Sustainable Leadership: Self-Care, Community and Activism

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Course Description

Have you wondered how to create the change you want to see in the world, while at the same time ensuring that you are taking care of yourself? Does perfectionism and burnout ever impact your ability to stay engaged in the issues you care about? Do you ever feel isolated in your efforts, or find that the organizations you hoped would be affirming are actually taking a toll on your well-being and mental health?

This course will help students from all backgrounds learn to engage in social justice work that is personally fulfilling and sustainable. Namely, students will explore these fundamental questions: What is my definition of social justice and activism? How do I “keep on keeping on” when the going gets tough? How do I find and cultivate a supportive and socially-just community?

Throughout this course, you will learn about different social-justice movements in order help you engage in the practice of mindful activism. Mindful activism and social justice work requires that we understand the historical context of social movements. By connecting to and understanding history, we are able to find historical and contemporary role models and become better equipped to engage in responsible and sustainable action. We will also learn about the interplay between psychology and activism, art and activism, music and activism, how to avoid perfectionism and the savior trap, and the importance of psychological and community well-being in sustainable social justice action. Finally, we will learn about and practice different modalities of self- and collective care such as mindfulness and community-based healing practices. Workshops and activities will be geared to helping you self-define/re-define what activism looks like, and help you learn how to engage in effective and long-term individual and collective action. The course will culminate with the development of a self-care and community care plan that will be tied to your Action Plan. This project will lay the foundation for you to influence change in your communities from a social justice-focused perspective.

Course materials, discussions and activities will lay the foundation for future studies in a wide range of interdisciplinary fields including: Public Health and Mental Health, Psychology, History, Anthropology, American Studies, Political Science, and Legal Studies. Students with a wide array of career interests will find the course material relevant and applicable to a wider range of careers, but particularly those serving the common good.

This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Enrollment in this program requires several hours of online engagement prior to campus arrival. This online participation can be completed at any time where internet access is available. Once on campus, participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.

Prerequisites: Students who are respectful of different worldviews, open to growth, and interested in learning how to start and sustain social change efforts are particularly encouraged to participate.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0956
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Leadership Institute

Two-week non-credit residential program focused on socially responsible leadership and creating positive change. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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