CIVICS FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Earn 2-4 units P/NP while doing good work! This Course is Cross-Listed with ART 194.
This is a unique course to support action in our communities during this time period. How do we help one another in a time of adversity? What can we do on an individual basis that will help raise awareness of inequality, lift spirits, reduce isolation, advise on an area of your expertise, help others organize, or participate in multiple volunteer positions?
This course is being offered to give you an outlet for your participation in the greater good. It is open to all majors. You will work independently with consultation in group and individual sessions. The equivalent of 1 unit is 30 hours. Students will log hours with descriptions of their activities.
As Black Lives Matter spurs call for action and the pandemic continues, physical distancing is still necessary at this time. There are many safe and inspiring activities to take on, but what can Humanities students do in their fields? What can Music students do for theirs, Physics, Math, and so on? The class will provide an opportunity for students to pool their ideas and expertise to identify possible solutions to complex problems through brainstorming discussions. Depending on the outcomes, smaller groups may pursue individual ideas in greater depth.
If you are interested, write to Jane Mulfinger: firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your reasons/interest and you will be sent an add code.
"Civic engagement or civic participation is any individual or group activity addressing issues of public concern. Citizens acting alone or together to protect public values or make a change or difference in the community are common types of civic engagement. Civic engagement includes communities working together in both political and non- political actions. The goal of civic engagement is to address public concerns and promote the quality of the community."
This is a research-in-action course. We are learning by doing. Our learning objectives include understanding how to be relevant in building communities, how to have discussions about difficult subjects, how to become better equipped to address inequities in our culture(s) based on gender and sexual preference, race, socio-economic status, and cultural backgrounds.
I bring my own biases with me. We are learning together and I have a lot to learn from you. I started this course with the feeling of urgency to fight for what is good and needing community myself! My job in this course is to provide the space and organization for you to initiate and carry through your plans for the greater good.
BASICS ABOUT THE COURSE:
1) On Gauchospace I will post relevant materials to read and listen to. You will be asked to comment on this material in discussions and possibly in writing. Please fill out the google survey.
2) Keep a log of your hours. 1 unit = 30 hours. Turn in to Gauchospace bi-weekly, (honor system). (Research, training, homework, 1st responder hours and planning hours count.)
3) Using our list and your own research, reach out to communities in need to perform tasks of civic engagement.
4) Attend virtual class hours (Zoom MW 12:00-12:50pm. - link in Gauchospace.) In these hours we will talk about the readings, problem solve issues you are having, and you will present your progress in a supportive group dynamic. (If any of you worry about 'presenting' please talk to me. This will be really informal and intended to help you spread the word.)
5) Share your thoughts and good work with the group on Slack. I will set up a page, but here is the website: https://slack.com/.
6) Turn in your final compiled time log at the end of the quarter and any images you have of your work throughout the quarter. (Examples from last quarter include piles of hand-sewn masks, child entertainer in costume, 3D printed ear protectors, etc.)
Here is a list of general strategies to be thinking about:
A) We are creating a safe space to talk about our concerns and interests together. Difference of opinion is absolutely ok and discussing differences and ideas with mutual respect will be an essential part of our meetings.
B) Helping others can be emotionally taxing. Converse virtually with us for support and guidance.
C) We will be exemplary citizens in terms of distancing and mask wearing.
D) When selecting activities, focus on what you are interested in and do some research around that task. Brainstorm with others. There are many ideas out there from self-care and teaching others to care for themselves to working with an organization on equity issues. Last spring students concentrated on the pandemic. They worked on food insecurity, housing insecurity, Covid science initiatives, staged a blood drive, performed a virtual concert, conducted virtual arts and crafts sessions, committed hours to an organization wherever they were living, fostered animals, and virtually entertained children for tired parents. We are still in the pandemic but there are other subjects including the election and Black Lives Matter.
E) All of our activities will be lawful, will do no harm, and all permissions will be sought if needed. I can help with that. If you are a first responder, an essential worker, please talk to me about assessing hours for your work.
Time log deadlines, attendance to zoom class sessions, positive participation in discussion, Slack participation, all readings and course materials, and good communication with me if you are sick or need any other accommodation.