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Posts tagged ‘Campus Programming Ideas’

Strike a Match! Stockton University’s Activist in Residence Program

541b3aae11419.imageErin O’Hanlon, Program Assistant, & Rona Whitehead,

Activist in Residence, – Stockton University/ Office of Service-Learning

Matches by themselves are mere sticks of wood dipped in chemicals.  But struck against any rough surface — metal, the bottom of a shoe, or even a striker pad — the friction creates a force of energy that can light the world.

So too is a program at Stockton University gaining interest and traction.  In 2013, the American Democracy Project at Stockton, called on campus The Political Engagement Project, supported the institution to create an Activist in Residence Program.  Modelled after Activist in Residence Programs often found at social justice centers and women, gender and sexuality programs, the term-limited position at Stockton is the first in the nation facilitated through an ADP program.

In Fall 2013, Erin O’Hanlon arrived on the Stockton campus and became the first Activist in Residence (AIR). Erin worked in the community-based local rape crisis center for 16 years, and had established relationships at Stockton.  While there, she focused on raising the activism of students interested in gender equity.

Among her many accomplishments she managed to activate students to develop a Women’s Center, as demonstrated in this video produced by a service-learning section of Perspectives on Women with Stockton faculty Emily Van Duyne. The story of how this came about is an interesting one.

Stockton wasn’t the last of the state colleges and universities to still not have a resource center focused on women, gender and sexuality issues, but they certainly weren’t in the forefront of a movement that had started in the 1970’s.  Motivated for the university to organize these services on campus, faculty member and past-PEP co-chair Kristin Jacobson created a petition for members of the community to ask the institution to fund a center.  Activist students on campus took up the challenge, several of which were in Van Duyne’s class that semester.  The rest, as they say, was history.

In Fall 2014 the AIR position continued with Rona Whitehead. She had the daunting task of following in O’Hanlon’s footsteps.  Whitehead worked for nearly two decades in youth development programs with a national nonprofit youth organization. She kept the match flaring by organizing a mini-grant program where students and student groups were able to apply for funds to create sustainable projects that made a difference in the community.

This turned out to be wildly successful, with students working in teams and organizations to establish programs on and off campus.  One of the  projects was developed by The Neuroscience Club on campus, focusing on brain safety and prevention of traumatic brain injuries.  Their event, Save Your Brain, was attended by over 200 students.  Their funds were used to purchase helmets, long boards and a bike  that were offered as door prizes at the event. View an overview of the event here.

This fall the Office of Service Learning will continue to strike that match to carry on the momentum of the past two years with the AIR program.  Whitehead is back on campus for Fall 2015, and this semester is focused exclusively on American Democracy Project activities.  Continuing the legacy of Stockton’s unique brand of service-learning, Whitehead is focusing on civic related initiatives in the community with the assistance of an AIR team of students who work in the Office of Service-Learning. The initiatives will follow the passion of the AIR team and include food issues, mentoring and activism with high school students, engaging with children in Atlantic City, and coordinating a mini grant program for Service-Learning courses.

Director of The Office of Service-Learning, Daniel Fidalgo Tomé, recently said, “This program has ensured that our community partners have a place at the table.”

For more information, take a look at The Stockton University Office of Service-Learning website.  Interested in having an Activist in Residence at your college or university?  Here’s a link to a free Activist in Residence Toolkit to get you started.

Campus and Friends Showcase at the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting

Are you an ADP campus coordinator?
Do you want to share your campus activities?
Are you an ADP partner organization?
Do you want to promote the work of your organization?

Consider hosting a table at the Campus & Friends Showcase at the 2014 American Democracy Project/The Democracy Commitment National Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.


Thursday, June 5, 2014
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (preview 3 p.m-3:30 pm)

For the ninth year in a row, we will feature the ever-popular Campus & Friends Showcase—a wonderful opportunity to share and celebrate your work and help others learn how to promote civic learning and engagement on their own campuses.  There is no cost to participate.  Simply complete this registration form, available hereno later than Monday, April 28, 2014.

The Campus and Friends Showcase will take place on Thursday, June 5th from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (preview 3 p.m-3:30 pm).  The Showcase is designed as an exhibit area with tables available for presenters. People love to see what other campuses are doing with ADP/TDC, and the Showcase also serves as an important networking opportunity for project participants to connect with national leaders in the civic engagement movement.

It is important to note that the Campus & Friends Showcase is different than the poster sessions, which were solicited during the Call for Proposals. The poster session is designed to be more research-oriented, and the Showcase is set up as an exhibit to provide opportunities for information, networking, and collaboration.

More information about the purpose and structure of the Showcase, registration, the materials you should provide, and set-up details can be found here. If you have any questions, please email Cait Reilly at

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to register for the 2014 American Democracy Project/The Democracy Commitment National Meeting, June 5-7, 2014. To register for the meeting visit our website. Note: Earlybird registration rates end on April 30!

Campus Programming: Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health

Text, Talk, Act is back! This April 24th, gather together to help end the silence on mental health.

Text, Talk, Act to Improve Mental Health is an hour-long event that uses text messaging to get people talking about mental health and encourage them to take action. Through this event, young people can have a conversation with their peers and give voice to an issue that can otherwise be difficult to speak about. Using a technology that is ubiquitous with their lives, this is a fun event that reaches youth through text messages.

Text, Talk, Act helps impact the way people think and talk about mental health. Participants in a previous event said:


This event is geared toward young people, but people of all ages can participate and benefit from it. It’s very simple:

  1. At any time on April 24th, gather 3-4 of your friends, family, classmates,  students, and/or colleagues;
  2. Text “start” to 89800; and
  3. Receive polling questions and discussion questions via text messaging while having a face-to-face dialogue with your group.

The process takes one hour. The result can last a lifetime.

Please join us this April 24th! Visit to learn more, sign up to receive reminders for the event AND make a statement by adding a pin to our map – showing that a conversation will be happening in YOUR  community!


2014 Important ADP Dates and Deadlines

Here are some important dates on our calendar for the upcoming year. What other civic engagement related events are on your calendar?





  • March 10: ADP/TDC National Meeting proposers notified





  • July 4: Independence Day



  • September 1: Labor Day
  • September 17: Constitution Day
  • September 29: Minnesota Regional ADP Meeting


National Screening of Inequality for All

Inequality For All educational event Feb 20 2014AASCU’s American Democracy Project has been working with former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and his staff to organize a simultaneous screening of his Inequality for All film at college campuses across the country.

The event is going to take place on Thursday, February 20, 2014, when campuses all over the United States will simultaneously screen the film at 5 p.m. EST. Following the film, Robert Reich has agreed to do a national webcast from an AASCU institution—San Francisco State University—and this will take place at 6:30 p.m. EST.

SFSUICCElogoWe are very excited about the opportunity that this event presents to raise awareness about economic inequality in America and afford our students a chance to come together for dialogue and deliberation on the subject. As you can see from the poster included below, we are partnering with The Democracy Commitment in our advertising. Several other groups (Democracy Matters, Generation Alliance, Generation Progress, NASPA and U.S. Students Association so far) have also signed up.

The only cost for a campus to participate is to have the institution’s library purchase the Reich film at a special reduced rate ($250, as compared to $400), which then can be used anytime on campus later on for classes, special showings, etc. We’ll also be organizing a variety of means (e.g., through Facebook, Twitter and video) of collecting questions from participating campuses to be asked of Reich during the webcast. Participating campuses will be provided with further details as well as a screening toolkit which includes a discussion guide and promotional materials.

What:  National screening of Inequality for All, followed by live webcast conversation with Robert Reich
Where:  On your campus; live webcast from San Francisco State University (Calif.)
When:  Thursday, February 20, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. EST with webcast at 6:30 p.m. EST

Please contact Wendy Cohen at Picture Motion to purchase the DVD of the film. Please also contact us at to let us know you’re interested in participating .


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