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Social Capital and Civic Engagement at the Collegiate Level

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Levels of civic engagement among young adults has been an increasing concern for social scientists. Young adults are showing lower amounts of civic engagement than in the past, and this has translated into a concern for the democratic process in

Levels of civic engagement among young adults has been an increasing concern for social scientists. Young adults are showing lower amounts of civic engagement than in the past, and this has translated into a concern for the democratic process in the United States. This thesis looks to analyze the national downward trend of civic engagement at the collegiate level, specifically at Arizona State University. To make this 71,000-student community more manageable, this analysis will specifically look at one community within Arizona State: Fraternity and Sorority Life. The different groups within Fraternity and Sorority Life at Arizona State University provide an all-encompassing view of civic engagement through participation in various activities and events. An annual report published by the office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will show the effect of the number of educational programs, number of charitable donations, and amount of outside campus involvement has on civic engagement. Looking at pieces of work like Putnam’s Bowling Alone and Hero’s Racial Diversity and Social Capital, this thesis analyzes the associations of these organizations and how that translates into civic engagement and social capital. In addition, we subsequently question Putnam’s analysis, and attempt to apply these critiques to Arizona State University’s collegiate community. This thesis looks at the impact of historically cultural vs historically social groups. The results of this study show that the historically cultural groups are demonstrating higher levels of civic engagement based on their horizontal associations. This information can be used to better understand young adult’s impact on their surrounding community, as well as how the makeup and functioning of groups can influence levels of social capital and civic engagement.

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2019-05

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My Academic Community Engaged Learning Design: Promoting Equitable Civic Engagement

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College students are motivated, passionate, and knowledgeable individuals who lack opportunities and the appropriate first-hand experience to get involved in their local community. I used an Academic Community Engaged Learning (ACEL) approach to build student self- efficacy to engage with

College students are motivated, passionate, and knowledgeable individuals who lack opportunities and the appropriate first-hand experience to get involved in their local community. I used an Academic Community Engaged Learning (ACEL) approach to build student self- efficacy to engage with their community. I created a formal curriculum that teaches students the basics of community development and encourages students to consider their role and impact in the community. I organized a community project with a local elementary school to create a kindness mural that would give students an opportunity to experience community engagement, thereby facilitating deeper comprehension of the material. I find that ACEL can be a valuable tool in harnessing college students by using their motivation and passion to facilitate a collaborative process.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Arizona Civic Education: A Plan to Strengthen Engagement Beyond the Classroom

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This thesis explores the current standards and the progress being made for civic education in the state of Arizona. To develop a new model, it draws on the programs offered to students in the community of Camden, NJ by the

This thesis explores the current standards and the progress being made for civic education in the state of Arizona. To develop a new model, it draws on the programs offered to students in the community of Camden, NJ by the thriving civics department at Rutgers University. Motivated by the current lack of civic resources in Arizona high schools, this research seeks out a practical, community-centered approach to improving the civic education standards. Arizona was one of the first states to make civic education a priority by passing the American Civics Act, but there is still a long way to go to create civically engaged classrooms for students. The proposed plan combines citizenship pedagogy with direct service opportunities, mentorship, and community projects to help students become engaged in their local communities.

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2020-05

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Situating Millennials' Political Attitudes and Low Electoral Participation: An Analysis of Young Americans' Civic Engagement and Voter Turnout

Description

Millennials turn out to vote at significantly lower rates than the rest of the population, sparking commentary on their apathy and lack of contributions to American society. This thesis attempts to paint an accurate description of why these trends have

Millennials turn out to vote at significantly lower rates than the rest of the population, sparking commentary on their apathy and lack of contributions to American society. This thesis attempts to paint an accurate description of why these trends have persisted in the past, and finds that there are many complex reasons that serve as explanations. Many of these reasons can be explained by an analysis of Millennials' characteristics and political attitudes, which research has found includes a prioritization of achievement and Independent political ideologies. Additionally, by differentiating between civic engagement and political engagement, data and research find that Millennials choose forms of civic participation over political participation as an active choice and alternative avenue for electoral participation. Ultimately, Millennials are disillusioned with the politically polarized landscape and are unable to navigate the saturated information environment to make confident voting decisions. The rest of the thesis explores organizations, campaigns, and potential reforms that attempt to turn out Millennials. A thorough evaluation of campaigns' and nonpartisan organizations' efforts reveal the best practices for reaching Millennials, which include prioritizing substantive policy discussions, implementing grassroots and bottom-up organizational strategies, and avoiding flashiness and pandering. Another clear area for potential reform is civic education, which is currently not prioritized in the public education system. Some education reforms that would be particularly effective at reversing these negative trends include allowing for political debate within the classroom, teaching civics through more vibrant and hands-on curriculum and directly highlighting and perpetuating the importance of voting in the classroom. This thesis evaluates these and many other potential policy reforms that will encourage Millennials' political engagement as they further enter into adulthood.

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Date Created
2017-05

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"Moving Forward: Developing our Community Today, for Tomorrow"

Description

Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as

Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as community building and development. Because of the former definition many members of our society have a tendency to not embrace the full potential of their community roles. It is always about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat, who looks better, or who has a better name. Now it must be noted that this is not in absolute, not all members of our society work in this thought process, but many still do. If that doesn't come as a surprise to you, then the simplicity of how you can be an engaged member will. As a student attending Arizona State University at the West campus in Phoenix, Arizona, I have chosen to challenge the traditional view of civic engagement and prepare this development plan for the campus community. Having done so, I not only discovered the paths that one can take to be engaged in such matters, but also continued my role as a civil servant.

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Date Created
2015-05

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By the (Young) People: Youth Participatory Budgeting in Cluj-Napoca

Description

As a democratic innovation involving deliberation and decision making, participatory budgeting (PB) often catalyzes powerful changes among individual participants and within their respective communities. Certain models of PB designate autonomous spaces for young people to determine how to spend a

As a democratic innovation involving deliberation and decision making, participatory budgeting (PB) often catalyzes powerful changes among individual participants and within their respective communities. Certain models of PB designate autonomous spaces for young people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget, typically that of a municipality or school. These processes of youth PB may address recent trends in the underrepresentation of youth in civic spaces. Following the initial launch of youth participatory budgeting (youth PB) in Cluj (Romania), I spent three weeks in Cluj conducting 45 semi-structured interviews with youth PB participants and one focus group with youth PB facilitators. This thesis explores two areas: (a) the main dynamics of the online Cluj youth PB process (team development and organization, themes of projects proposed and their intended impacts, and inclusion throughout the process) and (b) impact of youth PB on participants (participant learning, change, and empowerment). Main findings suggest that organized groups with ongoing projects dominated the youth PB process and that a majority of projects aspired to impact either all residents of Cluj or a specific youth group (e.g. young artists, young engineers), while very few projects intended to impact young people in Cluj broadly. More than 85% of participants reported feeling empowered by involvement in youth PB. Some differences in learning and change were found by gender, ethnicity, and age. Key recommendations for future iterations of this process include establishing deliberation between teams, encouraging informal group development, restructuring the voting process, and enhancing inclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Click to Connect: The Internet's Influence on the Employment of Civic Republicanism through Online Political Engagement

Description

There exists a strong correlation between successful democratic governance and citizen participation. Pulling this sense of civic engagement to the furthest end of the spectrum, author and political theorist Benjamin Barber expresses the benefits of citizen independence and self-governance though

There exists a strong correlation between successful democratic governance and citizen participation. Pulling this sense of civic engagement to the furthest end of the spectrum, author and political theorist Benjamin Barber expresses the benefits of citizen independence and self-governance though political deliberation in a variety of texts, one of which being Strong Democracy. While the United States currently operates on a "democratic" base, the overall lack of political efficacy undermines democratic effectiveness. Benjamin Barber outlines a series of solutions and employment strategies in order to increase efficacy and bolster civic engagement and bring about a culture of self-legislation, but in his analysis seems to overlook the collaborative capacity of the Internet, more specifically social media outlets and blogs. This study will examine the use of the Internet in various political manners, to observe if the presence of platforms such as social networks and blogs are facilitating or hindering the push towards a more civic-republican political structure. While research has displayed that the numbers on political internet-usage are consistently increasing, it is evident that not all forms of online-engagement are beneficial towards Barber's Civic Republican ideals, and may serve to strengthen the current unsound system. Through this study, I argue that certain methods of political activity over the Internet may work to support the collaborative democratic culture, and increase a sense of Civic Republicanism through political creativity, deliberation and online-action. If we are to one day achieve the goal of recovering a true sense of cooperative democracy, these forms of participation may play a significant role in the struggle for change, and must be facilitated through both civic education and the cooperation of elites. If this Internet-mediated political deliberation continues to develop, I believe that it has the capacity to act as a significant catalyst towards Barber's Civic Republican ideals and an overall shift in the political culture.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Manifesto Project

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A nonprofit organization / grassroots movement capturing the voice of a generation of young Arizonans

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Created

Date Created
2014-05

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Democratic Deliberation: A Handbook

Description

This paper elaborates on the considerations of organizing a democratic deliberation. It addresses issues of topic, length, defining consensus, and how to effectively translate deliberative theory into a concrete, results-producing event. The paper presents this information in the context of

This paper elaborates on the considerations of organizing a democratic deliberation. It addresses issues of topic, length, defining consensus, and how to effectively translate deliberative theory into a concrete, results-producing event. The paper presents this information in the context of the body of academic work on deliberation plus the author's own experience organizing two successful deliberative events.

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Date Created
2013-05

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Historical Perspectives on the Contemporary Application of American Civics

Description

In recent years, it has become evident that American civic literacy is in a sharp decline. Many scholars agree that young adults are becoming increasingly less engaged in activities involving the application of civics and that this may hinder the

In recent years, it has become evident that American civic literacy is in a sharp decline. Many scholars agree that young adults are becoming increasingly less engaged in activities involving the application of civics and that this may hinder the democratic process. This thesis will focus on how historical perspectives can improve contemporary application of civics in order to solve the civic literacy crisis. The report will evaluate different approaches to improving civic engagement in order to gauge their effectiveness and the potential for their use in the United States. In analyzing the decline, we will look at work from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) like A Crisis in Civic Education and A Crucible Moment. Subsequently, we will provide a review of Megan McClure’s Tackling the American Civics Education Crisis and Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. We will present historical perspectives from the 19th and 20th century such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexis De Tocqueville and John Dewey in order to apply them to contemporary solutions for the decline. The contemporary perspectives of Harvard scholar Danielle Allen and various professors in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL) at Arizona State University will be analyzed and critiqued. The results of our research prove that historical perspectives, when applied to contemporary solutions, are an effective way to bout the civic engagement crisis in the United States. This information can be used to alter the curriculum in the classroom to encourage and prepare students to become civically literate and engaged in order to protect the democratic process.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05