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Human Rights Lab Gets Boost on #GivingTuesday

Spartans show up to support programs and scholarships.

Human Rights Lab illustration

Human Rights Lab Gets Boost on #GivingTuesday

Spartans show up to support programs and scholarships.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is circled around the country and the globe as Giving Tuesday. And this year, Spartans around the world once again showed their generosity.

On Dec. 1, 2020, Spartan donors from 45 states and 12 international locations participated in #GivingTuesday. A total of 1,924 donations generated more than $382,000 for campus initiatives like the Women’s Leadership Institute, the Support Our Spartans Emergency Fund, the MSU Student Food Bank and the Diversity Research Network, among many programs.

The James Madison College Human Rights Lab was one program that saw a boost on #GivingTuesday, with about $2,000 being raised toward the project that helped lift the total to $14,000 raised for the Human Rights Lab.

The Human Rights Lab is a research and experiential learning project for undergraduate students. Students in the lab participate in “policy-relevant research associated with the investigation of human rights violations.” Using technology and satellite imagery, students investigate crimes against humanity and other crimes of international concern.

Dr. Robert Brathwaite, associate professor of international relations, runs the lab. It began with six students four years ago to nearly 20 students today. While it has been operating on what Dr. Brathwaite called a shoestring budget, the recent uptick in donations has been a boon.

“With increased support,” Dr. Brathwaite said, “the lab can expand to not only enhance our operations and provide more opportunities for students but also to create a truly unique education program that enhances MSU’s reputation as a world-class educational institution where Spartans have a global impact.”

Spartans in the Human Rights Lab are already making an impact. They have filed two Article 15 submissions with the International Criminal Court. Using thermal imaging technology, the lab-created a map detailing the systematic burning of Rohingya Muslim villages in Myanmar and used satellite images to map the command structure of militia groups in Venezuela.

The additional funding from donors on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year will enhance the lab’s capabilities. From more satellite images and data sources to opened providing professional development opportunities for students, funding for the lab not only impacts MSU students, but it also impacts the world.

“Being a Student Lab Leader in the JMC Human Rights Lab has been one of the most valuable experiences I have had here at Michigan State University,” Alicia Boos, an international relations and comparative cultures and politics senior, told the MSU Alumni Blog. “The lab allows undergraduates to make a real impact within the international community and be part of something that is greater than ourselves.”

Thanks to the donors on #GivingTuesday and gifts throughout the year, the Human Rights Lab is poised to grow even more—and the world could be a better place because of it.

You can still support James Madison College Human Rights Lab:

Author: Liam Boylan-Pett