Introduction to Social Impact
September 11 brought a dramatic surge in what Americans expected of themselves and their civic institutions. Americans reported increased interest in all aspects of public life, including voting, volunteering, and careers in government. Three years later, however, the interest has yet to produce a parallel increase in civic activity. This course will provide undergraduate students an opportunity to examine the promise of public service embedded in American history and contemporary events, while exploring the perils of participation that may explain the public's reluctance to actually engage. The course will also explore competing definitions of public service, as well as proposals for increasing civic engagement through various forms of national service, including the draft. The course will feature occasional guest lectures by leading public servants in New York City, as well as student research on just what public service means today.