From a Student Activist to an Academic: When Your Passion Becomes Your Project

Thursday, January 5, 2012: 4:00 PM
Armitage Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Mario Sifuentez, University of California, Merced
Having grown up in a farmworker family I was instantly attracted to student labor activists that were working with farmworkers. As an undergraduate at the University of Oregon I was the director of the Gardenburger boycott on our campus that had been called by Oregon’s farmworker union Pineros y Campesinos Unidos Noroestes (PCUN). Throughout my time at the university I grew close to the organizing staff, volunteers, and student leaders involved with the union. At the time of my graduation I had to decide whether or not to pursue a career in organizing or one in academe. I chose to go to graduate school only when my advisor convinced me that I could write about the union I was so passionate about.  During this roundtable I will discuss how my relationship to the union both gave me unfettered access to its private archive and the obstacles I faced working with a community I felt so strongly about.
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