Jenn Davis gives time to causes that matter

allison martens

Jenn Davis prepares to hit the garden. She says her mother imbued her with a keen sense of community, and is her all-time heroine (as shown by the heart on her arm). “She’s a single mom with three children who worked really hard to achieve everything she ever wanted to.”

Photo by shelagh roxburgh

Over the years, Jenn Davis has given her time to multiple community organizations and causes. She says her insatiable urge to get involved comes naturally.

“I’m a small town girl, and everyone there helps everyone else out in whatever way they can.”

Davis, who just completed her BA in Sociology and Anthropology, hails from Moretown, a village of about 1,000 people in central Vermont.

She first became involved in the sustainability movement there during high school, and became the university’s Sustainability Assessment Coordinator after four years with Sustainable Concordia.

There, she is responsible for producing the university’s sustainability report card, which measures 171 indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use and community cohesion.

“I was drawn to Concordia because the students are very diverse and politically active,” she said. “Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s still worth working toward.”

Davis has also worked as a campaign organizer to help successfully re-elect independent Vermont congressman Bernie Sanders, as a union organizer in Vermont and as a fundraiser in the Montreal AIDS community.

Last January she worked with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a family who had lost their home to Hurricane Katrina.

“We worked for nine days straight, sun-up to sundown. The people who move in work alongside you, and they came and cooked a feast for us: Sweet potato pie, roast chicken, the whole works,” she said.

“Meanwhile, they were living on emergency packets. They gave us everything they had.”

An endeavour extremely close to her heart is the Agitate Media Program, a film and discussion series for youth she facilitates at the YMCA in NDG.

“Many young people do not believe in their ability to have their voices heard or that their participation will create change,” Davis said.

Between working with Agitate, learning French, working with Sustainable Concordia and tending to her community garden this summer, Davis plans to apply for an MA in Education.

She wants to become part of a new generation of educators that encourages young people to think critically and participate in the shaping of their communities.

“What I’m trying to do is help young people to develop their own agency: To go out into their world and take it.”