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Stanford aerial photo. Credit: MichaelVi / Deposit Photos

ORSL Courses

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Find out more information about the courses offered by the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life. 

Cardinal Red Decorative Accent
Spring 2022 - 4 Units

CSRE 107: Community Organizing: People, Power, and Change

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:15 pm - 4:45 pm
CIRCLE - Third Floor of Old Union
Instructors: Marshall Ganz, Tiffany Steinwert, Michael Wilcox

 


COURSE DESCRIPTION 

Mobilizing communities for positive social change requires educated leaders equipped with the skills to organize people and power. Organizing can make a difference in addressing major public challenges that demand full engagement of the citizenry, especially those whose voices are not heard unless they organize. 

Organizing, in turn, requires leadership: accepting responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty. Organizers ask three questions: who are my people, what challenges do they face, and how can they turn their resources into the power they need to meet these challenges? Organizers identify, recruit, and develop leadership; build community around that leadership; and build power from the resources of that community.

In this course, students form leadership teams of 3 to 5 persons to organize people into a “constituency” able to work together to achieve real outcomes in pursuit of a shared purpose by the end of the semester. Students learn five core leadership practices: building public relationships, turning values into motivation through public narrative, turning resources into power by strategizing, turning intentions into effective action, and structuring organization to develop leadership, engage constituents, and achieve goals, distinguishing “mobilizing” from “organizing.” Students learn to coach others and to receive coaching in organizing practices.

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES 

In this course, students learn to practice leadership by organizing a leadership team to work with them to mobilize members of a “constituency” to work together to achieve real outcomes in pursuit of a shared purpose. Students learn five core leadership practices: building public relationships, turning values into a capacity for agency through public narrative, turning resources into power by strategizing, turning intentions into effective action, and structuring organization to develop leadership, engage constituents, and achieve goals. Students learn to coach others and receive coaching. Students also learn to distinguish “mobilizing” from “organizing” and why it takes organizing to make mobilizing count. 

 

PARTICIPANTS 

This course is for students interested in learning how to exercise leadership to create social change through collective action. There are no prerequisites. Students with and without “real world” organizing experience can find the class equally useful. Students with a strong commitment to the values on behalf of which they are working will be most successful. Because this is a course in practice, you will be asked to try new things, risk failure, and step outside your comfort zone. As reflective practitioners, students learn through critical analysis their experience, feedback, and coaching. This is not a course in comparative theories of organizing but, rather, a class in the actual practice of fundamental organizing practices: skills, concepts, and values.  

Meeting the Moment Class Description
Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring - 1-2 Units

WELLNESS105/LIFE105 - Meeting the Moment: Inner Resources for Hard Times

Fridays, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
CIRCLE - 3rd Floor of the Union Building
Instructors: Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, Andrew Todhunter, Jonah Willihnganz

Meeting the Moment was born of a global pandemic and an urgent question: How do we best support ourselves and others during this extraordinary time? A collaboration between the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life, LifeWorks Program for Integrative Learning, and the Stanford Storytelling Project, Meeting the Moment began in 2020, when a team of students and instructors created a program to better equip Stanford students with the meaning-making tools and practices that will help meet the inevitably difficult moments with self-sovereignty and presence, and to fully inhabit the vibrantly joyful moments present in the midst of this protracted time of uncertainty.  

We cultivate these tools and practices primarily through a unique year-long course, Meeting the Moment: Inner Resources for Hard Times, which is quarter by quarter developed and taught by a team of instructors and the Meeting the Moment student Fellows. Meeting the Moment Fellows come from all majors and backgrounds, though many are poets, philosophers, artists, and seekers. They are students and staff who co-create a dedicated time and space to consider the biggest and deepest question of all: How do we be human?  

Quarterly themes: 

Fall Quarter: Meeting Uncertainty, Finding Ground, (Be)Longing

Winter Quarter: Reimagining Genius, Intimacy, Liminality

Spring Quarter: Embodiment, Anger & Justice, Creativity