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Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Internship, Social Change, Social Justice, Urban Studies
Language of Instruction:
Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Advisor or Instructor:
Apartments, Find own housing
Examine the growing gap between rich and poor in the United States.
Gain concrete change-making skills through internships and discussion with effective activists.
In America today, the wealthiest 160,000 families own as much as the poorest 145 million families. The wealth gap in America has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. Inequality in America delves deeply into the complex causes and impacts of the unprecedented gap between the rich and poor in the United States. Students engage in a hands-on examination of the social systems that feed increases in poverty and inequality. They examine how institutional racism, classism, and sexism play a role in forming shortsighted and damaging public policy.
In a simultaneous internship with a local nonprofit students will begin to test and implement their own change-making skills. Past internship sites have included the Council on Crime and Justice, Southside Family Charter School, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, and Take Action Minnesota. Students will meet local organizers, build professional networks, and spend 160-200 hours on site, working for organizations dedicated to social transformation. Everyone leaves the classroom with increased confidence in their own abilities to effect change in their communities, and a deep understanding of the local nonprofit landscape.
Minneapolis- St.Paul will be our classroom. The region is an ideal context for the study of poverty and inequality plaguing the nation's urban centers. The area is increasingly diverse and has a strong and vibrant economy, yet many people are not sharing in this vitality. As in most large, urban regions, there is a growing gap between rich and poor, increasing geographic and social segregation and polarization between these groups. Forty-five percent of the children in the "core" of the Twin Cities live at or below the poverty line, and an educational gap between racial groups worries many policymakers, parents, educators, and students.
This area is also home to an exciting array of organizations that are addressing all of these issues. Many of these organizations are internship sites for our students and provide hands-on learning to make social change happen.
Bachelors Degree (Undergraduate)
* You must have completed your first year in college
* You must be in good academic standing - 2.0 GPA or higher (any GPA lower than 2.5 will receive extra evaluation)
* You must meet all requirements of the specific HECUA program
* You must complete all home campus requirements for off-campus study
All students are welcome on HECUA programs. Selection is based on your completed application, past academic performance, recommendations,and the match between the program and your own interests, goals and expectations. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Urban & Regional Planning
Public Admin, Public Policy, Govt
Urban & Regional Planning
Member and non-member school use different fee structures. Check the HECUA website, here, for the most up-to-date information.
Program Fees Include:
Tuition, internship placement and supervision and all course-related field visits.
This Program is open to
Undergraduate students enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States.
Scholarships are Available
HECUA provides $750 Scholarships for Community Engagement, $1,500 Scholarships for Social Justice and $4,000 Scholarships for Racial Justice for semester-length programs each fall and spring. More information about the application process for either scholarship is available on the HECUA website, here, or by contacting the organization.
Application Process Involves
Online or Paper Application
Letters of Reference
Pre-Approved GE Credits
This is a list of pre-approved GE credits. If you want other courses to be considered for GE credit, contact your St. Olaf Program Advisor, Heather Campbell.