Moving Forward After the Election: Resources for Campuses

November 9, 2016

Many of us are thinking today about how to engage campus communities in moving forward after the election. Though we operate in distinct institutional contexts, we may be able to draw upon one another’s work.  Our staff offers a few words and resources from the Campus Compact network, below, and invites your suggestions as comments to this post. Please also feel welcome to reach out to our staff at sinda {at} mncampuscompact(.)org or 612-436-2080.

Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow shared a letter to his campus on the morning of November 9, 2016, which frames our work in a helpful way:

As I reflect on this morning after our national election, I am buoyed by the words of honorary Augsburg graduate and renowned teacher, Parker Palmer, who reminds us that we have choices about how to respond to the dynamics of our democracy. He distinguishes between “hearts broken apart”—shattered beyond repair—and “hearts broken open” —embracing the tensions and opening our hearts to the promise of co-creating our lives together. For our community—with its distinctive mission and values—I firmly believe that our hearts must be broken open as we journey forward.

National Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn released a video message on the importance of civic and community engagement in higher education in our new context:

We are neutral in elections, but we’re not neutral about values and commitments. We have a thumb on the scale for democracy. We have a thumb on the scale for inclusion, and for social justice, and for building communities that reflect those values. [We’re for] equal voice, equal participation, equal opportunity to shape one’s own future, and the future of one’s community, and the country. And so, our work is more important than it’s ever been.

For specific strategies, we have appreciated the list gathered by Nancy Thomas and Adam Gismondi from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The list below features post-election activities from campuses around country. This is as an excerpt from their full blog post on the national Campus Compact site here.

November 9th and beyond: Ideas for healing

  • “Day after Tomorrow” events
  • “November 9 and Beyond” learning events “from election to inauguration,” a collaboration between faculty, staff, community partners
  • A message jointly sent by the student government and administration about the need for “civility, dignity, and respect”
  • A “civic conversation” to reengage people across differences
  • A common reading, The True American by Anand Giridharadas will be used to prompt discussion after the election
  • A “Citizen’s Academy” working with local government agencies and civic organizations
  • “Passion to Action: What Now?” event on the importance of staying involved with local politics and ways students can remain politically engaged after the 2016 election
  • A “Post-Election Paper Project” – essentially a room stocked with tables, newsprint, and markers for students to write what they are thinking, with the only ground rule that students should counter any “bad speech” with more speech (hopefully good)

Additional resources:

If you have statements or resources to share with the MNCC network, please add a comment below or email sinda {at} mncampuscompact(.)org. Thank you!