CMTY 195 “Community and Democratic Citizenship”
Dr. Rona Karasik, Professor, Community Studies
St. Cloud State University
This introductory course examines the nature of community in the United States, with a focus on 1) sustainable communities and 2) democratic citizenship. Specific attention is placed on understanding the concept of community; the factors that contribute to forming a community; the role communities play in the lives of their members; and the role people play in sustaining community. Students have the opportunity to explore diverse communities, as well as to learn more about the communities to which they belong.
Goals and Objectives for Service-Learning in CMTY 195
Goal 1: Provide students with face to face contact with communities and their participants.
- To familiarize students with a realistic (rather than media enhanced) experience of community life.
- To personalize the population/issues/concerns being studied.
- To understand the vast diversity among communities and their members.
Goal 2: Introduce students to the needs and concerns of communities.
- To familiarize students to the day to day living experience of community members.
- To familiarize students with the social challenges communities may face.
Goal 3: Provide students with interaction with community agencies and/or governing bodies.
- To familiarize students with the specific services provided by community agencies and the issues they address.
- To familiarize students with the structure of a local service agency.
- To familiarize students with the personnel of a local service agency.
- To familiarize students with the governing bodies and procedures of community governance.
Goal 4: Provide students with the opportunity to develop civic responsibility/ citizen participation skills.
- To increase students’ sense of personal efficacy (“I can make a difference”).
- To increase students’ commitment to lifelong community/public service.
The Kaleidoscope Service-Learning Project
Goal: Research, develop, and fund a fully integrated, universally accessible and developmentally appropriate playground to serve children of all abilities in the local and surrounding community.
Rationale: The creation of a “truly” accessible playground will allow children of all abilities to play, interact, develop and learn as a unified community.
Some Benefits to the Community: Increased visibility for the St. Cloud area as a universally accessible, forward-thinking community. Increased revenues for businesses who will serve families who come to St. Cloud to use the regional playground.
Some Completed, Current, and Anticipated Activities for CMTY 195 Students: Students build on the work begun by 15 classes of CMTY 195 students from Fall, 2001- Fall, 2007 (under the direction of Dr. Rona Karasik, Dr. Phyllis Greenberg, and Dr. Pamela Mittlefehldt). Students in these classes have accomplished many of the initial planning tasks, including:
- Developing key community contacts (e.g., East Side Boosters, St. Cloud Parks & Recreation Board, etc.);
- Establishing a site for the playground ( Wilson Regional Park);
- Naming the playground (“ Kaleidoscope: A Playground at Wilson Park”);
- Assessing community interest and garnering community support;
- Attending and speaking at community and municipal meetings
- Researching playground building companies and selecting a playground design.
- Creating a permanent donor board to honor our contributors
- Initial publicity, grant-writing, and fund-raising (including annual Fall and Spring Community Festivals).
Some of the tasks for upcoming classes include:
- Maintaining contacts/partnerships with community members, officials, agencies, etc.
- Planning/implementing annual Fall and Spring community-wide fundraising/publicity events
- Additional fund raising/grant writing for the specialized surface;
- Documenting project progress/process;
- Soliciting materials, funds, volunteers as needed.
Note: This is an extensive project which can not be completed in the time frame of one or two semesters. Rather, the project will continue over a number of semesters – with classes taking responsibility for portions of the project as it progresses. Additionally, some students continue their participation beyond the duration of the course.