An Introduction to Political and Social Action Winter 2022

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Class Details

What does it mean to act and stand for what you believe in? How do you reason through hard choices with no good answer? How does that happen in the framework of nonprofits and politics? This course is an introduction to the reality of organizing, advocacy, and political action. Topics will include nonprofit operations, political campaigning, fundraising, and policy analysis. Coursework will combine class discussion and activities with out-of-class research, all designed to build a final portfolio. Expect six hours/week of in-class discussion with approximately twenty hours of outside research and reflection. Out-of-class work includes watching CSPAN or Congressional hearings related to your issue of choice, interviewing people impacted by your topic, and analyzing policies. Evaluation will be based on participation, weekly journal reflections, and completion of a two-part final portfolio.1. Students identify an issue of interest at a State or Federal level. They recommend this be addressed by a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 and provide a high-level strategy for doing so. Students indicate potential partner organizations and key legislators who would provide support or resistance. Students analyze at least one related Federal and State policy, writing a one-page memo for each. This information is further synthesized into a one-page recommendation as if it were being prepared to assist a participant of a Congressional roundtable. 2. Students prepare to run for elected office. This includes key issues, talking points, and public image. If there is interest the final day of class may be reserved for brief (5-minute) stump speeches and brief Q&A. Journal entries will be a tool for self-reflection.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none; open to all students; students do not need to know their particular issue or area of interest before enrolling
Enrollment Preferences: statement of interest (a bit about yourself and your interest in the course)
Unit Notes: Landon Marchant '20 has nearly ten years of intensive volunteer experience in activism, policy, and social change. They are currently serving as the Economic Impact Programs Manager at Minority Veterans of America, where they also advise the policy team on economic issues. Landon has written and spoken at length about transgender military service and veteran success. Their full-time role is the Global DE&I Analyst for ZX Ventures, Anheuser-Busch InBev's global innovation and investment division.
Materials/Lab Fee: none

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