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In discussing what social problems my Freshman Seminar class might like to address for their service learning project, the class leaned heavily toward wanting to do something about crime in New Orleans, particularly the amount of violent crime, which struck them on an emotional level that left some of them unable to articulate much beyond anger. "It's just terrible," they said, "and it gets worse and worse all the time and nobody can seem to do anything about it." These reactions struck me in a number of ways, at once similar to the shocked, grief-stricken reactions of victim's families that we've grown too accustomed to seeing in the news, and at the same time far removed from academic literature on the subject by economists, psychologists, and criminologists, that often frame our discussions and study of violent crime and its effects. What's most apparent is that these students feel compelled to address this problem, not from a distance of helping out the communities of the less fortunate, but from the perspective of wanting to help their own communities, because the pain of communities ripped apart by violent crime is in fact their own pain.

The discussion then must turn to what causes young people to turn to lives of crime and violence and what can be done to stem these causes. Lack of viable economic opportunity and lack of education are commonly cited by students and experts alike as causes, and of course the two are related. Economists tell us that even a 5% increase in high school graduation rates can save the country billions of dollars in costs of crime, considering the costs of incarceration, policing, and adjudicating, along with the costs of property lost. Figures like these seem cold, and don't seem to sufficiently target the problem in a way that might issue a stronger call to action. Yet in the face of raw emotions such as those expressed by my students, figures like these sometimes offer the only level of clear thought available. If it seems like absolutely nothing can be done to stop this problem, then perhaps through education, tied to economic opportunity, is the only clear path.

Rising Tide 8 is over — but video coverage of this "conference on the future of New Orleans" is now online. If you missed the live event, which has been hosted at Xavier and sponsored by CAT for three years running, you can still experience some of it vicariously.

All of the main stage panels offered substantive content with potential application for teaching and learning. I've linked these below with suggestions on what disciplines might find the content most relevant.

However, for sheer inspiration and oratory, keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré surely takes the prize. There are some minor technical problems with the audio, but the substance of his speech more than compensates. Listen to this for a strong and stirring message on social and environmental justice in Louisiana. It's a true "call to arms" and must be seen to be appreciated.

Keynote: Lt. General Russel Honore

Of course, no matter your special area of interest, all these videos will be of interest to anyone who cares about the future of New Orleans.

Rising Tide 7

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. will present its 8th annual new media conference centered on the recovery and future of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the University Center of Xavier University of Louisiana.

This year, Rising Tide invites participation from community and university organizations from across New Orleans by issuing this request for proposals for programming, panels, and presentations at the event.  The conference is a one day event with programming presented in a variety of formats including - but not limited to - individual presentations, directed conversations, keynote addresses, and on-stage panel discussions. The space available allows for significant flexibility when it comes to programming proposals.

Successful proposals will address issues relevant to New Orleans and the Gulf South’s ongoing recovery, diverse history, unique culture, or emerging concerns. Additionally, proposals could focus on or incorporate aspects of new or social media, information technology and access, and creative uses of communication. Collaboration between organizations to present programming is encouraged to add multiple and diverse perspectives.  While programming is free to address political topics, Rising Tide maintains a strict non-partisan forum, current elected officials and campaigning candidates for political offices are discouraged from participating in programming.

PROPOSAL FORMAT

Proposals should include the following: a brief description of the topic being considered, with an indication of the relevance of the topic to local issues and what the audience should take away from the experience; a list of participants/presenters that describes their roles to the presentation and describes their relationship to or expertise on the topic; and a draft facilitation plan for how the programming will be presented to the audience, and how the audience will be involved in the presentation through questions, participation, discussion, etc.

Please email brief (2 page max) proposals in plain text, word documents, or PDF attachments to Jeffrey Bostick, Katy Monnot, and Patrick Armstrong at programming@risingtidenola.com.

PROPOSALS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH MAY 31, 2013.

Acceptance notifications will follow within two weeks.

CONFERENCE BACKGROUND

While hosting the event at the Xavier University Center, attendance has averaged more than 300 attendees, media, and volunteer staff annually. The conference content has been live streamed on the web with over 1000 unique viewers during each event, with archives on the Rising Tide website. For this conference, organizers are hoping to coordinate programming for three separate spaces: a large stage-oriented venue with seating for up to 200; a medium venue with seating for between 30 – 40; and a seminar or group discussion venue for seating around 20. Program length can run from a minimum of 30 minutes for presentations or directed conversations in the smaller venues, to hour and a half panel discussion for the stage-oriented space.

Previous conferences featured keynotes by acclaimed local writer Lolis Eric Elie and Tulane University professor of history Lawrence Powell, as well as panel discussions on the status and future of local journalism, changes to the education system, environmental impacts of the oil spill, development of cultural economy, parenting, entrepreneurship, and neighborhood activism. Past speakers have included Treme and The Wire creator David Simon, geographer Richard Campanella, journalist Mac McClelland, entertainer Harry Shearer, and authors David Zirin, John Barry, Christopher Cooper, and Robert Block. The full 2012 conference schedule and list of panelists can be viewed on the Rising Tide website, as well as a list of participating vendors and non-profit organizations.

Conference registration information and publicity will be available online at www.risingtidenola.com. There will be discounted student admission, lunch is included in the price of admission, and vegetarian options will be available.

More information is available:

Rising Tide 8 is sponsored by The Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by New Orleans bloggers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federally built levees. After the disaster, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, and friends of the city and the Gulf Coast region. A number of new blogs were created, and combined with those that were already online, an online community with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, to mark the anniversary of the flood, the bloggers of New Orleans organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the arts, the internet and social media and turning advocacy in the city into action.

CONTACT: Programming Committee programming@risingtidenola.com
WHO: Rising Tide NOLA
WHAT: 8th Annual Rising Tide New Media Conference
WHEN: Saturday, September 14, 2013, 9am – 6pm
WHERE: University Center, Xavier University of Louisiana

A conversation with Dr. David Park of Xavier University of Louisiana about teaching and service learning.

Download Conversation #2

Links referenced in this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #2: Service Learning"