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#ADPTDC14 Meeting in Review: Forging Civic Pathways for Student Success

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Our recent 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting in Louisville, Ky. brought together a collection of faculty, students, administrators, community partners and representatives from our national sponsor and partner organizations committed to advancing civic learning and engagement through public higher education. Collectively, we considered how to advance civic pathways for student success—by identifying existing pathways and forging new ones. We also contemplated the role of social media in our work and the relationship between journalism and our democracy. Together, we celebrated another year of doing hard and important work by sharing stories and strategies for scaling up and focusing our efforts to drive civic learning and engagement into the core of higher education. We committed ourselves to continuing to work to equip all students with the civic knowledge, skills, experiences and dispositions they need to be successful throughout their careers and as citizens.

Highlights of our time together:

By The Numbers

493 participants, representing 156 different campuses and organizations

  • 67 ADP Campuses
  • 44 TDC Campuses
  • 125 Students
  • 8 Sponsors
  • 27 Partner & Friends Organizations

Social Media Use and #ADPTDC14


  • More than 2,500 mentions on both Facebook and Twitter
  • Overall 90% of those posts were positive in sentiment
  • The peak in social media conversation was on Thursday morning during the #Online plenary session
  • Discourse, Dialogue, and Deliberation was the most popular subtopic, accounting for 40% of all social media posts

Selected Tweets:

Program Overview

  • The full program agenda is available for download here (pdf).
  • New this year was a National Community College Organizing day for TDC and a Day of Service at Family Scholar House.
  • After being welcomed to Louisville by Mayor Greg Fischer, national participants considered ways to create and scale-up civic pathways for student success on their campuses and in their communities.

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  • During Friday morning’s “#Online: Democracy Gone Digital” plenary session, Suey Park and The Harry Potter Alliance’s Lauren Bird discussed civic participation and activism via social media.

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  • The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting’s Mark Shulte spoke about “Untold Stories of the Connected World: Journalism as an Instrument for Citizenship” and shared two thought-provoking examples of video journalism: Sean Gallagher’s The Toxic Price of Leather and Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden trek from Ethiopia to Patagonia.
  • Four awards for civic learning and engagement were presented during Friday’s awards lunch. Read more about the awards and their recipients here.

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  • In our closing plenary session, faculty and students from ADP and TDC campuses reflected with us about the national meeting and challenged us to further advance the roles of civic learning and engagement on our campuses over the course of the next year.

Comments from National Meeting attendees:

  • “This is THE place to network with civic engagement movers and shakers!”
  • “I was so impressed (again) with the depth and quality of the participation of our student members. They give me great hope for the future.”
  • “The tone of this conference is one of the best I have ever encountered.  The blend of faculty, campus leaders and engaged students is terrific.  There’s also a clear sense that everyone is there with common work in mind.”

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We hope to see you in New Orleans, Louisiana June 4-6, 2015, for the next ADP/TDC National Meeting where we will continue our important work of preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.

PowerPoints and other handouts from the meeting are available through the meeting’s QuickMobile mobile app for the next year.

Finally, to see more pictures from the meeting, visit the ADP Facebook Page and AASCU homepage; please send any photos you took to so that we can upload them to Facebook.

Introducing The Harry Potter Alliance

Note: Lauren Bird was a plenary speaker at last week’s 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting in Louisville, Ky. You can learn more about her organization, The Harry Potter Alliance, and their work to advance social justice and community engagement online and in communities around the country and across the globe  in the blog post below.

By Lauren Bird, Spokesperson & Digital Content Strategist, The Harry Potter Alliance

HPAThe Harry Potter Alliance is a nonprofit that turns fans into heroes. We channel the enthusiasm of fans toward positive causes by using parallels from popular stories to make activism and social justice accessible. By using the power of story and digital media, we’re able to meet young people where they’re at and provide an easier barrier of entry than traditional activism.

Over the course of eight years, our members have done some incredible things:

  • Funded the protection of civilians in Darfur and Burma;
  • Collected and donated over one hundred thousand books and helped start libraries around the world;
  • Registered over 5,000 first-time voters;
  • Phone banked for marriage equality and
  • Worked to change the discourse around immigration reform and economic inequality

We have 250 chapters in 23 nations across five continents (that Antarctica demographic is a tough one to crack), plus an online audience in the hundreds of thousands.

We’re fortunate to have been founded by and have a membership largely made up of nerds and artists, both of who tend to be at the forefront of new media. We approach online activism both as a means to an end, but also as an end itself. While we attend many in-person events where we meet and recruit new members, we are an online organization. We don’t have a headquarters or a main office. Most of our members discover us online. For a lot of them, this online discovery translates to on-the-ground action, but there are many who can’t or aren’t interested in taking IRL (in real life) action for one reason or another—and we don’t write them off. In fact, the bulk of our actions for individuals are online actions. Whether it’s spreading the word, sending an email to a legislator or creating art about the issue, our members participate in a thriving online activist space that doesn’t belittle their contributions simply because they take place online.

To give just one example, right now we’re using The Hunger Games to work on economic inequality, and we aren’t doing it alone. Several organizations fighting for workers’ rights have adopted some of the imagery and messaging from our Odds In Our Favor campaign, using it at rallies and marches around the U.S. But the three-finger salute from the books as a symbol for economic equality and our branding of unjust legislation as “Hunger Games Policy” would not have been adopted by those organizations if it hadn’t been for our core membership popularizing that messaging on social media last fall when the second film, Catching Fire, was released in cinemas

By using fans’ genuine interest in stories and mobilizing them centrally online, we’re able to enact real-world social change. Join us and learn more at

ADP/TDC Day of Service Recap

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, American Democracy Project

Today about 20 of our meeting attendees, along with representatives from our sponsor GiveGab and O’Sheas, the host of our closing reception, volunteered at the Family Scholar House for our first ever ADP/TDC Day of Service.  The Family Scholar house is an organization that works with single parents to break the cycle of poverty by nurturing both the parent and the child. The program is organized around a closed campus where single parents and their children are encouraged to build a sense of community,while the parents work toward their college degrees.  The Family Scholar House provides a home for families, mentorship for parents and daycare for their children.

Our volunteers participated in a number of different activities around the campus.  Several attendees planted flowers in decorative pots around campus.  They also planted an herb garden for residents to use in the cooking classes organized by the Family Scholar House or on their own.

Other volunteers spent the day cleaning a the children’s “sensory playroom,” writing “egg-firmations” (affirmations put in Easter eggs for residents to pick up when they need a little inspiration or encouragement), or reading to and playing with kids at a campus day-care.

We had a wonderful day at the Family Scholar House and were so excited to be a part of the wonderful work that they do.  We’re looking forward to continuing to give back next year in New Orleans!

Check out some more pictures from our inaugural Day of Service!

#ADPTDC14 Updates |Welcome to Louisville!

Welcome to Louisville, 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting Attendees!

We are so looking forward to seeing you today as we kick off the this year’s ADP/TDC National Meeting. We just wanted to take a moment this morning to welcome you to the city and make sure that you are all aware of the reasons we are #LovinLouisville (in case you missed them on the blog over the last few weeks).

  1. #Online: Democracy Gone Digital Plenary Session
  2. Untold Stories of the Connected World: Journalism as an Instrument for Citizenship
  3. Pre-Cons Aplenty
  4. Themed Session Strands
  5. Our Sponsors and Partners
  6. Stuff for Students Only
  7. Civic Pathways, Sessions, and Strand
  8. eCitizenship and #DigDem
  9. Game On!
  10. Crossing the Finish Line

Also, please remember, #ADPTDC14 is pretty much paperless, so be sure to download the mobile app if you have not already. Instructions, along with your username and password (which you need to sign into the app), were emailed to you earlier in the week. This year, we also have an app help desk onsite, so if you need assistance, you can find it located near the registration desk.

Registration opens today at 7 a.m.

Looking forward to seeing you!



#LovinLouisville #10 |Crossing the Finish Line

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator
Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.
Reason #10? The closing reception…
…Because if there is anything we know how to do besides put on one energy-filled, content-packed conference agenda, it’s celebrate our efforts and spend some quality time with our ADP/TDC peeps after all the hard work is done.
This year, our closing reception is even more special to us as we are hosting it atPatrick O’Shea’s on Main Street—for those of you who don’t know, Patrick O’Shea’s does phenomenal work in the Louisville community and donated some of its staff to our first annual Day of Service.
Things you need to know about the closing reception:
  • There will be awesome food, including Kentucky-themed goodness (e.g., hot browns) in the Whiskey Cellar.
  • Also in the Whiskey Cellar, a bluegrass band; yes, we got a band, and you can preview them by clicking here.
  • If bluegrass isn’t your thing, no worries—we have a DJ and a dance floor; if it’s anything like last year, I would expect some Cupid’s Shuffle.
  • On the third level of the venue (did we mention we have the whole place to ourselves?), we have a Mexican-themed menu and a patio waiting for you.
  • It’s gonna be awesome.
So put on your favorite elastics waistband jeans and dancing shoes.  You’re in for a ENGAGING (civically that is) night!
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