Indivisible Northwestern works with undergraduates on civic engagement


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

A collaboration between Indivisible Northwestern and SESP’s Civic Engagement Certificate program hopes to teach undergraduate students civic engagement and activism.

Indivisible Northwestern is partnering with undergraduate students seeking the School of Education and Social Policy’s Certificate of Civic Engagement to encourage more students to become civically engaged in their communities.

The INU is part of Indivisible, a popular national progressive movement. The NU Chapter was created by NU Ph.D. students during the COVID-19 pandemic following the 2020 presidential election. Led by SESP Professor Matt Easterday, the INU partnership with the Civic Engagement Seminar involves to work with undergraduates on various civic projects intended to teach specific steps for working as a student activist both inside and outside the classroom.

There are five groups – DefaultVeg, two American Rescue Plan Act teams, Get Out The Vote, and an events team – all dedicated to connecting and promoting social change at NU and Evanston. INU Co-Chair Kristine Lu said the organization is partnering with the Civic Engagement Certificate program to give students better access to real-world research and campaigns.

“We tried to think (of) how we can improve civic engagement education in innovative ways so that you not only learn these things in the classroom, but actually talk to members of the Evanston community. and members of the city council, ”Lu said.

Lily Ng, Weinberg’s certificate-seeking sophomore student, is focused on interviews with residents of Evanston about the city’s COVID-19 relief fund. The group emphasizes speaking with members of the community who are not normally civically engaged for reasons such as historical mistrust of government.

Ng said working with the INU has broadened his understanding of civic engagement.

“We are learning the theory and different strategies on how to engage people, but it seems a little different from what I was used to,” Ng said.

The INU is focused on building momentum and interest in the Evanston community for a participatory budgeting campaign. The group organizes events for students to practice writing policy, canvassing, and speaking directly with community members.

Projects like the campaign allow students to reflect on civic issues that interest them and explore their skills through hands-on experience, according to Lu.

The undergraduates focused on their own projects and met the INU during the last term. Students will use their knowledge outside of the classroom this term to attend and facilitate some of the INU meetings.

“It gives them a way to practice organizing and mobilizing skills that you really wouldn’t have to do unless you’ve been in an organization for several years or are building from scratch,” Easterday said. .

According to Lu and Co-Chair Gus Umbelino, INU’s mission is to develop civic leaders and serve as a learning environment where students can access action-oriented opportunities.

Although there is already an Indivisible chapter in Evanston, Lu said the INU believes other political groups on campus and in the community have yet to address civic skills education and how to grow up. as student activists.

“Sometimes there is a gap between practice and research, and we really try to close the gap as much as possible,” Umbelion said. “We want to be part of a group to make a change ourselves.”

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @ charlotteche03

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