Our Spring 2016 Newsletter is available here!
Winners of the 2016 Letters to an Elected Official Competition
We are pleased to announce the five winning teams of the 2016 Letters to an Elected Official competition. The competition engages students around public policy issues, the political process, and with their elected officials. Since this program began in 2008, we have received outstanding submissions from students at our Periclean colleges and universities. This year was no exception. You can read the five winning letters by clicking here.
In addition to the letter to an elected official, this year we asked students to share a project proposal about how they would use the $500 award.
An elected official who served as one of the external evaluators wrote, "let all these students know what wonderful and impressive work they did," adding that "if [she] had received any of the letters from a constituent, [she] would have been blown away." Another outside evaluator commented that the letters were, "so well written and inspiring."
The five winning teams will each receive $500 to work on their issue during the 2016-17 academic year:
Hayden Moyer '17 and Walter Stover '17 (Allegheny College) wrote to Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) about online privacy and adapting Europe's Right to be Forgotten in the United States. They will develop a website "promoting digital privacy rights and serving as a database" for cases supporting their endeavor.
Tran Nguyen '17 and Megan Yocum '17 (Berea College) sent State Senator Jared Carpenter (R-KY) a letter discussing the expansion of Kentucky's 2013 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The pair plans to create a public service announcement and then present it to elected officials during lobbying meetings.
Sarah Goldman '17 and Jenni Rogan '19 (Carleton College) penned a letter to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) regarding the 2014 Farm Bill Crop Insurance and Subsidies Policy. The students will create a mentorship program for students to work with farmers in their state and participate in a training program during the summer of 2017.
Katie Dobbins '17, Emma Gaither '18, Casey Hawkins '18, and Tejas Soman '18 (Hendrix College) wrote to State Senator Joyce Elliott (D-AR) about restricting local media sources from publishing the names of juveniles charged as adults for crimes. The team will partner with student organizations in Arkansas to publicize their issue and organize a concert to raise awareness. The students also plan to hold a panel discussion and a letter writing campaign to petition elected officials to address the matter.
Amina Farias '18 and Eleanor Neal '18 (Pitzer College) wrote to Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) on the issue of Medicaid-funded mental health treatment and recovery support programs. To "prevent recidivism while promoting community reintegration", they will create and distribute a resource guide working with a community partner to support women with mental illness and substance abuse problems as they pursue self-sufficiency and stability.
We look forward to working with the teams throughout the next year.
Project Pericles Works as Institutional Partner with The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE)
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University recently named Project Pericles as a partner.
NSLVE provides colleges and universities with information about their student registration and voting rates. It also provides information about "campus climate for political learning and engagement and correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting." Most of our Periclean Colleges and Universities are participating in the study.
Multi-Campus Research Project on Student Well-Being and Civic Engagement
We commenced work this spring on a multi-campus research project that examines the impact of civic engagement on student well-being. We are undertaking this work in collaboration with Bates, Goucher, Hendrix, and Pitzer. The project looks at the impact of incorporating civic engagement in the curricula on the well-being of college students. We are examining a number of high-impact practices including first-year seminars and community-based learning courses. In addition, close attention will be paid to the impact of programs on Pell-eligible and first-generation students. This work is supported by Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP).
Our collaborators explain below what excites them about the project and this line of inquiry:
"Bates College is delighted for the opportunity to revisit the question of the impact of civic engagement on student well-being. The education of the whole person and the cultivation of informed civic action are animating priorities at Bates, which makes this cross-institutional study of the implications of civic engagement for student flourishing of particular interest to us. We look forward to joining with others in asking questions such as these: Does the full-bodied integration of the civic into the academic enterprise -- not as an afterthought or footnote but as integral to student learning and experience -- have a demonstrable effect on students' resiliency, self-efficacy, or responses to stress? When student learning is focused not only on the edification and preparation of the individual, but also on the transformation and flourishing of communities, are students (and communities) more likely to flourish? We need to be asking these kinds of questions in higher education, and this study invites us to do so. We are grateful for the opportunity." - Darby K. Ray; Director, Harward Center for Community Partnerships; Donald W. & Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement; and Project Pericles Program Director; Bates College.
"Goucher College is so pleased to be a contributing member of the Project Pericles team investigating the impact of incorporating civic engagement in the curricula on the well-being of college students. Our institution has been deeply engaged in this very conversation for the past two years, and we believe that working in a focused way with our distinguished colleagues will help us ask better questions and more knowledgably define key factors that link community-based work to psycho-social well-being. We will also tie this work to our conversations around the equitable dissemination of high impact practices (e.g. community-based learning, study abroad, internships) throughout the entire student body." - Cass Freedland, France-Merrick Director of Community-Based Learning, and Project Pericles Co-Program Director, Goucher College.
"Our goal is to gain a fuller understanding of the distinctive impact of our required first semester course, The Engaged Citizen, on our students both in that first year and then as they follow their civic engagement pathways across their time at Hendrix College. Of course, this impact includes the students' social and emotional development as young adults honing their citizenship skills." - Jay Barth, M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics; Director of Civic Engagement Projects; and Project Pericles Program Director, Hendrix College.
"Pitzer College is thrilled to participate, once again, with long-time partners Project Pericles and Bringing Theory to Practice, in the important work of studying the impact of civic engagement on student wellness. This unique focus on well-being within community engagement is one that does not get nearly enough attention across schools and disciplines but is one we believe is a crucial component to why students choose to participate in community engagement initiatives. With this study, we hope to garner evidence that students' sense of belonging, purpose, and community, both on campus and off, is deeply enhanced when they are a part of meaningful and reciprocal community-campus partnerships for social change. We believe that aims to enhance the well-being of our students (as well as our communities) must be at the forefront of our efforts to educate, support, and inspire those in and connected to Pitzer College around our core values of social responsibility and social justice." -Tessa Hicks Peterson;Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement; Assistant Professor, Urban Studies; and Project Pericles Program Director, Pitzer College
We are pleased to be undertaking this work with such a distinguished group of scholars and colleagues.
Get Out the Vote: Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV)
Since last November, our campuses have registered thousands of voters and distributed important information about candidates and issues. Pericleans have shared their ideas and inspired other campuses to organize similar activities.
Periclean campuses are invited to participate in Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) Week, September 24-30, 2016. SCSV Week overlaps with National Voter Registration Day on September 27 and represents a concerted effort at the national level to engage students, faculty, staff, and community members in the election process. During SCSV Week, Periclean campuses across the country will organize activities connected to the 2016 Presidential Election.
See the article in Pericleans in the News for an update on the Pitzer College SCSV team.
With the guidance of our Program Directors and Christine Martin, our Program Manager, we have relaunched SCSV, a favorite program of Gene Lang's, to engage students in the democratic process. SCSV seeks to strengthen political engagement across campuses by encouraging the active participation of eligible voters in the American democratic process by (1) sharing information and resources to encourage students and community members to be knowledgeable about candidates and issues, (2) creating a space for dialogue, and (3) helping to register students and community members to vote. Program Directors nominated students on their campuses to join the SCSV national taskforce, a network committed to sharing innovative ideas and practices that is developing guides and other voting resources.
Periclean Students to Travel to California for College Debate 16
Seven Periclean Campuses (Bates, Goucher, Hendrix, Macalester, Morehouse, Spelman, and Wagner), are sending delegates to College Debate 2016 at Dominican University of California. Delegates will travel to San Rafael in June to learn how to organize issue-focused events at their schools. They will then return in September for the 2016 College Convention focused on national youth issues. Project Pericles has been an active member of the CollegeDebate 16 working group.