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Course on Nonviolence Leads to Nonprofit Donations

Published: January 15, 2010

For the last three years, students in Edesa Scarborough’s Global Issues class have donated their winnings from a semester-long challenge on global cooperation to a local nonprofit organization.

“I’ve been lucky that they’ve won and even more fortunate they have decided to give the money to charity,” said Scarborough, mentioning their only obligation with the money is to use it in a conscientious way.

The money is earned through two major projects in the Global Issues course, Global Village Simulation and Model United Nations. Both are experiential learning tools where students represent specific countries, share each other’s culture and serve in the roles of the leaders and policy makers of those countries, making hypothetical exchanges (through international trade) they feel will better their own country while maintaining or improving world conditions.

At the end of the semester, students vote on which classes did the best job with professors doing the final judging. Cash awards, provided through the Baccalaureate Experience, are divvied out.

“A lot of it has to do with the nature of the course and what we talk about,” said Scarborough of her students’ success.

Scarborough, assistant director of UT’s Baccalaureate Experience, teaches her Global Issues class on violence, conflict and peace studies. Students are exposed to a broad-range of international issues on the topic, including what human behaviors and outside influences lead to more or less violence in society. Required reading includes a book on peace studies.

She said the students are making the connections that the roots of some violence are in the disadvantages of poverty and a lack of education.

“It’s the course itself. It’s a tough, tough course,” she said. “There is a lot of focus on problem solving without war. But the students get to a position where they just get it. They understand it.”

For the last three years, Scarborough’s students have always won at least some portion of the cash prize. The money can be used for cultural experiences like going out to an ethnic restaurant or visiting a museum. Scarborough’s students all have donated their winnings, which range from $250 to $500 a semester, to organizations like UNICEF, I CAN! Community Education Coalition, the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

“In Global Issues, we learned about many aspects of conflict and violence…This misinformation can be stopped early in the classroom: children need to learn important and necessary information in order to get a better understanding of the world and the multitude of cultures,” wrote Imarys Torres ‘11 in a reflection paper after her 2007 fall semester class donated their winnings to UNA-USA Hero which provides school-based support to orphans and vulnerable children living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

"In her syllabus, Dr. Scarborough concludes with a final thought, a lyric from John Mayer, 'Waiting on the world to change.' But what she taught us is that we do not have to wait for the world to change. We, in fact, must be the ones to change it," said Bethany Kreider '10 who was in that fall 2007 class too.

"That knowledge, that empowerment, that challenge from Dr. Scarborough is the reason that my class and I donated our Global Village winnings to charity," Kreider said. "We learned from her that the only way to change the world is to become informed and then to use that knowledge to take action and help in any way possible."

In December, Scarborough’s most recent class donated $500 to The Ophelia Project and The Boys Initiative, specifically for their educational outreach on nonviolence in schools.

"Professor Scarborough's class represented what a college class should teach," said Rachel Meade '13, who took the class last fall. "College isn't just about academics. It's about life, and how you can make your life and the world around you a better place."

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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