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Posts tagged ‘Campus Spotlight’

ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative: Stockton University Launch

Stockton University (N.J.) held their kick-off event for their Economic Inequality Initiative on September 28, 2015. Co-chairs of the initiative Carra Hood, assistant provost for Programs & Planning and associate professor of Writing, and Oliver Cooke, associate professor of Economics, hosted the event, which explored economic inequality in a national, regional and local context. A panel of faculty and staff members discussed local and regional contexts of economic inequality.

“These initiatives are only valuable if they generate broad-based awareness and participation. The intent is to engage everyone across the disciplines,” Cooke continued.

For more information, resources and upcoming events for the Stockton Economic Inequality Initiative, click here. To read the team’s blog, which discusses economic and other forms of inequality, click here.

Economic Inequality Initiative: Student Summit planned for March 2016

The Keene State College (N.H.) American Democracy Project (ADP) in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.) are planning a two-day regional Student Public Policy Summit on March 4th and 5th, 2016 focused on funding for Higher Education. This summit grows out of our work with on the ADP/TDC initiative on Economic Inequality.

As currently planned, the summit would incorporate educational opportunities through keynote speakers — including Tamara Draut — and program sessions, networking with faculty/staff and students from the Northeast, and experiential learning through participation in Congressional-style debate and engagement in “action” after the summit.

The first day of the summit will focus on providing students with opportunities to become acquainted with their peers, gain knowledge regarding the history and current issues involved in funding for public higher education as well as the functions, processes and procedures of Congress. Students will be provided with information to support role playing as an actual member of Congress in the weeks preceding the summit to model the current elected government representative political ideological perspectives.

Day two will engage students in a mock legislative session, beginning with the presentation of a bill regarding funding for higher education, followed by a time to caucus with their ideological colleagues leading into a congressional debate.  Debate will resume after lunch and the day will close with voting on the proposed and perhaps amended legislation.  A keynote speaker will bring the event to a close and help students process their experiences.

The following day, students will be invited to attend a session debriefing their experiences to assist in refining a model that will be shared with ADP/TDC institutions across the country in the hopes of encouraging similar regional summits throughout the 2016-2017 academic year and ending in a culminating event at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting sponsored by ADP/TDC/NASPA in Baltimore.

Save the date and contact Kim Schmidl-Gagne, Program Coordinator at Keene State College at for more information.

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.


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