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Community Stories

Civic Engagement Program

Community Stories was a two term Civic Engagement program implemented at Pacific University annually from 2010-2012.

Course Description:

Community Stories I is an experiential learning course that employs reading, writing and storytelling to explore personal and

social stories and the assumptions those stories convey. Students use the lens of literature to investigate the complex and

controversial stories that inform our cultural perception of gender relations. Students examine personal stories through the

implementation of a daily "story showing" practice. Personal growth and development through social storytelling and

critique is part of the training for a civic engagement project students design within their local community.


The purpose of this course is to build webs of support between university students, to examine social and cultural constructs in

personal and local communities, and to facilitate the students' active civic service as a way of creating the "new story"--the

change or values--they wish to see manifest in the world.


Goal: Use writing and storytelling as tools for personal growth and development to prepare students for designing and

implementing a civic engagement project.


Students develop a daily "story showing" practice to deeply examine current cultural and personal narratives.

Students create a community through regular meetings, shared readings, experiential activities and class facilitation.

Students write new stories for cultural and personal transformation through experiential activities and literary response,

then use these stories to define and develop the proposal for their civic engagement projects.

Goal: Students extend their classroom community connections into the larger communities they occupy through designing

and implementing a civic engagement project.


Students write project proposals complete with goals and objectives.

Students develop project skills such as small group facilitation, community networking and project promotion.

Students keep a written log of project hours and document project outcomes through a written self-assessment.

Students end the semester by presenting project outcomes with retrospective analysis.

Students develop strategies for improving project outcomes and keeping projects active into the future.