Social Values in Action: Building Equitable and Sustainable Cities

This is a past event.

Please join us to celebrate and engage with Assistant Professor of Geography and International Relations Serin D. Houston’s new book, “Imagining Seattle: Social Values in Urban Governance” (University of Nebraska Press – Our Sustainable Future Series, 2019). Houston will speak about how classism and racism often constrain efforts to advance sustainability, creativity, and social justice within Seattle’s urban governance.

A panel will discuss their sustainability, equity, and social justice work in this region and highlight connections as well as differences between western Massachusetts and Seattle.


  • Cynthia Espinosa Marrero, Board Member, Nueva Esperanza in Holyoke
  • Wayne Feiden, Director, Planning and Sustainability for the City of Northampton
  • Waleska Lugo-DeJesús, CEO, Inclusive Strategies, and Director, the Healing Racism Institute in Springfield

This symposium will illustrate social values in action and will emphasize the necessity of developing effective strategies for building equitable and sustainable cities.

Hosted by the Mount Holyoke Department of Geology and Geography and the Odyssey Bookshop. Co-sponsored by the Mount Holyoke College McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, Weissman Center for Leadership, Community-Based Learning Program, Office of the Dean of Faculty, and the Department of International Relations.

Free and open to the public.

Panelist Information

Cynthia Espinosa Marrero is a scholar and activist, with the passion to help diverse communities grow and be empowered. Her passion for the community and the environment was seeded with her family and neighbors in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico where she grew up. After moving to Holyoke, Massachusetts in her teens, Cynthia participated in extracurricular activities related to environmentalism and community building. Her ultimate goal is to give opportunities to underrepresented groups to find their inner power, voice, and skills to build a socially just system. She has a Bachelor’s of Art Degree in Sustainable Food Management from UMass Amherst and a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies focusing in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England.

Wayne Feiden, FAICP is Director of Planning & Sustainability for the City of Northampton and Lecturer of Practice in planning at UMass. His focus includes sustainability, resiliency, revitalization, open space, alternative transportation, and public health.  He led Northampton to earn the nation’s first 5-STAR Community award for municipal sustainability. His publications include “Conservation Limited Development,” “Building Sustainability and Resiliency into Local Planning Agencies” (APA PAS Memos), and “Local Agency Planning Management Assessing Sustainability” (APA PAS Reports). Wayne’s Bellagio Residency (Italy), State Department Professional Fellowship Exchange (Malaysia), German Marshall Fund fellowship (United Kingdom and Denmark), Fulbright Specialist fellowships (South Africa and New Zealand), and Eisenhower Fellowship (Hungary) all focused on revitalization and sustainability.

Waleska Lugo-DeJesús is the CEO of Inclusive Strategies and the Director of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, widely recognized for her advocacy for racial and social justice work. She has helped thousands of community key stakeholders in elevating consciousness about the causes and effects of racial divisiveness by building inter-organizational capacity and advancing inclusion while creating linked strategies and alliances to address race-based bias and establish equity. She serves as Commissioner to the Massachusetts Arts & Cultural Council and is a founding member of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, an advocacy group centered on the experiences of women of color. She has received numerous professional and civic awards including 2019 statewide “Service Hero Award” by Project 351 for helping build a just, inclusive and united global community, 2018 Massachusetts Public Health Association “Community Leadership Award”, 2018 Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Warrior Awarded by Mayor Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, State of Connecticut 100 Women of Color Award in 2018, 2017 Ruth M. Batson Advocate of the Year Award which is the Providers’ Council’s in Boston pinnacle award for excellence in advocacy and 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award for Excellence in addressing Race Relations. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Mary Woolley Hall, New York Room

Event Type

Gatherings & Meetings

Event Topic


Event Audience

Students, Faculty, General Public, Staff


free, open to public

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