Eau Claire-Selma Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip [AND] CJ/WMNS 111: Gender, Race, Class, & Communication

“My trip to Selma, Alabama was a wake-up call. Being born and raised in a small village of Northeastern Wisconsin, I never had a true idea of what racism really was. Selma opened my eyes to the cruelty that is still going on in a country that I believed had put it in its past. I was very wrong. After leaving Selma, I was more aware of the discrimination that was currently happening in Eau Claire.

Next week, faculty member Dr. Nicole Schultz and her CJ/WMNS 111 class will be traveling to Selma to learn about gender, race and class in a unique environment. Schultz wrote a blog post this week on the trip and prior experiences.

Students in Selma hold signs in part of their work to unite. Submitted.
Students in Selma hold signs in part of their work to unite. Submitted.

The overarching goal of the CJ/WMNS 111 course is to provide students with opportunities to investigate the ways in which perceptions of, and experiences with, gender, race, and class are communicatively constructed by engaging in the Liberal Education Goal of Integrative Learning. Integrative Learning consists of three primary Elements: (1) connecting academic knowledge to one’s own lived experience; (2) making connections across disciplines; and (3) applying skills, knowledge, or methodologies gained in one academic or experiential context to a different academic or experiential context. In the CJ/WMNS 111 course, curriculum and assignments are intended to promote and support the exploration of how gender, race, and class identities influence personal, group, public and organizational communication. Coursework culminates in reflection papers in-the-news discussions, and an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) Change Project. The EDI Change Project this Spring 2016 semester will incorporate experiences of students going on the Eau Claire-Selma Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip (ASB0, the purpose of which is to support EDI initiatives on campus in the greater Eau Claire community.

This special offering of the course incorporating the Eau Claire-Selma Exchange ASB is being launched this spring, including 27 students in the course, approximately 1/4 of whom are registered for the to travel to Selma, Alabama with the UWEC Selma-Exchange Domestic Intercultural Immersion trip over spring break for the course project. Students going on the trip and those not going on the trip will work together on the EDI Change Project to incorporate lessons learned and insights garnered from those on the trip to take-on a local course project together for the class intended to intentionally influence the way people in the Chippewa Valley think or behave surrounding issues of race, class, and/or gender.

Here are a few things students have said about the CJ/WMNS 111: Gender, Race, Class & Communication course…

“This class talks a lot about things that one might not normally discuss but it raises important topics and we discuss every viewpoint even if we don’t agree with it.”

“Every day I walk out of that class with a new perspective on life…I’ve learned an immense amount about social issues and I feel like I have a firmer understanding of my own beliefs and ideals.”

Here are a few things students have said about the Selma-Eau Claire Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip…

“My time in Selma was an unforgettable, life changing week. When I first signed up for the trip, little did I know how much I would learn in such a short period of time. I had no idea what we would be doing or seeing and I was most excited to be getting out of Wisconsin into warmer weather. Upon first entering the town of Selma, I could tell this would be much more than a spring break getaway. Segregation was apparent everywhere I looked and I was shocked by how stuck in the past everything was. I felt like I had been put in a time machine and traveled back 100 years. While the social situation in Selma is less than ideal, the RATCo kids, influential speakers, and the children I met while volunteering in the schools are truly living examples of what it means to persevere through seemingly hopeless times. I will never forget my week in Selma. All the wonderful people I met, the kids who will forever inspire me, and the stories of all those who were willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of justice.”

Guarantees of every experience:

  • Meet amazing people
  • Hear incredible life stories
  • Eat delicious home cooked meals
  • Become a part of a movement!”

“In order for someone to understand what Selma is, and what it means to people, they would have to go, and experience it themselves. It’s an experience of a life time, it’s an experience that dramatically, and permanently changes people. I learned love from Selma. The people there are so incredibly full of hope, and love, and happiness, and they never give up. They persevere through impossible things every day, they are a beacon of hope, and there isn’t one person at this university that can’t learn a lesson from them.”

What do you think about this opportunity for students in the CJ Department? Feel free to drop a comment below!



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