I. Community Based Research

Social Science: Issues in Social Justice (3 credits)

The hands-on course offers the opportunity for undergraduates to gain real world experience while working alongside community activists in Bologna.  Students are placed in teams (two per agency) working as community based research assistants.  Students spend 2.5 hours per week in the classroom and 2.5 hours per week in the community. Students are coached by the professor as to how one conducts community research while working with a nonprofit director and community participants to develop a research project that meets the goals of the agency.

Current research projects include:

Cooperativa La Piccola Carovana: The Cooperativa serves as a central coordinating agency for students to gain entry into the community. A sampling of the projects that the Cooperativa supports:

  • A night shelter working with unemployed and homeless men
  • A local housing project that provides refuge for young adult males who are seeking political asylum
  • A street outreach effort where students work alongside a social worker who is informing homeless individuals of the social services available at La Piccola Carovana

Italian Center for Solidarity (CEIS): Similar to the Cooperativa La Piccola Carovana, the Center for Solidarity serves as a coordinating organization helping students to work in the Bologna community.  The Center places students in the community where they:

  • Shadow a  social worker in an emergency shelter for foreign minors
  • Assist teenage immigrants fleeing Afghanistan and other regions of conflict

II. Social Justice Focused Service Learning Courses

The following courses allow students to observe injustices in the world, to reflect on the issues and develop skills in order to take future action.

Social Science: Italy, Europe and Human Rights (3 credits — Fall Semester Only)

Designed to acquaint students with the main human rights issues confronting Italy and Europe, the course focuses on the changing face of the Mediterranean as new immigrants groups are arriving at unprecedented numbers. This course brings students in direct contact with immigrants themselves. As a result students discover how immigrants in Bologna survive, assimilate or flee from Italy. The interdisciplinary course looks at immigration from anthropological, sociological, theological and legal perspectives. Students are given the option of conducting in a minimum of 24 hours of service work in the community.

Social Science: Italy, Europe, North Africa & Climate Change (3 credits – Spring Semesters Only)

Careers in the field of climate change are rapidly emerging for fundraisers, policy makers, program officers and campaigners. This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the ways in which Italy, Europe and North African nations are responding to changes in the climate. The course uses numerous case studies from Italy in order to understand the impact of climate change. Students begin to understand how different stakeholders respond to land use, water resources, and preserving ecosystems. This class includes “Road Work” assignments, one of which is a service learning trip to assist with a local conservation project. This class will also include assignments to be completed during the Spring Semester Social Justice Trip to North Africa, in which part of the tour focuses on climate change and the Sahara Desert. Students are given the option of conducting in a minimum of 24 hours of service work in the community.

Social Science: Peace and Reconciliation in the Balkans

This summer session course provides a review and offers a critical discussion as to the concept of peace and the capacity for reconciliation in the post war Balkans. The course includes travel and study in Italy, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is a three-week summer session and does not allow time for actual service work.  Students will be exposed to a broad range of local and international service organizations.