The name of this assignment is weird. What’s it mean?
GEA2_GAP(a) is just a way of indicating that this is a General Education Assignment (GEA) that allows this course to apply to your USF General Education requirements. The GAP part is the important part.
Okay, so what’s GAP stand for?
GAP stands for “Grassroots Activism Project” — and the key is doing something yourself to make a change in the world. (It’s like a service-learning project, if you’ve done those in other courses.) Our “GAP” assignment will help you fill the “gap” between our course materials and the world beyond our class. It’s your chance to take something you personally care about or that relates to your career or family and then make a change. Grassroots means right here, right now. We’re not talking laws and judges and books and celebrities and big money and industries. We’re just talking about that feeling we sometimes get when we say, “Hey, that’s not fair! Let’s make it fair!” Or “Hey that doesn’t really work! Let’s fix it!” An attractive part of grassroots activism is that anyone can do it almost anywhere and almost any time.
GAP(A): Does that mean there’s a GAP(B)?
Yes, there is a GAP(B) assignment near the end of the semester when you will report back on the action you took and discuss whether it worked or not and how you might do things differently in the future.
What are the instructions for this assignment?
You’ll need to do something to address your issue — whether it’s attending a webinar or training, creating a professional infographic, doing a clothing or food drive, or something else. Be sure to see the two samples from previous students that I’ve posted below! They will really help.
For this assignment, compose an essay/proposal of four paragraphs using the following prompts. Each paragraph should address one of the following prompts and you should include the prompt in your essay/proposal. You will need to do some some research using legitimate sources.
- Identify an injustice or inequity in (y)our community (broadly defined — your own life, your neighborhood, your city, etc);
- Provide a brief synopsis of the issue and include background/statistics from at least one legitimate source;
- Using terminology from our course (and defining those terms!), discuss how you the issue is related to our course materials in some way; and
- Provide details (who, what, when, where, etc) of the “grassroots action” plan you will take to address the injustice. Please note that once your GAP(a) action has been graded and approved, you will need to do it and then report about it in the GAP(b) assignment later this semester.
What are some tips for success in this assignment?
- CHOOSE YOUR ISSUE WISELY: As you’re thinking through this assignment, remember that an injustice or an inequity is different than a mere inconvenience. For example, we all know that parking on campus is difficult and annoying but that’s more of an inconvenience than it is an injustice. It might rise to the level of an injustice, however, for folks who have mobility issues and need designated handicapped parking spaces. What if your research determines that out of all the parking spaces at USF only 2% are designated handicapped? Now, there’s an injustice or inequality. See the difference?
- MAKE SURE YOU CAN “DO” SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR ISSUE: You will need to take action and do something that addresses the issue. Donating money or signing a petition on Facebook isn’t really taking meaningful action. (There are some ideas below, but I encourage you to get creative!) There’s no specific amount of time you need to devote to your action; it’s more important that you show effort and a real connection to creating change. Please note that once your GAP(a) action has been graded and approved, you will need to do it and then report about it in the GAP(b) assignment later this semester.
- RELATE THE ISSUE TO YOUR PERSONAL INTERESTS, CAREER, ETC. A fun, useful way to approach this project is to think about what you care about or what affects you or what issues might help you be better in your career. For example, if you’re going into health care actions that help you learn more about diversity and inclusion would be good — e.g., SafeZone LGBTQ+ Training, a webinar on communication with patients who are elderly, volunteering with an organization that focuses on Black women’s health needs, do a health and personal care needs supply drive for homeless or underprivileged folks (i.e., Band-Aids, tampons, toothpaste and toothbrushes, etc).
- HAVE SOME FUN AND GET CREATIVE! Invite friends or family to work with you, whether it’s attending a webinar, participating in a food drive, etc.
Are there any examples to help me?
Here are two
How does COVID-19 affect this assignment? I need some more ideas.
Because we are all still puzzling through how COVID-19 will continue to affect our lives, you should not propose any actions that will require you to put yourself or others in harm’s way. A good idea might be to focus on education and advocacy. The following list of actions might help as you brainstorm:
- Research your topic and then create an infographic or PowerPoint that helps you and others learn about this issue and ways to address it.
- Attend an online/virtual training or workshop on an issue of concern — e.g., LGBTQ+ sensitivity, anti-racist strategies for change, etc.
- Conduct an online/virtual “consciousness raising group” in which you and a few friends share insight about your issue of choice and strategies for addressing it.
- Create a resource list of materials related to education and change on your issue.
- Design a lesson plan (for kids? for seniors?) that would help others learn about this issue.
- Get creative and connect the issue to your career plans or goals!