Nonprofit Administration students advocated for a variety of causes ranging
from gun firing regulations in high fire risk areas to working with the
homeless in San Francisco. Students voiced their concerns through letters
published in local newspapers, attending public meetings, and inspiring one
another to passionately align USF values within their current positions.
main assignment for the course is for students to develop an advocacy campaign
plan,” said course instructor Kevin Hickey. “There is no requirement that students actually
take action based on the plan. However, for several groups over the
years, the policy issue, students’ plan, and the policy process align. The
students become involved and actually undertake advocacy related to their
policy issue. These
are examples of students’ public policy advocacy efforts that grew out of
coursework,” said course instructor Kevin Hickey.
Syri Mongiello, MNA
student and an Oakland resident, wrote a letter to the Oakland Tribune publicly
recommending an open and engaged discussion between the Oakland Police
Department and the city’s residents about high crime rates and gaps in police
coverage. Mongiello called for the city of Oakland to make an investment in law
enforcement and community outreach so the city’s “positive attractions can
start to outweigh the negative issues.” Her letter was published in the Tribune
and has emerged on such websites as InsideBayArea.com.
In an article
published by Vallejo Times Herald, MNA student Stacey Martinez expressed support for local
volunteers to become involved in Vallejo’s Participatory Budgeting. With
Vallejo as the first city in the United States to implement a citywide
undertaking in Participatory Budgeting, Martinez encouraged others to work together
towards improving the city. Martinez herself volunteered as an Assemblies
Facilitator and Budgetary Delegate and hoped to spark the interest of fellow
Vallejo citizens to take part in working towards positive change.
Hillerson-Spear, Alissa Gentille and Juliana Cochnar met with District 6
Supervisor Jane Kim about homeless encampments in the mid-Market street area of
San Francisco. They first collected quantitative data on the number of
encampments, specifically noting whether or not the living situations posed
public safety issues. By collecting concrete information, compiling data, and
speaking to local homeless advocates, this group of MNA students worked to
uncover the true impact of homelessness in the area. They discovered that
District 6 includes growing nonprofits with an interest in improving the area.
A financial analysis quickly demonstrated that it is more cost effective to
provide resources to the homeless population than to place them in jail. The
students are currently working with the local nonprofits to develop workable
solutions to better the area, provide, resources, and improve public safety.
Already employed by a nonprofit that directly relates to prevention and
intervention with homelessness, group member Alissa Gentille is extremely
passionate about these issues. “One of the things that was inspiring was being
able to do something real,” Gentille explained. “It was not a made up project.
I appreciated what I learned in the classroom and was able to apply it to the
real world and real issues that impact me directly.”
Richard Callahan, department chair of Public and Nonprofit
Administration, stated, “In many ways, this exemplifies how the MNA students’
core values, work experiences, current jobs and future aspirations align very
strongly with the USF values of dignity and justice, as well as the USF mission
to ‘change the world from here.’”