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2017 Awards

Michelle Berger – Women’s and Gender Studies

A New Body Politics: Contemplative Practices and Social Justice

The work of Gloria Anzaldúa, AnaLouise Keating, Leela Fernandes, Becky Thompson and Layli Maparyan over the past two decades have raised interest in a broad set of contemplative practices that can address suffering and social justice issues in feminist teaching, research and activism. What role does contemplative practices and spiritual activism play in efforts for social justice and social change? What might practices of social transformation look like when rooted in love and compassion? This course explores these questions among others, and examines the role of contemplative practices and spirituality for individuals and collectivities engaged in transformative social justice work.

Amy Thomas – Public Health Leadership Program

Service-Learning with Vulnerable U.S. Populations

PUBH 805 is an interdisciplinary course that utilizes teams of communications/journalism/anthropology students and public health students to address challenges in work with vulnerable populations in North Carolina. Each semester, one community agency will be selected who will provide project ideas for work needed in their community, especially focused on communicating health data, programs and issues, but also on reaching specific and general community audiences. Students will work in small, interdisciplinary teams throughout the semester to address the challenge and propose culturally relevant, practical and community-focused solutions.

Colin West – Anthropology

Food, Environment and Sustainability

This APPLES project will modify the existing Anth/ENEC 237 Food, Environment and Sustainability course into a service-learning course for up to ten students. Students enrolled in the Environmental Studies (ENEC 237) section will engage in 30 hours per semester of volunteer service to Edible Campus UNC. This includes outreach to the wider campus community, the development of an Edible Plants Guide and the design of two beds featuring edible plants native to the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Current course content will be redesigned to align more closely with the mission and everyday activities of Edible Campus UNC to integrate academic and garden-specific themes.

Rachel Willis – American Studies

Rising Waters

“Rising Waters” examines how the threat of water to port cities from issues such as sea-level rise, watershed flooding, extreme weather and inadequate infrastructure, challenges coastal communities worldwide. There will be a focus on the Americas and small island developing states, but the global impact of sea-level rise and potential responses will be examined. In particular, solutions in the Netherlands, where they have been “fighting water” for over 2000 years will be examined and adapted for NC communities. Their strategy has moved from engineering solutions to engineering with nature strategies as sea-level rise threatens the Dutch landscape and has resulted in numerous “smart city” strategies employed to increase resilience.  In sum, we will see how vulnerable areas around the world can benefit from better planning and more adaptable infrastructure and hope to offer some of those lessons to community partners in coastal communities in NC.

Lynn Marshele Carter – Media and Journalism

Cause Communications: Public Relations Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

The proposed new course, “Cause Communications: Public Relations Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations,” and its service-learning component are focused on raising awareness of local societal needs and issues and building effective communication strategy, in the classroom and in the field, for addressing community concerns and causes. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of public relations in the nonprofit realm and to offer students a meaningful service-learning experience through which they can demonstrate and share the course concepts with community partners. The course will introduce students to the essential skills and core responsibilities of practicing public relations for the public good, and simultaneously equip them to provide practical help to local nonprofit organizations in a culminating, student-coordinated, community educational event.