The Periclean Progress is a publication of Project Pericles, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential element of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.
National Office News:
D4D Letters to an Elected Official Competition Winners
Teams from Allegheny, Berea, Carleton, Hendrix, and Pitzer were selected as the winners of the 2016 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ 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 student teams at our Periclean colleges and universities. This year was no exception. For the first time, students also shared a project proposal explaining how they would use the $500 award.
The letters submitted proposed innovative solutions to a wide variety of issues ranging from implementing food waste management systems at the national level to advocating for financial literacy services for struggling families, to supporting redistricting to ensure equal access to a quality education in Pennsylvania. The teams sent their letters to elected officials throughout the United States.
A panel of external experts reviewed the letters. 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."
We look forward to working with the five winning teams of the 2016 D4D Letters to an Elected Official competition throughout the 2016-2017 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 law 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 present it to elected officials during informational meetings.
Sarah Goldman '17 and Jenni Rogan '19 (Carleton College) penned a letter to SenatorAmy 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 Farías '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. Working with a community partner to "prevent recidivism while promoting community reintegration," they will create and distribute a resource guide to support women with mental illness and substance abuse problems as they pursue self-sufficiency and stability.
Debating for Democracy (D4D) Student Spotlight
As part of the D4D Letters to an Elected Official competition, we will be highlighting some of the participating students and will provide updates on all of the teams as their projects progress during the 2016-2017 academic year.
See the last section for pieces from the Berea, Hendrix, and Pitzer Teams.
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.
Pericleans in the News:
Swarthmore Names Periclean Faculty Leader as New Director of the Lang Center
(Adapted from an Article by Mark Anskis on Swarthmore College Website)
Swarthmore College announced that Associate Professor of Political Science Ben Berger will assume the position of executive director of the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility for a five-year term. Berger has served as the interim executive director of the center since July 2015. "During that time, he has demonstrated his energetic commitment to the social justice mission of the Lang Center, and an ability to bridge disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of deepening its support of the curriculum," says Provost Tom Stephenson.
Berger credits Jan R. Liss, executive director of Project Pericles, for his successful transition into the role, noting that his experience as a Periclean Faculty Leader and Project Pericles Program Director helped prepare him for his current position.
Going forward, Berger wants to expand the center's circle of usefulness to even more faculty colleagues and students.
"Eugene Lang '38 always aspired for his center to connect the curriculum to the community, and I look forward to sharpening the details and definitions of 'community,' " Berger says. "I want us to connect our rigorous teaching and research to the campus community and its many, vital student groups; to the local communities of Chester and the greater Philadelphia region, where we aspire to create reciprocal partnerships and to co-create knowledge; to more far-flung communities around the country and the world; and to the community of scholars and activists who share knowledge via publications and conference presentations for the purpose of social amelioration."
Berger, who will continue teaching in his new role, studies the intersection between normative political theory and empirical political science. His current projects include a book on civic education and a book chapter on democratic theory. His book, Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement, won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award for the best social philosophy book published in 2011. With Jan R. Liss, Executive Director of Project Pericles, Berger co-authored the White Paper, The Periclean Diamond: Linking College Classrooms, Campuses, Communities, and Colleagues via Social and Civic High Engagement Learning. He received his A.B. fromPrinceton University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Pitzer Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) Succeeds with Major Push for Voter Registration
By Dana Nothnagel, Pitzer College '19 & SCSV Coordinator and Tricia Morgan, Civic Engagement Center Assistant Director, Pitzer College
The Pitzer College Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) team dedicated this last semester to voter registration, absentee ballot applications, and debate-watching events. The team has helped register almost 300 students to vote or apply for absentee ballots this year.
Since Pitzer draws its students from almost every state, the small group has become expert on the registration and absentee process for each state. They have worked closely with the Pitzer registrar to ascertain which students need information about out-of-state voting. Upon learning how difficult absentee voting can be, the SCSV team has been determined to make sure that a confusing process does not get in the way of any student who wants to exercise his or her right to vote.
In addition, they have been in close collaboration with other groups on campus to host registration tables at snack nights and speaking events. The Pitzer team put on door-to-door registration drives and tabled outside of the dining hall to ensure that every student has the opportunity to register. By connecting with the study abroad office, they have ensured that they provided students who will be abroad for the general election with information on how to vote overseas. The group has also submitted a proposal to have voter registration as an official part of the first-year orientation week.
Through the Community Engagement Center, Pitzer's SCSV team worked to connect with local high schools and other partner organizations to host voter registration drives in the local community. SCSV has also worked closely with campus affinity groups to host special voter registration events. Debate-watching events hosted in dorms have been successful and generated political conversations among students. The team is especially proud of these events because many students that attended may not have watched the debates otherwise.
The team is also creating infographics to post around campus that explain candidates' stances on many issues, the difference between a caucus and a primary election, and the delegate system. After the general election, the team is planning on connecting further with community engagement partners and participating students to continue raising awareness of local political issues that affect our communities.
Pace Gets Out the Vote
By Daniel Botting, Associate Director of Project Pericles, Pace University
The Vote Everywhere Ambassadors have been busy! The Pace Vote Everywhere Ambassadors collected 259 voter registration cards this spring, bringing their total up to 544 for the year. They reached that number by dormstorming, clipboarding in the dining halls, tabling at events, presenting to Introduction to College Life courses, and more. Leading up to, and on Primary Day in New York, they postered to remind students of the Primary date and to help students with 'day of voting logistics'.
In addition, Pace distributed information on where Pace community members could find non-partisan resources on the candidates. They worked with Residence Life to have set times throughout the day where students walked together to their polling site. Vote Everywhere Ambassadors organized two debate-watching events in residence halls. The screenings were followed by a discussion on the debates and the impact of the youth vote. Two Political Science faculty and a campaign professional participated.
Bates Holds Dialogue on Criminal Justice Reform
By Sam Boss, Associate Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Research, the Harward Center, Bates College
A full-day symposium at Bates College put community-engaged learning students into conversation with a range of off-campus interlocutors. The symposium, "Chaos or Community: Conversations on Criminal Justice Reform in Maine," was designed to respond to both national and local concerns about structures of inequity in the U.S. criminal justice system by promoting collaboration and continuing dialogue among a range of stakeholders. The day began with "inside/out" perspectives shared by formerly incarcerated individuals and continued with panel presentations featuring U.S. Attorneys, local law enforcement and corrections officials, leaders of local advocacy groups, and Dr. Kaia Stern of the Harvard Prison Studies Project. Bates students also shared results from semester-long community-engaged projects on incarceration reform.
With more than two million people behind bars, the United States has the highest rate of incarceration of any nation in the world. Maine has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, but that rate has increased 300% since 1980. An ongoing heroin epidemic threatens to drive these figures upward. As increasing attention to the human and financial costs of mass incarceration has intensified calls for reform from across the political spectrum, the symposium offered a venue for sharing ideas, establishing partnerships, and laying a foundation for collective action among diverse stakeholders. Students in Associate Professor of Religious Studies Cynthia Baker's Human Suffering course put theory into practice throughout the semester by working on a range of community-engaged projects, from serving as respondents in correspondence courses with incarcerated persons to developing a juvenile justice curriculum and a short video featuring the experiences of adults in recovery from addiction.
Widener Students Travel to D.C. to Study Portrayal of Presidential History
This spring, Widener University students enrolled in Contemporary Issues in Political Engagement and The American Presidency traveled to Washington, D.C. for an Urban Excursion focused on all things presidential.
"This trip allowed students to see how the presidency is portrayed in historical memorials and museums. Understanding this form of public history and its importance to educating people about democracy really helped to tie together some of the major themes from The American Presidency and Contemporary Issues courses," said Associate Professor of Political Science Wes Leckrone.
The students visited the graves of Presidents Kennedy and Taft at Arlington National Cemetery. Next, the students witnessed a play at Ford's Theatre centered on the assassination of President Lincoln. Students also visited the presidential display at the Smithsonian and walked to the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial.
"The students in Contemporary Issues will create short videos educating junior high students about presidential history and the election process. The trip to D.C. allowed for our students to conduct research and film historical sites," said Associate Professor of Communication Studies Angela Corbo. Widener communication studies students plan to give these videos to local middle school teachers to use when covering presidential and election material.
Corbo and Leckrone have worked together throughout the semester with their students to promote interest in political issues among a middle school age group and to educate young students on the presidential election process.
Students in Contemporary Issues have also focused this semester on the additional goals of raising awareness about the rising costs of higher education and lobbying for legislation to make college more affordable. The students organized a panel on March 21 that featured Associate Professor of Political Science Jim Vike (Project Pericles Co-Program Director) and Associate Professor of Higher Education Timothy Sullivan, Nicole Crossey '16 and Widener President Julie E. Wollman discussing how students can manage the costs of higher education, the history and current status of higher education in America, the experience of today's students regarding financing a degree and ways to advocate for individual scholarships and legislation that impacts higher education funding. The students headed to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 12 to participate in Student Lobby Day, where they discussed their concerns about college costs with state legislators.
Lang College Student Wins Community Service Award
Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School student, Sade Swift, Urban Studies '17, was recognized by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities with an Independent Sector Student Community Service Award, as well as a $500 scholarship.
Swift has worked to confront social justice issues, including gender inequality, the portrayal of women in the media, gun violence, and police brutality. She was also one of two Lang College student delegates at the 2015 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference. As part of the conference, Swift wrote a letter protesting police brutality and the use of stop-and-frisk tactics by the New York Police Department. The letter was addressed to New York Assemblyman Karim Camara (D).
New School President David Van Zandt accompanied Swift to Albany in March to receive the award.
"Being selected as a recipient ... is very humbling and reminded me that as a Afro-Latina, I have have a long way to go before justice is served to my people," said Swift. I want to recognize all the women of color that came before me to make this possible. La lucha sigue, pero se peude."
Active in the community, Swift works with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, a program designed to promote leadership and activism among young women and helped found the youth contingent to Justice League NYC, where she fights for justice for people of color.
Donation to Project Pericles in Honor of Jim Vike
Project Pericles received a gift in honor of Jim Vike's years of service as the Associate Dean of the Social Science Division at Widener University. Vike's colleagues at Widener University made the donation.
"I was honored to hear that my colleagues decided to recognize my upcoming departure as Associate Dean in such a fashion," said Vike. "I think it reflects very positively on our collective commitment to furthering the cause [of civic engagement]."
Vike will continue in his role as Associate Professor of Political Science. The move will allow him to devote more time to students and Project Pericles as the Co-Program Director at Widener. Vike is an active member of the Project Pericles community and we look forward to our continued collaboration.
Debating for Democracy (D4D) Student Spotlight (continued from first section)
Berea Student Describes Her Motivation to Write on Kentucky Senate Bill 180
[The bill allows business owners to deny services to LGBTQ+ customers based on religious beliefs.]
By Megan Yocum '17
We selected this particular topic because it affects many people within Kentucky. Just because gay marriage is now legal, does not mean that the LGBTQ+ community has conquered all of its challenges. There are still many discriminatory issues that the alphabet community face, such as housing discrimination and Senate Bill 180. This bill is critical for all Kentuckians because the state is attempting to discriminate against its own citizens. I know people who will be negatively affected by this senate bill, which is one reason why we decided to team up and work on this together. We are hoping to bring awareness to the public about the problems with Senate Bill 180 through a PSA video that we will create.
Hendrix Students Describe Their Passion for Juvenile Justice Reform
By Katie Dobbins '17, Emma Gaither '18, Casey Hawkins '18, and Tejas Soman '18
It started as an assignment for our Public Policy class. When looking through possible topics, we eventually decided on juvenile justice. Among all the juvenile justice related topics, the issue of media protection stood out. We knew little about the process of juveniles being charged as adults but were outraged at the instantaneous way their names could be released to the press. This issue is especially relevant in our community because of gang-related crimes involving juveniles in the Little Rock area. Once we were aware of the current lack of protection for juveniles, it was an easy issue to write about because we truly believe it needs to be changed.
Katie Dobbins - I am a double major in biology (with an emphasis on plant science) and Spanish. This semester, I decided to take a public policy course in which the professor encouraged us to participate in the Debating for Democracy (D4D) Letters to an Elected Official competition. Once we realized how widespread the problem was, we knew we needed to focus our letter on the issue. While conducting our research, we consulted with several experts in the field to broaden our understanding of the problem.
Emma Gaither - I am an environmental studies major (with a biology focus) and Spanish minor. I serve as a representative for the Environmental Concerns Committee at the college. From Little Rock, I enjoy spending time outdoors and reading. This project and the interest it sparked in me were completely unexpected, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working on this juvenile justice issue.
Casey Hawkins - Originally from Little Rock, I am a politics major and serve as the managing editor of the student newspaper, The Profile, and as a member of student senate. In my free time you can probably find me working at Chipotle or relaxing with my three dogs. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to be working with Project Pericles.
Tejas Soman - I am an environmental studies major with a politics minor. I enjoy the outdoors whether it is camping, hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking. I work in the Hendrix bike shop and am a member of the student senate's financial committee. I am also from Little Rock.
Pitzer Students Describe Their Passion for Healthcare Reform
By Amina Farías '18 and Eleanor Neal '18
Amina Farías - For the past two years I have helped facilitate art classes for the women at Prototypes. While teaching them arts and crafts, I have had the privilege of seeing their patience, determination, and strength. Every week they inspire me, no matter how tired and stressed they may be. It is from this place that I decided to work on the D4D Grant with Eleanor and I cannot tell you how appreciative I am to be able to give a little back to the women who give me so much every week.
Born in Washington D.C., I have always had a passion for learning, community service, and art. After working in the New York Film business for five summers, I decided to focus on community service, working at Pine Ridge Native American Reservation during my senior year in High School. During my gap year, I traveled to South East Asia and got certified in Wilderness First Response, Animal First Aid and Elephant Caregiving. I spent the rest of my time in Asia setting up clinics in rural Thailand and Laos as well as working with domestic pets and elephants. At Pitzer, I study International Politics, Economics, Psychology, and the Middle East. I am also vice president of the Mental Health Alliance.
Eleanor Neal - I am concerned about public health and social justice, and hope to use my background in policy to promote equity and inclusion in my community. This year, I am an intern at Prototypes Women's Center in Pomona, California, where I help facilitate the Mindful Arts & Crafts program for women in recovery. Inspired by both the women and staff at Prototypes, I hope to continue focusing my work on maternal and child health after graduation. At Pitzer, I study Spanish and Human Biology.
As an ally for women in recovery, I believe that prison diversion promotes positive community reintegration. Prototypes works with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to operate the Community Prisoner Mother Program that allows women to remain with their children throughout all stages of recovery. On behalf of Prototypes, I addressed Representative Judy Chu to advocate for evidence-based alternatives to incarceration. Prototypes is a clear example of how government can collaborate with community partners on programs that strengthen parent-child relationships and decrease the likelihood of social service interventions. I hope that programs like Prototypes will continue to receive the support they need from both state and federal legislators.
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