The Hate U Give: EyeSeeMe Partners with Hawthorn InvestiGirls

“What’s the point of having a voice,” Starr Carter asks, “if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” Starr is the protagonist of Angie Thomas’s stunning young adult novel, The Hate U Give. The book approaches real-world issues such as racism, police violence, injustice, and inequity from the perspective of a 16-year-old Black […]

Engage Democracy Workshops Educate and Equip Participants to Act

How does our democracy really work? How are individuals and communities affected by local policies? What can I do to stay engaged post-election season? When it comes to politics, where do I even begin? These are only a few of the major questions that Engage Democracy Workshops attempt to address. Designed to be nonpartisan, ideologically inclusive, […]

Adopt a Grandparent Fosters Intergenerational Connections

Molly Davis, Marketing & Communications Coordinator and Civic Scholar, Class of 2020, loves spending time with her grandmother when she is home in Lexington, Tennessee. Molly and Willie Mae watch movies and listen to music together, and they talk about everything, from the most mundane to the most profound topics. Willie Mae shares stories from […]

Alumnus Josh Yudkin Reflects on a Life Calling Inspired by Stern Social Change Grant

Josh Yudkin (left), AB ’11, has always felt empowered by being a part of something greater than himself. “It was the sense of community and contagious collaboration that drew me to WashU,” he says, reflecting on his decision to come to the university. Within a short amount of time, he grew inspired to give back […]

New Program Showcases Role of the Arts in Catalyzing Social Change

In the article below, guest writer Robert W. Duffy highlights the work of the Gephardt Institute’s inaugural cohort of Arts as Civic Engagement residents, showing the central role of the arts in uniting people and catalyzing social change. Mr. Duffy is a longtime St. Louis journalist and critic. He joined the staff of the St. […]

Leadership Through Service: Fostering Engagement from Pre-Orientation to Graduation

Even though her official role as the Gephardt Institute’s Leadership Through Service Coordinator ended at the beginning of the academic year, Karina Carcamo, Class of 2020, can often be found in the office, joking with professional and student staff or lending her advice and support. Leadership Through Service (LTS) weaves its way throughout Karina’s story […]

Each One Teach One and K-12 Connections Co-Host KIPP: Victory Family Day

The tutoring sessions between Each One Teach One tutors and the students of KIPP: Victory Academy are lively, and the active learning is evident in the excited conversations between tutors and students. Between Each One Teach One at KIPP and Hawthorn InvestiGirls, a tutoring and enrichment program at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, over 100 WashU […]

WashU Expands Voter Engagement and Registration Efforts

Younger generations comprise the majority of the United States electorate, yet they are not the majority of actual voters. According to the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of the electorate are Gen Xers, millennials, and post-millennials. However, these voters cast 21 million fewer votes than older generations in the 2014 midterm elections. In 2014, only […]

Gephardt Institute Receives over $5.8 Million in Support Through the “Leading Together” Campaign

The Gephardt Institute was established 13 years ago with a bold vision galvanized by Congressman Richard Gephardt and continually embraced by Chancellor Wrighton and Provost Thorp: That Washington University students are inspired and equipped to contribute to the life and health of communities around the world. Since that time, the world has seen unprecedented challenges that reaffirm […]

WashU Votes to Register Voters this Week

Four out of five eligible student voters at Washington University in St. Louis will not vote in the midterm elections Nov. 6. And that’s if all goes well. In 2014, only 15.7 percent of students voted in the midterms compared to the national university average of 19.1 percent. The Gephardt Institute, through our WashU Votes initiative, […]

Meet St. Louis Organizers Connect First-Year Students with Local Communities

For the past four years, Meet St. Louis has provided first-year students with the opportunity to discover, engage, and reflect on community development efforts and service opportunities in St. Louis through a variety of small group excursions throughout the city. Led by faculty, staff, and student group leaders who have a specific and deep connection […]

Common Ground Grants Catalyze Dialogue and Foster Culture of Engagement

In an increasingly divisive political climate, intentional and productive dialogue is more important and necessary than ever. With this in mind, the Common Ground Grant program seeks to catalyze the campus community in developing strategies to repair, address, and prevent polarization at Washington University and in the St. Louis community. Common Ground Grants are one […]

1,000 Lives Saved: The Impact of a University-Wide Blood Drive

Blood drives are a life-saving tradition at Washington University. Sponsored by the Gephardt Institute in partnership with American Red Cross and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, drives take place four times per academic year. On September 11, the Gephardt Institute hosted the first university-wide blood drive of the semester and helped our partner blood banks exceed their goals. […]

Gephardt Student Internship Program Welcomes New Student Staff

In late August, the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement welcomed ten new student staff members to the team. Mariel Ehrlich, Ebee Grellier, Carly Klinenberg, Sam Martorana, and Thwisha Sabloak are undergraduates; and Emily Anderson, Shelby Banach, Ivy Blackmore, Rachel White, and David Zhai are graduate students at Washington University. This group of highly […]

Engage Democracy: A New University-Wide Initiative

The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement has launched Engage Democracy, a university-wide initiative that aims to educate the campus community about the processes and civic skills needed to contribute to a thriving democracy. The initiative is generously funded by Karen and Bruce Levenson, AB ’71. The initiative includes five key components, with opportunities for […]

Meet the Leader Series: Advancing Equity through Criminal Justice Reform and Social Policy

About the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) NCAJ works to expand access to justice, the meaningful opportunity to be heard. Access to justice is unavailable to millions of people even though its presence is often the essential difference between losing the right to raise a child or keeping the family together, between living […]

Dan Sicorsky Challenges New Students to “Bravely Imagine a Life”

Dan Sicorsky, a Dr. Margaret A. Olsen and Dr. Joseph N. Marcus Civic Scholar, addressed incoming students at Convocation in August 2018 as the senior speaker, urging them to pursue their dreams, discover their passions, embrace uncertainty, and respond to their civic and community responsibilities. Dan is a senior studying political science and writing. On […]

Welcoming Our Associate Director for Faculty & Academic Engagement 

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Cathleen (Cassie) Power as our first Associate Director for Faculty & Academic Engagement. Cassie will start on August 21 and will serve as the Gephardt Institute’s lead on the vision, strategic expansion, and impact of academic community engagement. She will be available to work with faculty and leadership across […]

Casey Knotts Bridges Theory & Practice to Strengthen the Health of Communities

Casey Knotts is a passionate and action-oriented civic leader dedicated to empowering women and reducing health inequities in communities. She demonstrates leadership through her involvement in organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and most recently as a program leader for the Metro St. Louis YWCA’s Future Leaders […]

Next Steps for Civic Scholars Program Graduates

Over the past two years, the Civic Scholars Class of 2018 completed four semesters of academic coursework, received multiple levels of mentorship, and developed substantial summer civic engagement projects. Like the 40 program alumni who have come before them, they acquired advanced civic leadership skills and demonstrate a significant commitment to civic engagement post-graduation. Learn more about their current and […]

Gephardt Institute Receives Major Gift to Enhance Civic Scholars Program

Mickey and Debbie Stern, longtime supporters of Washington University in St. Louis, have made a $1 million commitment to the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement in support of our Civic Scholars Program. “For more than two decades, Mickey and Debbie Stern have been tremendous volunteers and benefactors of Washington University,” said Chancellor Mark […]

Lourene Clark: The Personal Impact of Blood Donation

Lourene Clark is the Business Manager for Washington University’s Alumni and Development, Major Gifts and Capital Projects team. Below, she shares her experience as a blood transfusion recipient.  When I stop to think about it, it is hard to believe that 38 years have passed since I found myself in desperate need of blood. I […]

Marissa Lerner ’19 on Cultivating a Sense of Civic Leadership

Civic Scholar Marissa Lerner ’19 (pictured left) considers how her experiences with Leadership Through Service (LTS) and the Civic Scholars Program have influenced her conception of her role as a civic leader on campus and as a citizen more broadly. She also reflects on her work with Urban Harvest STL, grappling with understanding her place […]

Heart for the Homeless: Serving, Listening, Learning

The student volunteers who work with Heart for the Homeless know the importance of listening with intention and having their preconceptions constantly challenged. Heart for the Homeless is “an undergraduate student group from Washington University in St. Louis that aims to improve the health of the St. Louis homeless community through medical education and connection to […]

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Cohen

What does it mean to feel heard​, to be truly listened to? This is one of the crucial questions that alumna Sarah Cohen (AB ’11) considered throughout the stages of her project, Mi Voz, Nuestra Historia (My Voice, Our Story). The project, first implemented in fall 2017, aimed to train 50 pre-service teachers in creating inclusive and […]

Finding Common Ground through Interactive Art

The Community Art Wall is strategically positioned along the construction wall between the Kemper Art Museum and Steinberg Hall so that passersby in this heavily trafficked area are confronted with the prompts and encouraged to respond. The interactive wall was inspired by a lecture given by artist Candy Chang. Lyle Hansen and Eve Wallack (pictured left) […]

Enright Community Butterfly Garden Fosters Collaboration

The Enright Community Butterfly Garden envisions a new kind of socially and ecologically engaged public space for the Enright neighborhood. The project’s collaborators are the neighbors of the Enright Block Unit, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and Micah Stanek, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at WashU. The three groups are working side-by-side to create a beautiful, natural, […]

Announcing 2018 Goldman Fellows

Congratulations to the 2018 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. Through the program’s cohort experience, Goldman Fellows are […]

Michael Gendernalik: Theorizing an Educational Framework

Michael Gendernalik combines their* professional passions and personal interests in their work to help create a defined standard for the Gephardt Institute’s educational practices. Michael is a second-year graduate student at the Brown School and Gephardt Fellow for Civic Education. Their work with Theresa Kouo (Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Education) centers around the pedagogical […]

A Personal Perspective on the Urgency of Blood Donation

Jennifer Greenberg ’18 (left) knows that donating blood doesn’t always feel like an urgent responsibility. “When people think about giving blood, they don’t necessarily think, ‘I’m going to save a particular person’s life,’” she said. However, as a member of the Blood Drive Leadership Team and a recipient of a blood transfusion herself, Jennifer realizes […]

Maya Coyle Reflects on Intersectional Community Building

Maya Coyle ’19 considers the various communities that have influenced her life and the ways in which her perspective on civic engagement has been shaped by her experiences at the intersection of those communities. Maya has served as a counselor and coordinator for the Gephardt Institute’s Leadership Through Service program. Her involvement with the institute […]

Heather O’Leary: Equipping Students as Scholar-Activists

Heather O’Leary, PhD, describes herself as an “environmental anthropologist with deep commitment to teaching students about power disparities, natural resource distribution, and intersectionality.” Her research explores the cultural dimensions of the technologies of legitimacy in India’s water allocation through engaged ethnography. She considers the impact of infrastructural, economic, and gender disparities within a rapidly changing urban […]

Introducing the Class of 2020 Civic Scholars

    We are pleased to introduce the class of 2020 Civic Scholars cohort, who will begin this fall! The Civic Scholars Program provides a rigorous, in-depth curriculum for undergraduate students who exemplify future potential for civic leadership. Sophomores are selected in a competitive merit-based process and learn together through their junior and senior years. […]

Fostering Campus and Community Partnerships across Disciplines

Effective community engagement requires mutual trust, reflective dialogue, and enduring roots in community. The Gephardt Institute values and advances this process through the development of Community-Engaged Teaching and community partnerships. In her role as Assistant Director for Campus and Community Partnerships, Stefani Weeden-Smith leads the institute’s strategy and vision for community engagement models that are […]

Science Fair Workshop a Powerful Learning Experience

On a Saturday afternoon, local elementary school students and their families filed into a classroom for the “Getting Started with Science Fair” workshop, ready to spend the next few hours preparing to apply the scientific method to a question that interested the students. The group listened intently to the opening presentation on science fair registration, project […]

Mike Jones Champions Student Learning and Leadership

When asked for his definition of civic engagement, Dr. Michael Jones’ answer was both deeply personal to his position and broadly applicable to the goals of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement: “To me, civic engagement means viewing yourself in relation to everyone in the world around you. It means feeling a sense […]

WashU Engage: Deepening Civic Involvement Where We Live and Work

Alumni Engagement in the Windy City In recent years, Washington University has deepened its commitment to galvanize and foster the civic involvement of alumni in addition to students, faculty, and staff, with the goal of building stronger communities across the nation and world. The Gephardt Institute partnered with the Alumni Association to launch WashU Engage […]

15th Annual Ethic of Service Award: Nominate Someone You Admire

Do you know someone who exudes passion for service as a way of life, actively contributes to the St. Louis community, goes above and beyond the call of duty, and inspires compassion and action in others? Nominate them for a 2018 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award! The Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic […]

Full-Time Position Opening: Associate Director of Faculty and Academic Engagement

The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is pleased to announce an opening for a new full-time position. The Associate Director of Faculty and Academic Engagement will be responsible for leading the vision, strategic expansion, and impact of community engagement in academic spaces at Washington University in St. Louis. This position will foster and […]

Gephardt Institute Joins the Green Office Program

WashU’s Office of Sustainability coordinates the Green Office Program, which provides a framework and set of resources that empower office teams across all campuses to reduce their environmental impact and costs. The program features a self-assessment checklist with seven categories that offices use to evaluate their current practices, set goals, and track their progress. As offices […]

Alumnus Connects People to Causes in the Digital Age

On October 23, alumnus Greg Perlstein ’08 reflected on his background, professional path, and civic engagement commitments during a special “Meet the Leader” session at the Gephardt Institute. Greg serves as Senior Director, Growth & Marketing, at He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and MBA from the University of […]

Lu Oros: Putting a Face to Poverty and Homelessness

How will I get to work? Did the kids get to school on time? Do we have enough money for food this week? The Faces of Poverty, formerly known as Poverty TRAP, has been a powerful component of the Gephardt Institute’s Leadership Through Service (LTS) pre-orientation program for many years. During the session, first year students […]

Marissa Lerner ‘19 Prepares for Life-Long Citizenship

The Gephardt Institute catalyzes WashU students to become actively engaged citizens. Civic Scholar Marissa Lerner ‘19 reflects on the impact of Gephardt Institute programs throughout her three years at Washington University. In addition to her participation in the Civic Scholars Program, she has served as a counselor for Leadership Through Service. When I first arrived on Washington University’s campus, I instantly […]