During the 2010 and 2011 academic year, a new Engagement Common Good course will be offered to sophomores.
This course, dedicated to understanding the civil rights of homeless people and the legal system, is a part of the Justice Matters curriculum which engages students to become involved in matters of social justice.
Dr. Beverly Bryde, associate professor of education, will be teaching this course. “This will be one of the most challenging classes that I have taught in my 25 years of teaching,” Bryde said.
This ECG 200 presents students with the opportunity of participating in the Inside-Out Exchange Program. A small group of students, who have enrolled in the course, and residents of the Norristown Homeless Shelter will come together to research the Civil Rights of Homeless People.
“Currently, I am in the trial-run for the ECG courses,” Justin Sillner, freshman communication major, said. “I really enjoy the ECG courses I have taken and look forward to my future classes within this department.”
Students will research readings and discuss their ideas and views on issues that pertain to the legal system. They will explore social policies, education, child welfare and advocacy for social justice.
The overall purpose for this course is for students to achieve a deeper understanding of the civil rights of homeless people.
Bryde feels that students should sign up for this course to learn more about the homeless situation in our society. Direct observation of the homeless may be the key to realizing how critical the homeless situation is.
“Students will work with residents of the homeless shelter on a project to meet the needs of the shelter,” Bryde said.
The Norristown shelter’s main goal is to help the residents to become self-sufficient, find a job and find permanent housing. Students will observe their struggle to obtain this goal.
“I really would have liked this course to be my Seminar 300 class,” Sean Ahern, junior information systems major, said. “I enjoyed my Sem 300 class, but I feel as though this course would have made me become more involved in justice.”
The structure of the course has been designed by Bryde. She would like her students to distinguish the difference between charity and looking for justice through systemic change and to also have her students gain a personal viewpoint of what social justice is and have them apply it to their lives.
Other goals of the class are to have the students learn to commit themselves to the work of social justice and civic engagement by involving themselves in issues they feel strongly about.
“I think the students who will enroll in this course in 2010 will really like learning about social justice,” Sillner said. “I was not really interested before I came to Cabrini but now I am actively involved in social justice.”