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The Importance of Civic Engagement

Throughout the spring semester, I have been enrolled in a course here at UNCG called CST 200: Communication and Community. I remember, very vividly, planning my schedule for this semester and thinking that this course would be the one I disliked the most. I even allowed myself to procrastinate and put it off until Spring semester. The course requires 20 hours of service learning to be completed out in the Greensboro community and I wasn’t exactly excited about the thought of venturing into a community that I wasn’t very familiar with. Now that we have come to the end of the semester, all the papers have been written and all the presentations have been given, I can say without a doubt this has been one of the most eye opening courses I have taken at UNCG. I didn’t realize, until I took this course, that all I was doing was living in Greensboro and that this was unfortunately not enough. It is our duty as community members to engage with those in our communities to make improvements and help those in need.

Besides the friends I had made, the UNCG campus was the only community in Greensboro that I knew. After the first few weeks of class, it had become very clear to me that there is much more that Greensboro has to offer. There are various community organizations in Greensboro, such as the Greensboro Participatory Budgeting Project and International Advisory Committee, who are advocating for the needs of community members to improve the lives of those who don’t always have a say. This course exposes the overwhelming amount of inequalities in the city of Greensboro, many of which are hidden in plain sight such as the lack of street lights in underfunded communities, for example.

This course has taught me that we can’t just sit back and complain about the negative things in our community, we have to communicate with others, advocate for change and influence those around us to do the same. Now that I have taken this course, I feel as though I will never just live in a community. I now feel that it is and will always be my duty to be engaged in my community, advocate for others, and have compassion for those around me no matter what community I live in.

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