Spring 2021

Active: 
yes

Environmental Justice and Salmon. The Columbia river flows through our region in physical and metaphorical ways. Present in the story of the river and the salmon that navigate it are social issues, history and conflict that continue to impact NW communities. Through a place-based, experiential approach we will engage this content. Over the course of the term we will spend the majority of our class time outside of the classroom near the river and at sites of cultural or geologic importance.

This fully online course is for students who are interested in creating and facilitating a community event. This Capstone partners with Portland Parks & Recreation Adaptive Inclusion Program. Each term, students will plan and facilitate a community event that has already been arranged with the community partner prior to the start of each term. You can expect the event to be during the last 2 weeks of the term (event date and time will be announced in the first week of classes). Students will be challenged to develop skills in: event planning, speaking, listening, building community relationships, and affecting social change. This course will not be addressing fundraising or grant writing as part of event planning. 

Grantwriting for Environmental Defense

Environmentalism is a philosophy and social movement (come call it a revolution) involving both protection and improvement of the health of our natural environment. Environmentalism is an attempt to achieve sustainability so that both humans and the Earth thrive without compromising future generations. The movement in this country is credited as starting with Rachel Carson and her extremely popular book Silent Spring published in 1962, when it fact it was spawned in 1945 with the return of soldiers from World War II and the creation of suburbs that caused issues with sewage, storm water runoff, nonpoint source pollution, and inefficient energy sources.

Nationally, approximately 1 in 6 children live in food insecure households. Recent reporting suggests that food insecurity rates for households with children have tripled since the onset of the pandemic.

Social Justice In K-12 ED Capstone

Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, the “achievement gap” has been at the forefront of discussions about school equity.  The public has been tuned into this so-called “achievement gap” alongside shocking high school dropout rates, lack of access to equitable early childhood education, public disinvestment in the education system, disparities in access to higher education, and more.   According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s 2012 State of America’s Children Report, the gaps (more accurately and truthfully described as opportunity, wealth, or access gaps) between high and low income students is 30-40% greater now than a generation ago.  This same report details that a lack of access to early childhood education can lead to 25% of at-risk youth dropping out and 60% never accessing higher education.  This study goes on to state that while 76% of high school students graduate within four years, only 2/3 of black and Latino students graduate within this same time frame (Children’s Defense Fund). 

Water Scarcity (online) 

 The project will work alongside  Water4 Foundations, a non-profit that is focused on water scarcity issues.  Students will address needs affecting the field of water scarcity.  Students may participate in the following service-learning:

Research cultural practices and country dynamics to assist NGOs transition into new markets;

      Research water technologies, benefits/drawbacks of each, identify best practices; and

      Survey water scarcity activities, map out industry trends, and conduct gap analysis. 

Older Americans have been witness to great social and political changes in the lives and acceptance of LGBT people in American society. As the Stonewall generation of boomers near their later life, is estimated that as many as 7 million older adults will identify as LGBT by 2030. These seniors face unique challenges in accessing the care and rights that enable them to age with dignity and stability. For many LGBT seniors, recent research has marked a disconcerting trend of going "back into the closet" for fear of intolerance and survival in senior housing, assistance and care facilities.

Racial Equity In Oregon

This Capstone partners with the Community Alliance of Tenants, Taking Ownership PDX and the Urban League. Students will learn the history of BIPOC communities in Oregon while working with our partners to fight racism, white supremacy and to create a different future for Oregon. Students in this course will learn how to write grants, work directly with organizations centering BIPOC homeowners and tenants and, if they choose, use their own skills and talents to support these organizations. All of this work can very easily be translated to working professionally in a nonprofit organization! A wide variety of project opportunities exist -- everything from scheduled shifts to projects that can be conducted on your own time and schedule.

Story, Portraits, and Civic Action

This online course explores how civic action, and the process of story finding and telling through the medium of digital portraiture, as inspired by Humans of New York, can effect change in our community. Each student is expected to volunteer thirty hours with a community organization of their choice over the duration of the term. Positions must be arranged before the term begins.

Over the course of the term, students will be expected to photograph and interview three to four people with whom they come in contact while volunteering at their respective sites. Students will submit a portfolio of their favorite portraits, paired with compelling excerpts of their interviews, as inspired by Brandon Stanton’s ongoing Humans of New York project. These will then be published on a course Instagram account, and made available to our community and the public at large. Not only will the project showcase the great spectrum of volunteer work and civic action that our students are participating in and contributing to, but importantly, this work will be humanized with particular stories, voices, and faces. 

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