Community Involvement Project

There are many opportunities to take action to address the climate crisis on our campus and/or in our community. Mitigation, adaptation, and political activism are all areas for possible involvement.

1) Your project needs to have a clear and direct relationship to the climate crisis. Participating in a neighborhood cleanup or volunteering at a food bank are wonderful things to do - but they do not meet the assignment.

2)  Your project needs to connect and engage you with groups working on the climate crisis - this is community not an individual project.

Show that you can get away from your desk, step beyond your comfort zone, make connections in the real world!     

Your community involvement can take many forms, some examples:

Attending, organizing, or leading events on campus or in the community, related speakers, presentations, films, pubic conversations, book groups, etc. Previous students in my classes have organized "teach-ins," shown climate related films, set up informational tables, held poetry or literature reading events, led public book discussion groups, participated in marches, protested on campus and downtown, spoken at climate rallies, helped organize Earth Day, etc.

Attending, participating with, or helping to organize university and/or local climate change oriented groups such Sunrise, Fridays for the Future, the Sierra Club, Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, etc. The Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition is a great resource for finding activities and organizations.

Kalamazoo is already home to people fleeing climate disasters, both internally displaced Americans as well as international refugees, both documented and undocumented. Indeed, Kalamazoo is expecting a sudden influx of refugees from Afghanistan fleeing from a civil war, like many other conflicts in the world, one with climate dimensions. Interviewing people working with refugees or refugees themselves, volunteering to help refugees, collaborating with organizations serving refugees - any of these would be good examples of community involvement related to the climate crisis. The Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative is a resource.

Become engaegd with efforts on campus. The WMU Sustainability Office (funded by student fees) has many student-led activities related to the climate emergency. There is a long time RSO (registered student organization) called Students for a Sustainable Earth - find this organization, attend their meetings or events, become involved.WMU has a Carbon Neutrality Committee - find out what they are doing, attend a meeting, find ways to support their efforts. WMU has taken some actions toward divestment from fossil fuels - learn more about those efforts and work with other students to strengthen them.

Undertake political action on the climate crisis. Volunteer for a political candidate with a good climate platform. Kalamazoo has a climate action plan - learn about the plan and find ways to becomve involved. The governor of Michigan has created the Michigan Climate Council - find out what they are doing, interview members, become involved. At the national level there are many initiatives and groups, including the Green New Deal and the Citizen's Climate Lobby. Learn, educate others, find ways to take action.

Other ideas that individuals or groups of student from the class come up with - run ideas by me.

To complete this assignment, you are expected to 1) be involved for 3-5 hours or more, 2) as soon as you have completed 3-5 hours, write a summary report on your experience and what you learned, and 3) email your summary to the professor and the whole class. Last date to send report: Dec 8.

Created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
Revised Date: 9/21