Civic engagement at WashU this fall: We’re here when you’re ready

Dear students, Like you, we have been anticipating plans for WashU’s fall semester for many months. Collectively, we now have far more information, and much more to digest. Your health, safety, and well-being are our greatest concerns, and we know that each of you will be making careful and challenging decisions about your fall plans. However you decide […]

Designing Meaningful Lives and More Equitable Futures

“Designing a Meaningful Life” is a new course that guides WashU students in thinking about how to apply a creative approach to designing their own lives. One of the course’s guests and collaborators was Hilary Sedovic, LMSW, Learning & Education Manager at Creative Reaction Lab. In the article below, learn about the course; Hilary’s role as […]

2020 Goldman Fellows Invest in St. Louis While Building Virtual Community

The Goldman Fellows Program, funded by the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation, is a competitive fellowship that provides $5,000 summer stipends for undergraduate students who secure unpaid internships at nonprofit, community, or governmental organizations in the St. Louis region. Fellows are supported by a network of peers and staff as they embark on their own […]

Reminder to Register and Vote in Upcoming Primaries

Primary elections are taking place across the country, and we encourage all eligible voters to check your local Board of Elections website for upcoming dates and polling information. To update your voter registration or register to vote in any state, click here. For Missouri voters, there will be a primary election on August 4. This […]

Intentional Integration in a Time of Social Distancing

Recently, my husband Lionell, daughter Essence, and I went for a walk in our Shaw neighborhood to get some fresh air and stretch after several days of primarily being indoors. As we navigated our chosen route, we all noticed how many more people were out with babies in strollers, clumsy toddlers, preoccupied teens, friendly and […]

Sustainability Exchange Retreat Invites Students to Dig Deeper as They Collaborate with Community

The Sustainability Exchange is a unique Community Engaged Course that invites interdisciplinary teams of students to tackle real-world energy, environmental, and sustainability problems through an experiential form of education. Guided by a team of faculty advisors from across the university, students collaborate on projects with partners on- or off-campus to explore problems requiring innovative methods […]

Stay Engaged While Practicing Social Distancing!

In the era of COVID-19, it’s as important as ever that we consider our responsibilities to each other and to our communities, both local and global. In lieu of our usual weekly newsletter outlining in-person opportunities for civic and community engagement, we published a special edition that focuses on ways to support one another and […]

Ying Ma on Why the Census Matters

Ying Ma is an international Master of Social Work student at Washington University’s Brown School with a concentration in Older Adults and Aging Societies. Currently, she is completing a practicum with the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, where her work revolves around the 2020 U.S. Census. Before starting at Washington University, Ying was […]

Spotlight on WashU Votes

The WashU Votes logo has become a familiar symbol on campus, proudly displayed on laptop stickers, t-shirts, buttons, and signs. This simple phrase has come to represent a key component of the Gephardt Institute’s work and Washington University’s commitment to civic engagement. WashU Votes is a student-driven voter engagement effort. It includes professional and student […]

Civic Engagement Fund: Fall 2019 Recipients

The Gephardt Institute’s Civic Engagement Fund supports WashU students, faculty, and staff working to strengthen the fabric of their communities. Grantees collaborate with community partners to develop initiatives and Community Engaged Courses that catalyze positive change and student learning. The institute offers four grant categories that support different kinds of community engagement: Course Development Grants, Grants for St. […]

Philanthropy Lab Course Funds Five Local Nonprofits 

From what I understand, this course was commendable in the way it encouraged students to view philanthropy through an anti-racist, justice-focused lens. Students learned best practices for supporting both direct services and systemic change, for supporting general operating rather than niche ‘feel-good’ projects, and for developing a collaborative relationship with funded organizations. These practices could […]

Getting 100 Teens to Say YES

The almost universal question shared by parents, youth organizations, and community leaders is how to get the attention of youth and engage them on issues of public concern at an early age. The need to focus our intentions is elevated through the recent examples of youth protests for action on climate change, gun control, and […]

Facilitation Workshop Fosters Campus-Community Partnerships

In October of 2019, the Gephardt Institute collaborated with the Center for Community Health Partnership and Research at the Institute for Public Health, the Office for Socially Engaged Practice at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and University of Missouri Extension to hold an introductory workshop on group facilitation for campus and […]

Colleen Watermon Joins Gephardt Institute as Director of Development

A native Saint Louisan, Colleen Watermon is thrilled to be working intimately with her community as she joins the Gephardt Institute as Director of Development. In this position, she works closely with Peter G. Sortino Director Stephanie Kurtzman and other institute staff, University Advancement, and the broader Washington University community of alumni, parents, and friends […]

Kunsang Lama Shares About Sustainability Path at WashU Engage Event

In October, alumni, students, family, and friends joined the WashU Engage Chicago Network for a sustainability panel discussion featuring Kunsang Lama, class of 2021, Phil Valko, AB ’03, Chris Wheat, AB ’03, and Kady McFadden, AB ’10. Raised in Prok Nubri, a remote village situated in the Himalayas of Nepal, Kunsang expressed how the environment […]

Working Toward Health Equity in St. Louis: Jamaa Birth Village and Casa de Salud Partner with the Goldman Fellows Program

Even a cursory glance at a map of the hospitals in St. Louis quickly reveals the uneven access to healthcare in the region, divided along longstanding, historically rooted lines of class, race, ethnicity, and geography. The World Health Organization defines health equity as the idea that “everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health […]

From Theory to Practice: Professor Amy Cislo Discusses Community Engaged Teaching in Course on Feminist & Queer Youth Studies

Students at Washington University engage in intense study of theoretical concepts and models. They read and discuss the foremost scholars in their field and learn to articulate their own opinions on issues, but the question often remains, how does theory apply to real life? Professor Amy Cislo‘s course on Feminist and Queer Youth Studies (L77 […]

Community Mural Mobilizes Support for Dunbar Elementary School

“Our community is unique, and if Dunbar closes, it would be a significant loss for all of us.” Carla Alexander, co-director, Tillie’s Corner, Inc. Dunbar Elementary School is a historic institution of St. Louis’ Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood and is currently at risk of closure due to low enrollment. The school is within walking distance to Vashon […]

Each One Teach One’s Enrichment Event Addresses Trauma-Informed Teaching in St. Louis

The Gephardt Institute’s Each One Teach One program is most commonly known as the university’s signature tutoring initiative, working with 80 WashU students to serve over 70 local 1st-3rd graders. The mission of Each One Teach One as part of the institute’s K-12 & Youth Initiatives extends beyond weekly tutoring at KIPP: Victory Academy. The program also seeks […]

All Politics is Local: Public Service Fellows Working in City Departments Share Learning and Advice

Last summer, the Gephardt Institute introduced the four outstanding members of the 2019-2020 Public Service Fellows cohort (read the story here). Abbie Teurbe-Tolon, Madisen Janssen, Kyah Bridges, and Zach Kassman began their 10-month tenure as fellows by serving as generalists in the St. Louis City mayor’s office, working on a variety of tasks as they began to […]

Civil Rights, Community Justice, & Mediation Clinic – St. Louis Mediation Project

Karen Tokarz is the Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Policy and Director of the Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic at WashU’s School of Law. Professor Tokarz received a Course Development Grant through the Gephardt Institute’s Civic Engagement Fund to further develop, evaluate, and operate the St. Louis Mediation Project, a core […]

Community Service Roundtable Connects Student Leaders to Problem-Solve Together

One of the central, guiding goals of the Gephardt Institute is to “infuse civic engagement throughout the Washington University experience.” Lifelong civic engagement is a process that happens as students progress through their education, and the institute seeks to provide support at each juncture in students’ civic development. In addition to offering a broad introduction […]

Gephardt Institute Welcomes New Student Staff Members

This fall, the Gephardt Institute welcomed 14 new student staff members to the team. The institute employs a range of student staff including undergraduate coordinators, graduate assistants, and master’s research fellows who fulfill essential roles and benefit from professional and personal development. Student staff members play a crucial role in the Gephardt Institute, bringing energy, […]

Alumnus Ian Lever Discusses Corporate Citizenship at Accenture

On September 18, the Gephardt Institute welcomed Ian Lever, BSBA ’16, for a special Meet the Leader event. Launched in 2018, the Meet the Leader series features a range of local and national civic leaders who offer insights to students as they navigate into their lives as civically engaged alumni. Ian is a former Goldman […]

WashU Student Voting Rate Spikes in Midterm Elections

Voter turnout among Washington University in St. Louis students leaped to 41.8% in the 2018 midterm elections, more than double the 2014 midterm voting rate of 15.9%, according to a national study of campus voting rates by Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education. The study is based on the voting records of more than […]

A Structure for Change: The Role of Evaluation, Assessment, and Research at the Gephardt Institute

Dr. Jillian Martin, PhD, often states that every number has a story, and every story has a number. A component of her role as Assistant Director for Strategy and Evaluation is collecting and interpreting the stories and numbers produced at the Gephardt Institute. Jillian leads the evaluation, assessment, strategic development, and organizational learning activities for […]

Genesis Steele Joins the Gephardt Institute as Coordinator for Civic Engagement Programs

From providing advice and a safe haven to first generation college students to salsa dancing on Friday nights, Genesis Steele approaches everything she does with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. Genesis joins the Gephardt Institute as Coordinator for Civic Engagement Programs, providing programmatic and administrative support to the Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Education […]

Coming Home to St. Louis: Engage STL Facilitates Learning for 345 First-Year Students

On August 17, 1,736 first-year students arrived to campus weighted down with bags and boxes, nerves and excitement charging the air. Undoubtedly, many wondered about this new place how would they find community and make this campus and city their home. Engage STL, in its inaugural year, attempted to provide support in grappling with questions […]

Building Community Across Difference through the Arts

It was a warm September evening backlit by pink, blue, and gray. As the sun began to set, hundreds gathered at the corner of Page and Ferguson Avenues to watch “Love at the River’s Edge,” a new play adapted from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” to include the stories of the North St. Louis County […]

Faculty and Librarians Participate in New Information Literacy Learning Community

Why is Wikipedia unreliable? What do you mean by “This source is biased?” How do I know if this data is skewed? Can’t I just Google it? Seema Dahlheimer regularly encounters these sorts of questions in her Technical Writing course. Seema is the Assistant Director of the Engineering Communication Center and a Senior Lecturer in […]

Making Dreams Reality on the Bridge from Research to Practice

In the article below, guest writer Dr. Saras Chung highlights her work to create two-way bridges between researchers and practitioners who can co-design system-level strategies to enhance educational equity in St. Louis. Dr. Chung is Executive Director of SkipNV and a Faculty Affiliate for the Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St. Louis’ […]

Philanthropy Lab: Learning to Give

What is philanthropy? Why do people give? How do we know we are making a difference with our funding? These are just a few of the questions students will consider in Philanthropy Lab, a new sociology course offered this fall in partnership with the Gephardt Institute. Philanthropy Lab aims to give students a theoretical and […]

Announcing 2019 Goldman Fellows

Congratulations to the 2019 Goldman Fellows! The Goldman Fellows Program, funded by the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation, is a competitive fellowship that provides $5,000 summer stipends for continuing undergraduate students who secure unpaid internships at nonprofit, community, or governmental organizations in the St. Louis region. Fellows are supported by a network of peers and […]

Public Service Fellows Building Awareness of Regional Issues

The Gephardt Institute’s Public Service Fellows program, a partnership with the Brown School, prepares social work and public health graduate students with a commitment to deepening their knowledge and skills for public service in local government. The program includes leadership training, mentorship, experiential learning opportunities, and field work. Fellows learn in a supportive cohort structure […]

Dan Chai, ’20, Uses Opportunity Fund to Support Immigrant Students, Build Relationships

The Community Engagement Opportunity Fund, which is in its inaugural year, supports students with high financial need who face burdensome expenses associated with their participation in community service, civic engagement initiatives, and Community Engaged Courses in the St. Louis area. This fund seeks to enable students to participate in a variety of civic engagement activities, […]

Engage STL Launches First-Year Students on Path to Civic Engagement

With the redesign of the Bear Beginnings new student orientation program, incoming first-year students have a new opportunity to get to know St. Louis and build community around shared interests through three-day Immersive Experiences. Under the new model, all first-year students will be required to participate in an Immersive Experience within the 9-day Bear Beginnings […]

Introducing the 2019 Arts as Civic Engagement Residents

Rooted in the deep traditions of the arts as a powerful means for social change, Arts as Civic Engagement is a platform for students to immerse in arts-based community engagement. In its second year, the program will support three students in a Civic and Community Arts Residency at regional arts organizations. Participants receive a $5,000 […]

2019 Ethic of Service Award Ceremony Honors Exceptional Community Members

The 16th annual Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award was presented to an outstanding group of honorees at a special ceremony last month, celebrating the passionate dedication of these individuals to serving the Washington University and St. Louis communities. This year’s ceremony saw a record number of attendees, with nearly 200 guests gathering […]

Recognizing Class of 2019 Civic Scholars

The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is proud to recognize the service and dedication of the graduating class of 2019. Civic Scholars and Ethic of Service Award recipients have received recognition on platforms across campus for the ways that they have contributed to the community and continue to show their commitment to service […]

Each One Teach One Panel Focuses on Supporting Undocumented Students

The Gephardt Institute’s Each One Teach One program recently held an enrichment event on a crucial topic facing educators and administrators across the country: the educational rights of undocumented students and families and the barriers they may face in school. The panel attracted over 80 attendees, among whom were students, faculty, staff, and community members. […]

Introducing the Class of 2021 Civic Scholars

We are pleased to introduce the class of 2021 Civic Scholars cohort, who will enter the program this fall. The Civic Scholars Program provides a rigorous, in-depth curriculum for undergraduate students who exemplify strong potential for civic leadership. Sophomores are selected in a competitive merit-based process and learn together through their junior and senior years […]

“Why Do You Give?” Donors on the Importance of Blood Drives

The final University-Wide Blood Drive of the semester was held on April 3. Students, staff, and faculty came out in droves to support this important cause. Sponsored in partnership with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center and the American Red Cross, blood drives are a campus tradition that brings the community together in support of […]

Community and University Engagement Summit Deepens Dialogue, Strengthens Partnerships

On March 1, community members and stakeholders gathered for the Building Vibrant Partnerships: Community and University Engagement Summit. Energy was high as participants arrived early and began talking, laughing, and connecting with one another. By the time the event began, the room was filled with well over 180 people who shared the goal of exploring […]

5 Years Out: Reflections from Class of 2014 Civic Scholars

We asked members of the Class of 2014 about their experiences with Civic Scholars and about where they are now. Tiffini Hyatt I’m currently working as a kindergarten teacher in Chicago. For my civic project, I worked on teacher development with D.C. Public Schools. My experience there confirmed that I wanted to teach and, perhaps, […]

Civic Engagement Fund: Recent Grant Recipients

The Gephardt Institute’s Civic Engagement Fund supports WashU students, faculty, and staff working to strengthen the fabric of their communities. Grantees collaborate with community partners to develop initiatives and Community-Engaged Courses that catalyze positive change. The deadline for Spring 2019 applications for Grants for St. Louis Projects and Small Change Grants is Friday, March 8, and the extended deadline for Course Development Grants […]

The Gephardt Institute Welcomes New Staff Members

The Gephardt Institute is pleased to welcome Shruti Desai and Colleen Smyth to the team of dedicated staff members. These three professionals demonstrate a depth of commitment to their communities and to the work of civic engagement. Shruti Desai, Ed. D., Associate Director and Chief of Staff, leads the day-to-day operations of the Gephardt Institute and […]

Civic Scholars Program Alumni Coach and Mentor Current Scholars

The Civic Scholars Program (2020 cohort pictured above) develops future civic leaders through academic study, discussion, practical application, and mentorship. The mentorship component of the program provides students meaningful connections with staff members, program supporters, and alumni. The connection between Civic Scholars and recent alumni is one the program’s leaders recognized as essential. As Civic Scholars […]