Lessons on Civic Engagement and Diversity–Starting with THIS side of the fence

Posted November 27th, 2007 at 2:28 pm.

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Filed under: civic engagement,diversity by Vanessa Christman

One Response to “Lessons on Civic Engagement and Diversity–Starting with THIS side of the fence”

  1. Nell Anderson Says:

    I know that there is a sense that off-campus community involvement through Praxis courses or volunteer activities helps students to learn about diversity and develop multicultural competencies…but I would like to propose that such learning should start in our own community. Perhaps it is easier to be aware of and open to difference in an off-campus community. It may be that some of that ease comes from the “helper” role that often goes along with volunteering. Are we more comfortable “helping” people who are different than us than just getting to know and working with our “different” peers, teammates, colleagues, classmates, staff and professors?

    I hear students talk about the transformative experiences that they have in their off campus involvements and I don’t doubt that they are very powerful. Still, I think that dealing with diversity and difference on our own turf has the potential to even more powerfully transformative.

    Recently, I heard a panel presentation by staff and student participants in the Empowering Learners Program and was so impressed with the community-building power of this program. I would love to hear from other people about experiences with community-building and diversity-learning on this “side of the fence.”