Democracy in Action
Democracy in Action is a community engagement practice through which CSUSM faculty and students partner with a local city government to conduct research, gathering qualitative and quantitative data to benefit city projects that are back-logged or need additional attention.
Faculty and students work closely with city officials to hone their expertise on specific scopes of work, and the students provide a polished, final report to the city. In the process, students learn about city government, attend city council meetings, become more civically engaged, and ideally consider the prospects of working in local government.
Democracy in Action is modeled after the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) in the Sustainable Cities Initiative at University of Oregon. Whereas the Sustainable City Year Program focuses primarily on sustainability, Democracy in Action emphasizes civic learning and democratic engagement.
CSUSM's Democracy in Action program is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities - Network (EPIC-N), a growing network of educational institutions across the globe using the EPIC Model to partner existing course work and university human capital with the needs of local governments, and communities, to improve quality of life.
Learn more about other network programs at www.epicn.org.
City Government Partner
CSUSM faculty and students partner with the City of San Marcos to conduct research, gathering qualitative and quantitative data to benefit city projects that are back-logged or need additional attention. The Spring 2020 semester marked the sixth semester, after a 3 year hiatus, of Democracy in Action projects in partnership with the City of San Marcos!
The spring 2023 project was a collaboration with the City of San Marcos:
- Organics Recycling Report - Dr. Coral M. Bruni, PSYC 338: Environmental Psychology
The spring 2020 project was a collaboration with the City of San Marcos:
- Parks and Recreation User Survey - Dr. Liz Ridder, GEOG 450: Parks and Protected Areas
For fall 2019, CSUSM faculty worked with the City of San Marcos on one project:
- North City Art Plan Guidelines - Dr. Kristin Moss, AMD 421: Art and Social Change
The CSUSM NewsCenter profiled the project, Public Art Project Reinforces Values of Democracy in Action.
In spring 2018 CSUSM faculty worked with the City of San Marcos on two projects:
- Entrepreneurial Center Project - Dr. Sam Clarke, ENTR 320:Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
- Senior Center Project - Dr. Eliza Bigham, HD 497: Applied Research in Human Development
In our second semester, CSUSM faculty worked collaboratively with the City of San Marcos on two projects; the final reports are linked through the project titles below:
- Parking Study Project - Dr. Jill Weigt, SOC 361: Qualitative Methods in Sociology
- Website and Social Media Analytics Project - Dr. Rebeca Perren, MKTG 484: Marketing Analytics
Our inaugural Democracy in Action project is in partnership with the City of San Marcos. In our first semester CSUSM faculty worked collaboratively with the City of San Marcos on four projects:
- Emergency Medical Services Project - Dr. Matt Atherton, SSCI 495: Capstone in the Social Sciences
- Sports Tournament Project - Dr. Vassilis Dalakas, MKTG 452: Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
- Storm Water Project - Dr. Robert Brown, ECON 421: The Public Economy
- San Marcos Video Project - Jonathan Berman, VSAR 328: Video Art History and Theory
The pilot program was profiled in the CSUSM NewsCenter when the program initially launched.
Each semester, the Democracy in Action Launch brings participating CSUSM students, faculty, and staff together with San Marcos City Council and staff at San Marcos City Hall to celebrate the start of the semester. The reception-style event features remarks from the Honorable Jim Desmond, Mayor of San Marcos and Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, Vice President of Community Engagement at CSUSM. Students tour City Hall and learned about the functions of city government in small-group conversations with city representatives.