Julia Carnine, Director, Dickinson in France
Gary R. Kirk, Center for Civic Learning & Action (CCLA)
Laura Megivern, Director of Community Engagement, CCLA

After completing the workshop, students will be able to:

  • Understand the persistence of community issues through the frameworks of complexity and interdependence
  • Explore forms and mechanisms of civic engagement across a range of scales and levels of impact 
  • Apply concepts from interdependence, equity, and sustainability to a local community issue


Complete these 2 steps before the workshop on Civic Action:

    1. Watch the following video: Food Insecurity in the Borough of Carlisle
    1. Develop a list of 5 things you could do to reduce food insecurity. Bring the list to the synchronous workshop.


Civic Action Ideas-Interactive Small Groups (15 mins)

    • We will consider ideas for reducing food insecurity within the context of interdependence, equity, and sustainability.

Civic Engagement Mechanisms-Full Group (20 mins)

    • We will report emerging ideas related to food insecurity interventions back to the full group
    • We will consider the implications of different forms of civic engagement in terms of impact and scale

Group Discussion-Full Group (25 mins) 

    • We will discuss the importance of stakeholder perspectives and participation in local community issues
    • We will consider the tension between acute needs and systemic change in communities


After this workshop, spend a few minutes researching an issue you care about (e.g., food insecurity, deforestation, higher education access) within your intended destination community or another community you care about. You should look for reputable sources that help you answer some of the following questions:

  • Is the issue prevalent? Are certain groups or populations affected more than others? 
  • What organizations or institutions are actively working to address the issue?
  • How do local people (e.g., politicians, journalists, grassroots organizers) talk or write about the issue in their community? Is the issue visible or hidden? Is it described as an individual or community issue? Is it perceived as a systemic, interconnected issue or a separate one? 

Draw on your research to prepare a brief reflection addressing the questions below. Your reflection should be around 250-300 words, but it can also include creative elements you develop during your thinking–sketches, poetry, a musical composition. Please document this reflection as a post on the blog. Tag it with the category “Civic Action”.

  • How will your understanding of this issue affect your personal civic engagement plans? How do equity, sustainability, and interdependence frameworks influence your plans? What commitments can you make now, and what role do you see for yourself in the future?