The Community Action Gateway curriculum includes two first-year seminars offered to incoming Trinity students. These seminars provide students with a comprehensive overview of theories of social change and community action and give students the opportunity to develop and implement a social change project in the City of Hartford. Through the design and execution of a hands-on, collaborative community research project, students will learn how to become effective social change agents, how to collaborate with and learn from community partners, and how to develop and disseminate publicly-relevant research findings that lead to meaningful social change.

Community Action Gateway students gain a variety of skills that are translatable to numerous disciplines, including: conducting research on important social problems; cultivating effective collaborations with students, faculty, and community partners; developing innovative social change projects and solutions; and producing new and compelling forms of knowledge for social impact. For this reason, the Community Action Gateway provides an excellent introduction to any of the social science majors (e.g., Anthropology, Economics, Educational Studies, Psychology, Sociology, etc.) as well as majors in the humanities, arts, and sciences.

CACT 101: Envisioning Social Change (Fall)

How do different community organizations (neighborhood groups, non-profit advocates, unions, government agencies, social entrepreneurs, philanthropies, etc.) envision social change? What strategies for change do we find across the City of Hartford? How can Trinity students cultivate and engage in meaningful partnerships to promote social change? Students will investigate these and related questions through readings on community action and social impact, hands-on research and interviews with community stakeholders in Hartford, and the design of collaborative social action projects around a core theme (to be implemented in the spring semester). Students will think critically and reflexively about the root causes of social problems, the ways that power and privilege shape social change work, and how their biographies shape their understanding of and engagement with Hartford.

Fall 2019 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong

Learn more about CACT student projects

CACT 102: Building Knowledge for Social Change (Spring)

How can students and community groups effectively collaborate to develop goals and outcomes for social action projects? How can knowledge be defined and constructed collaboratively with community partners for purposes of social change? In this course, students work in collaboration with community groups to implement a project in the City of Hartford. Students learn strategies for effectively engaging with community partners and explore and reflect upon the process of producing and disseminating knowledge for social impact. Students will expand their skills through workshops on non-fiction narrative, public speaking, digital storytelling, and data visualization, facilitated by leading experts in these fields. Student groups and their community partners will share their stories about their social change projects at the end of the semester.

Spring 2019 syllabus with Professor Megan Faver Hartline