What is your definition of social change?
Journal reflection addressing the following:
What is your definition of social change? How does your definition align with Walden’s mission and vision?
How great is the need for positive social change in the global educational environment? How might doing something at the local level have an impact on the wider environment?
Do you feel empowered to lead change in your school setting? Why, or why not?
Please use the links below and attachments for references (must use them):
Sociologists define social change as changes in human interactions and relationships that transform cultural and social institutions. These changes occur over time and often have profound and long-term consequences for society. Well known examples of such change have resulted from social movements in civil rights, women’s rights, and LBGTQ rights, to name just a few. Relationships have changed, institutions have changed, and cultural norms have changed as a result of these social change movements. That’s pretty heady stuff. Don’t you think?
What interests me, and what I hope interests you, is our collective power to influence social change. While we accept that change is constant, we do not have to accept that we are powerless in its wake. It is the extent to which we care about the direction of social change that we can try to shape it and help to create the kind of “change we wish to see in the world.” Whether or not Gandhi actually uttered these words doesn’t matter. What matters is that the phrase begs the question, what kind of change do we wish to see in the world?
As executive director of the 43+-year-old nonprofit, Global Citizens Circle (GCC), I think about this question every day as I work to carry forward the mission of the organization to foster constructive change in our communities, our nation and our world. I imagine that our partner and host institution, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), also thinks about this question on a daily basis as it seeks to “transform the lives of students.”
And surely, our Belfast-based partner, The Social Change Initiative (SCI), thinks about it as it strives “to improve the effectiveness of activism for progressive social change.” We, all three institutions, care and understand that we can influence social change for the better. We may exercise our power to influence change in different ways. GCC does it through discussion among people of diverse opinions and backgrounds. SNHU does it by offering affordable and innovative educational social science degree programs online and similar campus majors, and now even in refugee camps in Africa. SCI exercises its influence by bringing together social activists with philanthropists around the world.
These are lofty goals to be sure, and they demand our constant attention and unrestricted imagination to envision a better world. You may think that’s great, but wonder why you should care, why you should take time out of your incredibly busy schedule to take action and more importantly, how you can even go about helping to create positive social change. I’d like to suggest that it’s not that hard if we begin at the most basic level, that of relationship building.