Somerville Stock Exchange "Stock Report #2" for June 1st, 2012

The Somerville Stock Exchange, or "SSE" for short, is a community forum. It's also a fundraiser—and a different take on what a stock market can be!

Hi there. Welcome to the Somerville Stock report.

Twice a month, I’ll be writing about my community art project, the Somerville Stock Exchange (SSE). The project involves giving people “Somerville Stocks” based on what they’re doing to make Somerville’s community, creative life, and environment better. All of these things will be included in the project’s printed and online forum. And all of these things affect the “worth” of the different types of Somerville Stocks.

Just like a regular stock market. And just like with a regular stock market, someone will write about why the stocks have changed in value. And that’s what this column is about.

“Somerville Stocks”

So how did “Somerville stocks” do recently?

Creative stocks were a little slow again this period—but still remained on top, finishing up $0.21 at $4.43.

This rise was due to a number of reasons. First, Susan P. told us about how she volunteered some of her free time to help out at the Armory’s iBall fundraiser. Second, we found out about all of the things the Washington Street Art Center does—serving as studio space for a community of artists; providing gallery space for visual artists; and holding a wide range of events that support the local creative community. Last, there was the Somerville Arts Council’s second annual PorchFest, where over 100 Somerville musicians gave free concerts on their front porches. (To read more about Creative Stocks, click here.)

Community stocks, which had shot up in early May, were strong again this period—rising $0.53 to finish at $4.04 per share.

This was because of a number of wonderful things we learned Somerville folks have been doing for the city. First, Jonah P. told us about how he has been advocating for transportation issues, including the bike path being extended. We also found out about Michael M.’s “Green Line Challenge” contest, where people were encouraged to come up with ideas for improving Gilman Square (one of the future stops on the Green Line extension). Then there was Progress Together’s Community congress. After successfully defeating a planned charter school, the volunteer members of Progress Together wanted to keep advocating for their children’s education; at the congress, they discussed other education-related issues to tackle.

Finally, there was PorchFest, which proved to be a mixed blessing. Many people loved how the event energized their neighborhoods, and gave them a chance to meet their neighbors. Others resented the event because of how loud it was, and how disrespectful some of the audience members were. (To read more about Community Stocks, click here.)

Environment stocks were pretty volatile this period, but ended up $0.26, at $3.63—which put them in last place for the second straight period.

On the positive side, there were all of the amazing actions individuals told us they’ve done for the environment. For instance, Megan R. told us how she spent 30 minutes pulling up Garlic Mustard (an invasive weed that’s seeding right now) at Lexington Park while her daughter played. Jonah P. told us about how he composts, recycles, and doesn’t drive to work. He also wrote to say that he’d bought a whole house electricity monitor, and uses it to study and minimize his electricity use. At night, his whole house draws 70 watts—which is less than a single computer and monitor. Sarah H. told us about her work with the Earthos Institute (a Somerville nonprofit that promotes regional resource self-sufficiency), where she helps communities build local, cooperative economies with vibrant urban spaces. She's currently working with Somerville Community Corporation and resident groups to create a food coop hub that will offer year-round local, healthy, affordable food.

These were some huge gains, but they were countered by a single large loss: the Environmental Protection Agency released its annual “report card” about the health of the Mystic River. Due to the more than 14,000 gallons of sewage that storm overflow drains pour into the river each year, the EPA gave the Mystic a whopping “D”, meaning that it’s in pretty poor health. This huge negative counteracted many of the amazing pluses we learned about this period. (To read more about Environment Stocks, click here.)

To read more about why Somerville Stocks are “worth” what they’re “worth,” take a look at our online forum.

Get invested in your community!

If you’d like to earn yourself some Stocks, get in touch! You can earn stocks by making a donation to one of our partner nonprofits (Somerville Homeless Coalition; Somerville Arts Council; Somerville Climate Action) and then letting us know about it. Or by sharing something that you’ve done for Somerville in our forum.

Hope to hear from you! To contact us, click here.

Street fair and two articles about this project

A couple of news items. First, Somerville Scout and the Boston Globe both ran really nice article about this project. Here is the Scout article, and here is the Globe one.

We’ll also be tabling at the SomerStreets festival this coming Sunday, from noon to 4pm. Stop by and say hi!

And check back on June 15 for the next Somerville Stock Report.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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