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Flash Mobs, Food Myths, and Fantasy: USF’s 10 Coolest Classes


USF students in the class Flash Mobs performed on Earth Day 2014 to promote composting and recycling.

Weave fishing nets, organize the community ’60s-style in Haight-Ashbury and dance through the streets of San Francisco — all for college credit.

For a century and a half, USF’s Jesuit values and commitment to “cura personalis” — educating the whole person — have remained strong, but the university and its professors are constantly reinventing how and what they teach.

Science fiction and fantasy textbooks

That means science fiction and fantasy novels can be textbooks and that the classroom can be a place to challenge beliefs about food and sustainability, like whether eating meat is really bad for the environment. And it means taking advantage of all the city of San Francisco has to offer as an extended classroom, like learning about urban agriculture from celebrated urban farmer Novella Carpenter.

“We’re really starting to figure out how to hit our stride and give our students these amazing opportunities here in San Francisco,” says Morgan Fitzgibbons, adjunct professor of environmental studies. “It just seems like it’s in the right place at the right time, and I’m really excited about what’s happening at USF.”

Education is an activity, not a lecture

Fitzgibbons teaches Haight-Ashbury, the Diggers, and Lessons for Cultural Transformation (video), a class exploring the history and lessons of a street theater and activist group in the Haight-Ashbury of the ’60s.

Fitzgibbons’ seminar is one of USF’s 10 coolest classes, a list compiled by USF's Admissions Department, that includes an urban agriculture class called Tapping the Apocalypse (video) and Flash Mobs (video), whose students coordinated a dance in the center of campus on Earth Day to promote recycling.  

In these classes education is an activity, not a lecture.

Students in the class Haight-Ashbury learn the history and social movements rooted in the iconic San Francisco neighborhood.

In Tapping the Apocalypse, students weave fishing nets, find treasure buried in their trash, and engage with their environment in novel ways.

Written by Monica Villavicencio »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews