One of Civic House's newest initiatives is the development and execution of the pilot program of Social Justice 101, a curriculum designed for students interested in exploring social identities and justice. The program was created with intentions to target students interested in both civic engagement and social justice, as well as improve their understandings of identities, root causes of social issues, and approaches to social change in order to further develop their service and social justice skills through the lens of the United States. SJ101 serves as a starting point for many students in their exploration of social justice, as well as their relationship with Civic House, while other participants have already been familiarized with Civic House through the Civic Engagement Internship program.
The program's curriculum was designed in a collaborative process with students and staff of Civic House in the Spring 2016 semester. This Fall, undergraduate students, Clare Connaughton and Aiden Castellanos, graduate student, Sashae Mitchell, and Civic House associate director, Noemi Hernandez, have worked together to launch and facilitate its pilot program. The curriculum focuses on major underlying themes of power, privilege, and oppression and centers reflection upon one's own socialization to them as the primary method of learning. Composed of 10 distinct sessions, the SJ101 participants began by setting up group norms and setting the tone for the future sessions. The small size of the pilot program's participant class allows for a casual communal learning space to be developed and for them to be invested in each others' growth as proponents of social justice, accompanied by food, music, and mutual trust between them. The participants are then able to build off of the topics and events discussed in previous sessions, becoming aware of one's own identities, finding themselves within the work of social justice, and finding commitment to the work. The program's founders plan on checking in with this semester's class on their experience, strengthening the program based on feedback, and continuing the program into future semesters.