Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts

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First Month Recap from PHENOM’s ED

I have had a fantastic first month as Executive Director at PHENOM. I want to catch all of you up on the amazing new things happening at PHENOM. This is something that I will continue to do on a bi-weekly basis. I have spent the first month meeting with so many of PHENOM’s members and ally organizations. I am thrilled about the conversations we are having and the upcoming events and actions that will PHENOM will be leading or partnering in. But first I want to recap what has happened during my first month.

PHENOM had its Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 16th at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. PHENOM elected its Board for the next year:

  • President - Kimberly Selwitz
  • Vice President - Colleen Avedikian
  • Treasurer - Max Page
  • Clerk - Christine Lowe
  • Organizing/Training Team Leader - Carl Ericson
  • Communications Team Leader - Manny Pintado
  • Fundraising Team Leader - Gillian Mason
  • Legislative Team Leader - Ken Haar

It was a great Annual Meeting — full of lots of ideas for the upcoming year, including focusing on student organizing, strengthening relationships with our union supporters, and connecting with alumni. PHENOM also voted to support Progressive Massachusetts and join Jobs with Justice Massachusetts. Our next Member Meeting will be Sunday October 19th (details TBA). 

On September 5th, PHENOM hosted a rally in Government Center, Boston to raise awareness of the student loan debt crisis and to thank Senator Warren for her unwavering fight to address the issue of student loan debt, particularly with her bill, Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. We were thrilled to have wonderful speakers, including Senator Eileen Donoghue, Ruthie Liberman (Crittenton Women’s Union), Anastasia Wilson (PhD candidate in Economics at UMass Amherst), and Marven Hyppolite (UMass Dartmouth undergraduate student). 


I have also had fantastic meetings with many PHENOM supporters at many of the public higher education institutions across the state, including UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, Holyoke Community College, Westfield State University, Fitchburg State University, and Quinsigamond Community College. I am working to meet with PHENOM supporters on the rest of the twenty-nine public campuses. If you don’t see your campus listed, contact me and I’m happy to arrange a visit/meetings (nhiggins@phenomonline.org). 

I also had the opportunity to sit in on our Summit Group meeting, which seeks to unite all of PHENOM’s allies for public higher education at the State House. These meetings bring together representatives of unions, student groups, campus administrations, public officials, and legislative leaders.

Finally, I have met with so many amazing community organizations and campus-based unions over the last month, including Progressive Massachusetts, Jobs with Justice Massachusetts, Crittenton Women’s Union, Youth Jobs Coalition, and the Student Immigrant Movement. I’ve also met with members from the Massachusetts Society of Professors, SEIU Local 888, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and the Quinsigamond Community College Professional Association. We’re looking forward to some amazing collaborations, including events and legislative proposals.

Finally, PHENOM has some exciting upcoming events that we’re either leading or participating in — please let us know if you want to get involved.

While those are the dates we have confirmed, we are also organizing an event at UMass Amherst around affordability and accessibility in November. 

Stay tuned for more fantastic events as we get the details confirmed. 

I’m excited to work with all of you towards accessible and affordable, quality public higher education in Massachusetts!

Until next time,


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