could take. FossilFreeMIT, which organized the event, provided a pledge for each participant to sign, as a reminder that action is crucial if we are to tackle this crisis, plus the many others facing humanity.
The pledge asks that we commit 2 hours a week or more to defending human rights, social justice, inclusivity, and science over the next four years. There are many organizations at MIT and elsewhere working toward these goals. The pledge is a strong reminder to stay true to our commitments and seek out opportunities for change.
As we head into Thanksgiving, it’s a great time for reflection. In that time of reflection, we can figure out our next steps and then get to work.