Students can actively engage in issues around the world with a new
Activism and civic engagement are nothing new to students around the world but especially for those at Winthrop. Organized protests and multiple engagement opportunities for students on campus — such as the Tillman sit-in last year and the police rally earlier this fall — allows them to express their beliefs in a peaceful and civilized manner. These events have become common occurrences on the diverse campus.
The Center for Civic Learning introduced its newest minor, civic and public engagement, to Winthrop. Students now have the opportunity to select a minor that will help them better understand how to actively and correctly engage in societal issues.
Ginger Williams — professor of history and director of the peace and conflict resolution studies and the individualized studies programs — is in charge of helping students interested in the minor to better understand their place in combating social injustices and help them better prepare for future problems they may encounter.
“The program consists of courses with an experiential component, courses in government, law, and leadership studies, sociology and courses about social movements,” Williams said.
The minor will allow students to gain experience serving their community not only during their time at Winthrop, but it will also prepare them for the workforce and real-world situations after graduation.
“It’s a great fit for someone who would like to serve on community or nonprofit boards upon graduation,” Williams said.
The minor will allow people who have an interest in working with the community around them to continue their passion both on and off campus.
Last year, Winthrop hosted many events and protests that students organized. Some major events that changed the way students and faculty looked at civic engagement included the die-in hosted in the Digiorgio Campus Center and the protests at Tillman Hall.
These events reflect the various issues that students are willing to engage in and the rights they strive to defend.
Last year’s Die-in protest took place because students felt it was important to combat and address the issue of police brutality and shootings of the African-American community.
The Tillman protests were in response to the building’s controversial namesake — a historically important but widely-known racist and white supremacist. Protests occurred in hopes of changing the building’s name but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Williams believes that “it is vitally important that students become involved with the issues that are important to them.”
Students are becoming more involved with issues that concern them directly, but the rights and issues plaguing others are also becoming a part of their messages. The right to peacefully protest is a right that all American citizens are entitled to.
According to Williams, it is everyone’s right to engage in the issues they believe are important, and it is also Williams’ strong belief that students must engage themselves in these issues.
“When we understand our common humanity, we realize that the mistreatment of refugees does affect us; when we understand our common humanity, we understand why Black Lives Matter and why the police brutalization of one African-American affects us all,” Williams said.
The more involved students are with movements happening around them, the more they will become aware of the severity of these issues. Students will be able to accomplish this and much more with the new civic and public engagement minor.
If students have any questions about the minor or public engagement, they can contact Ginger Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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