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

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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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2015-05

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

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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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2016-05

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Youth are the Present: An Analysis on the Different Experiences of Youth Climate Activists and Organizers in Arizona

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The goal of this paper is to serve as a case-study of the youth climate movement at the local level, focusing on how young activists and organizers in Arizona perceive their pathways, motivators, and barriers in the climate movement. In

The goal of this paper is to serve as a case-study of the youth climate movement at the local level, focusing on how young activists and organizers in Arizona perceive their pathways, motivators, and barriers in the climate movement. In order to answer my research question of ‘What are the different experiences of Arizona youth activists’ involvement in climate action?’, I conducted a case-study of 15 interviews with participants between the ages of 18-25 that varied in racial and gender identity, as well as the duration of their involvement. While this paper does not present a comprehensive view of all experiences of youth climate activists and organizers in Arizona, these interviews highlight the upbringing, background, and the degree of involvement of young climate organizers and activists, ultimately revealing their similar yet unique experiences in the climate movement. Even though further research, discussion, and opportunities are needed to better understand the youth climate movement as well as other emerging social movements, these participants represent the heart of the movement here in Arizona. This case-study sheds light on lived-experiences and urges readers to consider young climate activists and organizers’ varying perspectives on how to support, amplify, and implement their requests for a livable, intersectional, diverse, and inclusive future.

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2020-12

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Medical Masks and Ballot Marks Analyzing the Relationship Between Social Networks and Civic Engagement in a Pandemic Setting

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This study attempts to answer the following questions: Is civic engagement a social activity among 18-25-year-old college students? How are opinions regarding civic and political engagement impacted by social settings? How are civic and political engagement atmospheres impacted by social

This study attempts to answer the following questions: Is civic engagement a social activity among 18-25-year-old college students? How are opinions regarding civic and political engagement impacted by social settings? How are civic and political engagement atmospheres impacted by social distancing and isolation protocol? In this study, the researcher hypothesized that civic and political engagement are social activities, so they are therefore susceptible to changing social context. Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted typical social interaction through social distancing and isolation protocol, the researcher hypothesized that it also altered mechanisms of civic and political engagement. Political engagement would be more prevalent among students who participate with others even in pandemic conditions that may otherwise decrease close contact and social interactions. These findings seem to disagree with the literature that suggests young people are supplanting voting with other forms of engagement (Zukin et al., 2006). Rather, the “complexity” denoted in interviews and in reports of engagements on the pre- and post-election surveys suggests that young people are voting as well as dedicating their time to other activities. Voting does seem to be a social activity according to the interviews, poll observations, and the surveys. This is consistent with the literature regarding social norms and group predictors. However, this social aspect of engagement seems to manifest in a wider variety of formats that originally thought. Finally, students continued to engage in the context of the pandemic that surrounded the election in question. It seems that the formats through which students engaged have expanded to maintain the connections that are crucial to civic participation.

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2021-05