Organizational History and Synopsis


In this activity, students will be able to map the history of a student/campus organization, in which they are involved. In doing so, students will relate the development of their specific organization to the wider trends surrounding civic engagement and education covered in the assigned readings throughout the semester.

Goals: Students will develop a more contextualized understanding of the history of their student organization. In addition, students will learn how to identify issues in their communities, and address them through civic engagement.

Class: Social Studies 68ec: Education and Community in America

Introduction/Background: This course is an activity-based learning course, designed for students who are concurrently participating in education-related service programs affiliated. This course examines the civic purpose of universities in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Throughout the semester, Prof. Ariane Liazos uses readings and discussions to connect the course materials with students’ service work.


1)    Preparation for activity:

Students enrolled in the course, or participating in the activity, must be involved in a student organization. This activity is listed in the syllabus. Students will be able to work on this assignment at their own pace throughout the semester. The assignment is due one week after the last class meeting of the semester.

2)    Steps of activity:

  1. Select a student organization to chronicle
  2. Complete readings throughout the semester
    1. Make note of the readings that connect closely to the founding and mission of your chosen organization
      1. Things to consider:
        1. What community issue/problem did your organization look to solve?
        2. What steps did your organization take to address the community issue/problem?
        3. How is your organization’s leadership organized (i.e. President, officers, general body members, advisory board, overall framework, etc.)?
        4. How has your organization evolved over time?
        5. Research your organization’s archives:
          1. Founding documents
          2. Constitution
          3. Meeting minutes and reports
          4. Events
          5. Publications
          6. Conduct interviews (optional):
            1. with founders
            2. with community partners
            3. with members of the community impacted by services
            4. Write a paper outlining your organization’s history (10-12 pages)
              1. Write an accompanying op-ed or brief history that would be appropriate for publication on your organization’s website (1000 words)

Follow-up: Students will receive a grade for this assignment. The final is worth 40% of their final grade.

Comments:  Students become very invested in this assignment. This activity connects theory to practice – community issues to activism. In doing so, students seem to be more invested in their learning and interested in understanding the role universities play in promoting civic engagement.


  • Access to organizational archives, documents, contact information, etc.
  • Transportation 
syllabus.docx493 KB