Impact RAP: Self Awareness, Social Justice & Service RAP is a year-long Service Learning RAP and program developed and coordinated through the UMass Amherst Office of Civic Engagement & Service Learning (CESL), which integrates social justice theory, learning through community engagement, self-exploration, and self-awareness.
If you are familiar with social justice, service-learning, have participated in service events or even if you have no experience at all, this could be the program for you!
Creating Community Together: Students create a community in the classroom and with their community partners while developing lasting relationships with others across different majors. Impact RAP students will also meet students in other Civic Engagement and Service-Learning programs, attend events on campus, participate in community building activities and retreats. Impact RAP provides students with the opportunity to learn about the diverse communities that live, love, and struggle for social change in Western Massachusetts and the Pioneer Valley. To foster strong relationships inside and outside of the classroom we expect and encourage students towill enroll for both the Fall and Spring courses. Many Impact RAP students have made lifelong friends from their shared experiences. Impact RAP students also have joined clubs together, worked at the same on campus job, and lived together after their first year.
Learning Together: Students that enroll in this RAP course are connected with a community-based organization for both fall and spring semesters. Impact RAP courses ask students to integrate their learning from their lived experiences, their community organizations partnership work, course materials, and activities. Contemplative practices and mindfulness are also central components of learning in the course. Impact RAP students are expected to contribute to our learning community by sharing resources, suggesting topics for conversations, and facilitating dialogues and conversations. Assignments across both semesters of Impact RAP include papers, reflections, art projects, presentations, group projects
Making a Difference: Individual weekly engagement in the community outside of class is a requirement of Impact RAP. Partnering with community organizations gives students first-hand experiences to better understand social justice and build self-awareness. The program provides for a variety of on-line and in-person engagement opportunities. In the past Impact RAP has partnered with organizations that focus on homelessness/houselessness, K-8 education, adult literacy, worker education, food insecurity, and support for new Americans. Impact RAP students are paired with one community organization and require a minimum 3 hours a week of engagement. Some students have enjoyed the engagement work with a community partner so much that they continued their work throughout the rest of their time at UMass.
Contemplative Practices: Mindfulness, or contemplative practice, invites us to be in the present moment and develop compassion for ourselves and to the world around us and during these difficult times personally, culturally, and institutionally maintaining equanimity is essential for social change. The intent of the curriculum is to extend beyond critical thinking and analysis and connect “head, heart, and hands.
Post Impact RAP First Year Experience: Once an Impact RAP student always an Impact RAP student. Students who complete the first year of Impact RAP are still part of the Civic Engagement and Service-Learning community. Some students have gone on to join other programs like the four semester Community Scholars Program and the student run Boltwood Project. Students who complete Impact RAP also fulfill several requirements for the Civic Engagement and Public Service certificate. Impact RAP alums are also invited to CESL events and will continue to receive the Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Newsletter . Alums also have opportunities to mentor Impact RAP students and guest facilitate part of a class session.
Click here to check-out the Civic Engagement and Service-Learning website for other programs and opportunities.
About Terrell James: Terrell James will be a fourth year PhD student in the Anthropology Department. Terrell’s research interests include: Black radical traditions, antiblackness, community-based research and practice, and critical youth studies.He has experience teaching in the public schools and facilitating youth groups. Terrell has been co-facilitating Impact RAP courses for three years with Katja Hahn D'Errico, the former Director of Impact RAP, and has enjoyed every moment.
NOTE: Students will be expected to complete the IMPACT Student Information Form and attend the IMPACT Community Retreat. The Community Retreat will be on Sunday September 4th. The form and retreat information will be sent to you sometime in early August.
Students will enroll together in the following courses:
Read what Fall 2022 instructor Terrell James has to say about the class:
In the Fall Semester RAP course we will deepen our understanding of our own intersecting social identities through reflecting on social justice theory, contemplative practices, and community engagement work. This class will ask us to explore how power, privilege, and oppression shape our lives and how they relate to the work of our partner community organizations. In this course students will also examine the difference between service and critical community engagement so that they can practice cultural humility while working with community organizations. The content of this course will also Reflect our current social and political context which means we will discuss how current events Impact RAP community partners and our lives.
In the Spring Semester RAP course we will continue our thinking about community engagement and social justice. We will investigate how power and inequalities influence how and what we think about our engagement work. We will then redefine engagement through evaluating our experiences with community organizations and integrate academic and experiential learning..
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