Academics and community members are working together to tackle environmental hazards as part of Drexel’s new Environmental Collaboratory, a pioneering initiative that funds research activism.
Center member Jane Clougherty, along with Sheila Tripathy, senior research scientist at Dornsife School of Public Health, and in partnership with Philly Thrive, an environmental justice advocacy group, are conducting monitoring that will finally give community members in parts of Philadelphia trustworthy data about the air they breathe.
The Environmental Collaboratory’s mission is to bring researchers and community members together to tackle environmental challenges. That means that every research project it funds must address a climate-related or environmental justice problem identified by community members themselves — and co-led by a community-based organization.
Initial funding for the Collaboratory came from a $2 million, two-year grant from the Waverly Street Foundation. Further funding will come from project-based federal grants — it has already received a small prize from the Department of Energy — and co-funding with community-based organizations, with the eventual goal being an endowment.