The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter

Volume 5, Issue 5 – March/April 2009

The Periclean Progress is a publication of Project Pericles, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.

National Office Announcements

"D4D on the Road a Big Success": Project Pericles held 12 "D4D on the Road" workshops between September 26, 2008 and February 20, 2009 at 12 Periclean campuses. The final workshop was held at The New School on February 20 with students from Pace University and Wagner College joining students and faculty from The New School for a inter-campus program. More than 450 students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members from all 22 Periclean colleges and universities participated in a workshop.

"D4D on the Road" was a six-hour training workshop designed to provide novice and seasoned political activists with the tools and tactics they need to get their message across to elected officials and the media. Workshop participants learned how to analyze federal and state legislation, contact their elected officials, the news media, and other community activists, and get involved in the democratic process.

The workshops were led by Soapbox Consulting, a Washington, DC based organization headed by Christopher Kush, the author of The One-Hour Activist. Soapbox Consulting is a leading provider of training seminars, workshops, and lobby days for many national associations including the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Human Rights Campaign and others.

At the conclusion of the final workshop, students were asked for their comments on the workshop. One student from The New School said, "The workshop gives people the tools they need to be involved. People like me may have wanted to be involved in advocacy, but didn't know how. Now, I am certainly prepared."

Following each workshop, we asked people to contact us if they took "an action" (i.e. volunteer for a political campaign, write a letter to an elected official, etc.) related to what they learned at the workshop. Here is a list of some of the actions that people took.

  • A high school teacher who attended the Elon University workshop adapted the exercise where students learn how to write a letter to an elected official for students in her English class.
  • A student at Occidental College contacted her local television station after someone vandalized her apartment because she had a "No on Proposition 4" sign in her window. The local station, Fox 11, featured her story on its broadcast.
  • A student at Hendrix College wrote an article for the Hendrix newspaper about a tobacco tax bill.
  • A student from The New School called several newspapers and urged them to attend a social justice conference.
  • A student from Chatham University became an intern at the Pennsylvania League of Young Voters.
  • Students at Macalester College, Wagner College, and Bethune-Cookman University decided to volunteer for the Obama campaign.
  • A student at Bethune-Cookman University joined the LGBT group in Daytona Beach. She said that the workshop "gave her the confidence and preparation that she needed in order to join this group".
  • Students from Berea College discussed their proposal and campaign to end mountain top removal with students at Allegheny College, Chatham University, Occidental College, Pitzer College, Swarthmore College and Ursinus College. In March 2009, they organized a group of students to travel to Washington, DC for a week to meet with Members of Congress and the White House to urge them to support legislation that would end mountaintop removal coal mining.

Project Pericles would like to thank the Spencer Foundation for funding the workshops, the faculty and administrators who hosted a workshop, the staff of Soapbox Consulting, and the students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members who completed a workshop.

Periclean News

Dean Julie Barchitta Passes Away: Dean Julia M. "Julie" Barchitta passed away on February 22, 2009 following a long battle with cancer. Julie had been a member of the Wagner College family since enrolling as an undergraduate in 1960. "Julia represented the best of Wagner: high professional achievement, a welcoming and inclusive personality, and a wonderful sense of humor," said Wagner College President Richard Guarasci. Dean Barchitta played in key role in designing the Debating for Democracy (D4D) program at Project Pericles and was strong supporter of civic engagement programs at Wagner College. The Project Pericles staff sends our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues at Wagner College. A memorial service is scheduled in the Campus Hall Performing Center at Wagner College on April 24 at 10:00 am.

Wagner College Program Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle of Higher Education published a front-page story in its February, 27, 2009 issue on the Civic Innovations program at Wagner College. Civic Innovations, a strategic initiative, addresses needs of disadvantaged youth and is a collaboration between Wagner College and youth serving agencies on Staten Island. Civic Innovations promotes two program strategies: Community-Connected Departments (CCDs) and a Youth Advocacy Consortium (YAC). The model transforms college and community by implementing institutional and curricular changes that integrate service-learning pedagogy and civic engagement values, while utilizing college student and faculty expertise to enhance lives of disadvantaged youth. The model coordinates services and provides a means for community-based organizations to share resources and collaborate. A copy of the story can be viewed here.

Pericleans on Corporation for National Service Honor Roll: The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. The Honor Roll's Presidential Award, given each year to a handful of institutions, is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development. Honorees for the award were chosen based on factors including scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Overall, the Community Service Honor Roll awarded six schools with Presidential Awards. Eighty-three institutions were recognized as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. Four Periclean colleges and universities (Berea College, Elon University, Macalester College, and Wagner College) were on the Honor Roll With Distinction and seven Periclean colleges and universities (Bethune-Cookman University, Occidental College, Pace University, Pitzer College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Ursinus College, and Widener University) were on the Honor Roll.

Chatham University Develops Partnership to Promote Energy Efficiency: One of Chatham University's sustained partnerships is with Pittsburgh's Conservation Consultants Inc. (CCI). CCI is one of the 25 largest non-medical non-higher education non-profits in Pittsburgh with a mission to help homeowners improve energy efficiency from the individual to neighborhood levels. Students at Chatham have prepared educational materials for CCI programs and helped staff informational booths at the Pittsburgh home show. CCI's educational program is working with Chatham's children's programming at their new Eden Hall Farm campus to design age-appropriate nature education. These connections have been infused into Chatham's curriculum through environmental studies and general education core classes. These efforts are coordinated by the Chatham University Sustainability office and students in related courses.

Americorps Program Expands at Allegheny College: A collaborative project of Allegheny College, Edinboro University, Mercyhurst College and Gannon University, the Children and Youth AmeriCorps VISTA Project of Northwestern Pennsylvania was selected to represent Pennsylvania in VISTA's annual report this year."I was particularly honored that our project was selected to represent Pennsylvania because it's a testament to the hard work of our partnership schools over the past six years and especially of the initial work of Allegheny alumnae Rebecca Gebhart '03 and Rebekah Gayley '03, the two VISTAs who were the architects of the entire project," said David Roncolato, project director and director of community service and service learning at Allegheny.

The project addresses physical and mental health issues of children and youth in poverty and their families or households; offers assistance to parents with a focus on intergenerational programs; fosters communication and collaboration among different age groups; and enhances curricular and co-curricular education for children and youth in poverty.

Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes $201 million in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, agencies and organizations in Erie and Crawford counties will be able to host 28 AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) workers, about a third more this year than they hosted last year.

National Civic Engagement News

U.S. Senate Passes National Service Legislation: The U.S. Senate approved a bill on March 27, 2009 that would greatly expand federally sponsored volunteer programs. Known as the Serve America Act, the bill would triple the number of AmeriCorp volunteers to 250,000 and boost the educational stipend they receive to meet President Barack Obama's goal of teaming community service with tuition assistance. It creates new "corps" focused on health care, clean energy, education, and disaster response.

A coalition of over 190 organizations, including Project Pericles, put this issue on the national agenda and helped get this important legislation passed in the Senate. The House of Representatives previously approved the legislation, but will have to vote on it again because of several amendments. House leaders have said they will try to pass the bipartisan bill in early April and President Obama has promised to sign it. A March 27, 2009 editorial from the Wall Street Journal discussing the bill can be viewed here.

The Periclean Progress is issued each month during the academic year and is posted on the Project Pericles website.
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Periclean Colleges & Universities
Allegheny College • Bates College • Berea College • Bethune-Cookman University
Chatham University • Dillard University • Elon University • Hampshire College
Hendrix College • Macalester College • New England College • The New School
Occidental College • Pace University • Pitzer College • Rhodes College
St. Mary's College of Maryland • Spelman College • Swarthmore College
Ursinus College • Wagner College • Widener University

National Office
Executive Director: Jan R. Liss

Board of Directors
Chair: Eugene M. Lang

Presidents' Council
Chair: Brian Rosenberg, Macalester College

National Board of Advisors
Co-Chairs: Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker & Hon. Kurt L. Schmoke

The title "Project Pericles ®," and its embodiment in the Logo, are registered service marks of Project Pericles, Inc. All rights reserved.