Ideals to Action: Cultivating Social Change
Academic Civic Engagement Course Project
The Ideals to Action class explores social change from a number of different perspectives. Through historical analysis, theoretical readings, case studies, ethical reflection, and practical application, students investigate local and global problems and assess a range of approaches to bring about change. The paths to change examined in this course include social entrepreneurship and innovation, grassroots development, community organizing, labor organizing, electoral politics, and policy advocacy. In addition to studying this broad landscape of social change, a major component of this course requires that the student selects, plans, and begins to carry out work on a project that addresses a particular community issue or problem. In this way, the course integrates a hand-on approach and encourages you to hone the analytical skills, practical tools, and organizational knowledge needed to cultivate change and engage fully as a citizen.
Social Change Proposals
Students explored social change academically and practically. Students worked on "social change projects" for various community organizations. Specifically, students were required to create plans for developing, improving, implementing or marketing a program or initiative that would help to foster social change.
Way Park Rain Garden
Melissa Brashers ’12 and Matt Thompson ‘13
While working with the Friends of Way Park, STOGROW, Leif Knecht, and the Alternative Learning Center, the three St. Olaf students were able to engage in the development of the Way Park Rain Garden to develop how it would best fit the Northfield community. Throughout their project, they developed ideas to engage the Northfield community members in the maintenance of the rain garden as well as develop it for educational and recreational purposes.
Dan Murphy ’11, Louisa Fish-Sadin ’12 and Amelia Schoenman ‘12
Started as an independent study and continued through Ideals to Action, the Institute of Organizing and Politics is a student led project seeking the future implementation of a St. Olaf program teaching skills and experiential learning in political activism, community organizing and social change work. This project seeks students to continue to take the lead in the initiation and design stages as well as working with close faculty advisors on giving students the opportunity to provide programs to meet their political or community interests.
Vital Link Program Development
Nicholas Kang ’12 and Patricia Lamas ‘12
Nicholas and Patricia teamed up with Vital Link Adult Day Center to develop a new program to provide a fulfilling and marketable experience for their adult clients. As a result, they developed a partnership between Vital Link and Sibley Elementary School and successfully implemented an inter-generational reading program where the adult clients would attend certain classrooms at Sibley Elementary and assist Grade 3 students during reading time.
Community Education on Immigration Rights and/or Immigration Reform
Colin Martin ’12 and Megan Gnazzo ’11
Colin and Megan worked directly with Growing Up Healthy in a community organizing effort to address racial profiling and police discrimination in Northfield. As part of their project, they created public resources that outline a network of different organizations concerning human rights and human rights lawyers. They were also able to organize a Northfield community discussion on immigrant rights, facilitated by a lawyer from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. Amen.
E.G.G.PLANTS (Everyone Gets to Grow Plants)
Ann Daily ‘12
Ann worked with St. Dominic Elementary School to create a school garden. The goal of the project was to implement a multi-study curriculum for the schools K-8 program that uses the garden as a resource, involving students in the entire process of creating the garden, integrating the produce into the school lunch program, and also working with the Food and Nutrition Service Learning Collaborative Grant.
Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield Internships
Alex Meyer ’12, Ashley Gaeth ‘11
Alex and Ashley choose to engage in work with the Haiti Justice Alliance (HJA) of Northfield to develop the plan and implementation of an internship opportunity for St. Olaf and Carleton students. Working closely with Paul Miller, founder of HJA, they produced an internship opportunity ready with detailed logistics and a mandatory curriculum to maximize the benefits of this internship experience. They did so by drawing together resources and guidelines for both the HJA and prospective interns.
SEEDS and Rural Enterprise Center Sustainable Agriculture Projects
Bethany Olson ’11, Elizabeth Harness ’13 and Clairanne Godfrey ’13
Low-Income Housing and Homelessness Initiatives
Mary Coulson ’11 and Megan Andrews-Sharer ‘12
The KSTO Summer Youth Program
Nate Bentley, Patrick Roisen, Sam Mickle
Proposal for the “Greening” of St. Dominic’s School
Scott Fuhrman, Adam Koenig, Joe Schantz, Martina Padilla, Sam Brown
Market Faire: Bridge Square Market
Emily Rose Pfaltzgraff, Kelsey Solum
Solving the Problem of Feline Overpopulation: Steps to Action
Sweet Treats for Social Change: Addressing Young Autistic Adults in the Northfield Community
Tasha Seliski, Gabrielle Coolidge
VolunTraining: Systematically Preparing St. Olaf Students to Work with Local Youth
Ryan Anderson, Maren Gelle