Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

2018 ASB Trip Descriptions

2018 Trip Titles & Descriptions

Trip A: Fostering Change: Investigating the Effects of Foster Care and Adverse Childhood Experiences on Youth*

Trip Leaders: Sam & Brielle

The foster care system is a cycle that is hard to break because of the almost inevitable consequences of the traumatic adverse childhood experiences the children face before or during their placement in alternative care. Former foster youth struggle with homelessness, housing instability, lack of employment and financial instability. Former foster youth also struggle with finishing high school and few continue on to get college degrees, both of which are associated with a lowered socioeconomic status. Many have severe, and often untreated or poorly managed, mental health conditions; which can cause a plethora of problems, like a decrease in behavioral control and overall productivity. As of now there are a limited amount of resources in place to ensure that foster children have stability and support as they age out of the system. Through this ASB we aim to spread awareness of this issue and create advocates for the victims of an extremely broken system. We intend to work with organizations that provide a variety of perspectives such as foster parents, adoptees, case workers, policy makers and more. With New York as the location of our trip, we’ll be able to work with a variety of community partners to understand the complexity of this issue.

Trip A Interview Timeslots: 10/14 at 4:00pm, 10/15 at 7:00pm, and 10/16 at 12:30pm


Trip B: Two is Better Than One: Exploring Bilingual Education, Its Barriers, and the Link to Higher Education

Trip Leaders: Jessy & Smeet

Recently, refugees and immigrants have been surrounded by a lot of negative rhetoric in the media and politics. A lot of negative stereotypes exist that portray them as lazy or coming to reap the benefits of a country while not earning them. These false stereotypes are compounded by harmful policies such as the travel ban, Senate Bill 4, and most recently the repeal of DACA. Education is one of the main ways for refugees and immigrants to escape these stereotypes; however, a lot students are restricted by school systems, which mainly cater to native English speakers and do not allow bilingual students to reach their full potential.

Thus, our ASB group will be going to the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas side of the Texas-Mexico border to learn about the public education system through the perspective of refugee and immigrant students. We will be examining educational barriers while focusing on the lack of bilingual resources that can prevent students from getting to higher education. We will be working with community partners, such as the Edinburg Housing Authority and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, along with directly interacting with bilingual students to fully understand the needs of the community.

Our goal is to create a sustainable service-learning trip so that we can create a meaningful relationship with the students and community members in the Rio Grande Valley. We want to make sure they know there’s a connection between them and higher education.

Trip B Interview Timeslots: 10/14 at 10:30am, 10/15 at 3:30pm, and 10/16 at 6:00pm


Trip C: DisLabeled: Erasing the Social Stigma Surrounding Disability*

Trip Leaders: Rebecca & Mike

Popular media can be responsible for the creation and perpetuation of erroneous beliefs and misconceptions about disability, including tropes such as the supercrip stereotype and the helpless object of pity. As a result, public perception is shaped to believe that individuals with disabilities are unable to live independently or perform the same tasks that able-bodied individuals regularly do. We want to educate our participants to dig into the roots of their preconceived notions about disability and enable them to advocate at the local and national level for disability rights.

To achieve this mission, we will begin pre-trip education by comparing disability policies across the nation, specifically examining differences in disability policy between Texas and Colorado. Our trip partners include the National Sports Center for the Disabled, which is the largest outdoor therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports agency in the United States. Trip participants will get to examine different types of adaptive equipment and work alongside individuals with a range of disabilities. We also plan to educate ourselves about policy by meeting with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Uniquely, our participants will experience an immersive hands-on learning component in that they will take courses from the Colorado Center for the Blind in sleep shades and use canes to help their navigation. Our community partners will help us understand how the stigmas resulting from popular media are incredibly inaccurate and inform our participants about how to become active advocates.

Trip C Interview Timeslots: 10/11 at 7:00pm, 10/14 at 10:00am, and 10/20 at 3:00pm


Trip D: HealthiHER: Deconstructing Barriers to Women’s Healthcare

Trip Leaders: Snigdha & David

An acknowledged pitfall of US healthcare is that marginalized groups of women face poorer health outcomes than other groups. Issues such as maternal mortality, reproductive health, chronic disease, and disability are more severe in elderly, disabled, and minority women. However, these women’s access to healthcare is not simply limited by transportation, insurance, or affordability but also by overlooked reasons like discrimination in hospitals, communication barriers, mistrust of doctors, and intimate partner violence. We felt that it was simply unjust for a whole half of the population (women) to be experiencing poorer health as a result of their ethnicity, age, or location, and so we formed our ASB: HealthiHER. Through the trip, we aim to investigate and deconstruct the non-financial and frequently overlooked factors preventing women from accessing healthcare services that are already provided in the system. We will be travelling to Austin, the heart of the state policy debate on women’s health to explore the issue. What causes one woman to access care less than another woman? Should healthcare be a right, and are healthcare rights reducing for women? What can we do about these barriers as Rice students? Join us for an immersive week of supporting women in the everlasting fight for equality, specifically in the realm of healthcare, through policy, service, and advocacy!

Trip D Interview Timeslots: 10/14 at 1:00pm, 10/16 at 7:00pm, 10/20 at 4:30pm, and 10/21 at 11:00am


Trip E: Shifting Tides: Exploring How Environmental Advocacy and Policy Promote Water Justice*

Trip Leaders: Anna & Anna

Water is necessary for life to exist, yet communities across the world lack access to clean and affordable water. Notably, the town of Flint, Michigan has garnered widespread media attention for the appalling quality of its drinking water and its detrimental health effects on the community. As a result of this incident, water justice has become a more prominent social issue. It is understood that water justice is the equitable access and distribution of rights to material water, but it also encompasses fair representation and political power in decision-making regarding water.

On our ASB, we will travel to Sacramento, California to engage with local environmental advocacy groups and lawmakers to understand their roles in water justice issues. We aim to educate ourselves on how environmental justice groups and policymakers function together to support the access to clean and affordable water. We will also perform direct service that reflects how our lives are closely connected to water and the environment. We hope to gain a greater perspective on water justice issues and discover actions that we can take to become better advocates for the environment.

Trip E Interview Timeslots: 10/11 at 4:30pm, 10/13 at 4:30pm, and 10/20 at 1:00pm


Trip F: Still We Rise: Reproductive Justice in a Family Planning Framework*

Trip Leaders: Bharathi & Uma

Reproductive justice encompasses much more than the abortion-centric movement that has dominated the political sphere for decades. Instead, this framework changes the focus to a comprehensive approach to reproductive care, including the right to family planning resources and social support systems to raise a child. This paradigm shift is especially important in including the voices of disadvantaged groups in the movement for equality. We will be examining barriers that are particularly faced by transgender people, women with intellectual disabilities, and women of color in accessing reproductive care.

This ASB will take place in Washington, D.C., the hub for many policy-making and advocacy organizations that advocate for these populations. We will learn from the source how and why policy is crafted, and how it affects various groups. At the end of our trip, we hope to better understand the intersectionality of various social inequalities as it relates to reproductive justice and learn to become better advocates regardless of our identities.

Trip F Interview Timeslots: 10/14 at 2:00pm, 10/15 at 3:00pm, and 10/18 at 8:00pm

Trip G: A Dream Deferred: Exploring How Detention & Deportation Impacts Immigrant Communities*

Trip Leaders: Amina & Akhil

The rhetoric surrounding the fate of immigrants in the United States, particularly undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers, is chaotic and divisive, making only one thing clear: immigration is complicated. This trip will seek to shed light on the processes of detention and deportation and the systems that intentionally target and break up immigrant communities. By examining the institutions of immigrant incarceration, we hope to bring new awareness to an issue that dominates contemporary political discourse. We will explore the history of immigration in the U.S., the role of I.C.E., and alternatives to detention, specifically in context to Houston. We will study the language and myths regarding undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers, as well as national, state, and local laws that both protect and endanger them. We’ll also examine institutions that work silently to capture and imprison vulnerable victims, as well as advocacy and artistic responses to oppressive systems. Our journey will culminate in a trip to New Jersey and New York City, a region that is home to the nation’s largest population of undocumented immigrants, numerous advocacy organizations, and a rich legacy of artists in resistance movements, in order to understand the intricacies and implications of these processes.

Trip G Interview Timeslots: 10/15 at 2:00pm, 10/17 at 9:00pm, 10/18 at 9:00pm, and 10/20 at 7:00pm


Trip H: Healthcare, We Have a Problem: How Your Zip Code Determines Your Health

Trip Leaders: Megha & Arun

When we think about healthcare, we often think about doctors, nurses, hospitals, surgery, and drugs. However, we and healthcare institutions tend to overlook the outside factors that affect a patient’s health, such as access to food, access to care, transportation, prevalence of sidewalks and public parks, safety, and educational opportunities. Research has shown that one’s neighborhood of residence, which is a strong indicator of health outcome, greatly impacts these non-medical aspects of a patient’s life, which are known as the social determinants of health. While it would be useful for organizations to mitigate these characteristics in a vacuum, it is imperative to understand that the root causes of the social determinants of health stem from poor city planning, which has engendered disparities in the socioeconomic status of individuals. Due to the historical division and unequal allocation of resources, some neighborhoods experience disadvantages in their occupation, income, and education, which in turn produce health disparities.

Our trip aims to investigate how city planning and socioeconomic status affect the social determinants of health in neighborhoods. Atlanta, as a city with a strong history of residential disparities and as a hub for community development efforts and healthcare institutions aimed at improving the health of underserved residents, is a perfect setting to learn about the complexities of the social determinants of health and their root causes.

Trip H Interview Timeslots: 10/11 at 6:00pm, 10/11 at 7:30pm, 10/14 at 2:00pm, and 10/14 at 3:30pm


Trip I: Communities in Crisis: Exploring Challenges to Refugee Resettlement

Trip Leaders: Viviano & Mohan

The global refugee crisis has been at the forefront of concern as the number of displaced persons continues to balloon at staggering rates. The US has been a historic leader in addressing this issue, however, a volatile political climate has impacted our approach to welcoming refugees and affected communities that have already arrived. The uncertainty of US refugee policy has had major consequences for resettled communities, creating challenges such as poverty, worse health outcomes, and difficulties with integration. With organizations that support refugee communities experiencing wavering government support, these issues will continue to be exasperated in an already imperfect system.

For our trip, we will be travelling to Atlanta to understand this issue through the lens of refugee communities in the Clarkston area. We hope to educate our participants in the issue of refugee resettlement as well as encourage advocacy and involvement with the issue beyond the ASB trip. Through partnerships with organizations, we plan to explore the dynamics between policy, non-profit organizations, and the communities that rely on the success of both. By understanding how these elements interact, we hope to identify gaps in the refugee resettlement system and our role in addressing these issues.

Trip I Interview Timeslots: 10/7 at 3:00pm, 10/8 at 3:00pm, 10/15 at 3:00pm, and 10/21 at 3:00pm


Trip J: Renewal vs. Removal: Exploring the Sociocultural Impact of Gentrification on Marginalized Populations*

Trip Leaders: Sarah & Miranda

When communities undergo gentrification and are populated by trendy cafés and upscale housing, from the outside, they may appear to be transforming into better places to live for everyone. However, while some benefit from these new developments, low-income residents often struggle to keep pace with these changes. As trendy businesses open up, wealthier individuals start moving into the city, causing housing prices to skyrocket. Consequently, many original inhabitants are displaced, unable to afford their increased rent. On our ASB, we will travel to San Francisco to examine the issue of gentrification, specifically how urban renewal can cause housing insecurity and displacement for marginalized populations primarily composed of low-income people of color.

Gentrification is a complicated and controversial issue that we plan to explore from all sides. We will learn about and participate in community efforts to maintain neighborhood culture amidst the threats of housing insecurity and cultural erasure. In order to gain a holistic understanding of urban renewal, we will examine this issue together with local community members, housing policy organizations, and tenants’ rights associations. Through these experiences, we will learn how to advocate for housing equality and grow towards becoming conscientious, active citizens at Rice and beyond.

Trip J Interview Timeslots: 10/7 at 2:00pm, 10/8 at 2:00pm, 10/14 at 2:00pm, and 10/15 at 2:00pm