Senior Integrative Seminar

This social justice project requires you to be a mandate for change. 

  • The goal fulfills this objective in the syllabus:  Envision, develop, participate in, complete, and reflect on a project of social justice in civic engagement analyzed through the framework of justice and the principles of Catholic social teaching, evidenced in graded assignment
  • Your ultimate goal is to persuade the President or Vice President to act on the social justice issue you are raising in a well-written letter that uses information from one book and one article and addresses one CST and one CWofM theme.
  • Be passionate, be precise, use only credible sources.
  • Follow the directions below OR be creative and write from your heart.  As long as the requirements are fulfilled, it does not matter which paragraph they are in.  Some people are linear, sequential thinkers and need finite directions.  Others are global thinkers. 
  • The following directions have been reformatted from the website:  How to write a letter to the President.  Please refer to the ones listed below on how to actually craft the letter.

As stated on the webpage:  The President of the United States represents people just like you. The best way to have your concerns understood is to write to the President. A letter allows you to introduce yourself, offer your thoughts on a current issue, and express your support or constructive criticism. Each day White House staffers read the letters that arrive and pick 10 for the president to read. If you’re lucky, your letter may be among the ones chosen, and the president may even personally respond.

  1. Type your physical and/or email address flush against the top left margin. The White House asks that you include your email address.
  2. Leave one space underneath your address and type the date against the left margin.
  3. Leave another space and type the president’s name, including the title, against the left margin. Directly underneath his name, write the White House’s address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20500.
  4. Leave one space and type, “Dear Mr. President: ” or “Dear Ms. Vice President:.” You can use their full name if you wish, but always include the President’s/Vice President’s title to remain respectful.
  5. Leave one space and begin the body of the letter.

The next directions are not in “stone” but are merely a suggestion for how to go about introducing your topic and why you are writing.  DO NOT BEGIN YOUR LETTER WITH

“I am ______ and I have to write you this letter as part of my course.”  Points will be deducted if you do so.  Instead, write from your heart as if you were talking to this person right in front of you. 

  1. Paragraph one:  identify the social justice theme which you are addressing, why you are passionate about this issue, and what you are asking him/her to do. 
  2. Leave one space in between paragraphs in the body of your letter.
  3. Second paragraph:  Ask directly for the action you want to be taken. Provide a solution not just a request.  Remember, the President/VP are very busy and YOUR ideas/solutions will help them address the social justice issue quicker. 
  4. Then, briefly summarize the book you have read on the subject or use quotations from it and the article you have read.  No citations are needed, just mention the book, e.g., “As I was reading Climate Justice by Mary Robinson…”  Do the same for the article.  Do NOT summarize the book or article but use a quotation from each that fits into your letter. 
  5. Third, fourth, paragraphs (or somewhere within the text of this letter):  introduce the Catholic Social Teaching theme and Corporal Work of Mercy element this topic addresses.  Incorporate it easily – don’t teach, talk!  See the model for ideas.  Tell him/her what these themes mean to you.   Again, do not write, “I have to use the CST themes…”
  6. Last paragraph:  Thank the President/Vice President for their time and wish them well. 
  7. Leave one space after the last paragraph and type a closing phrase such as, “Sincerely,” or “Thank you.”
  8. Leave four spaces and type your name. Add your email address directly below your name.
  9. Submit to Canvas by the due date/time.  These will be uploaded and either mailed or emailed.

Social Justice Topic Themes:

Here is a list, in no specific order,  of some social justice themes you may choose, but I caution you to only choose the one in which you are passionate.  Remember, this course is all about YOU and your ideas.  If your social justice theme is not listed here, email me for approval.  There are hundreds from which to choose.

  • Management of Power
  • The Constitution
  • Black Lives Matter
  • LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Poverty
  • Homeless Population
  • Healthcare
  • Incarceration
  • Pro Life
  • Pro Choice
  • Voting
  • Dreamers
  • Immigration
  • Insecticides
  • Global Warming
  • Covid-19
  • Pro Vaccination
  • Anti-Vaccination
  • Fair Trade
  • Equal Pay

Grading Rubric for this project (found in the syllabus):

20                             Distinguished: Great depth of understanding and integration with all requirements met; originality and clarity of expression; thorough consideration; compelling and graceful writing; error free.  Earning this grade requires in-depth, scholarly writing.  Sentence structure is varied and worthy of college writing.  This is publishable work. 

19 – 18                       Mastery:  Fine insights, well-developed train of thought or argument; excellent use of examples; articulate expression; good connections to additional material.  There may be a few mechanical errors; however, the writing is scholarly, connections to arguments or ideas are very clear.  Sentence structure is varied and worthy of college writing.

17 – 16                       Proficient:  Good understanding of the issues; accurate and clear in presentation; some development of thought and explanation beyond course material.  There are a few errors in grammar/spelling/conventions.  This category shows an understanding of the issue, but, the sentence structure is not as varied and/or there is not a connection or a deep connection with the issue or the readings.

15 – 14                       Emerging:  Basic understanding is evident; basic presentation, several grammatical, convention errors.  Writing is cursory – most sentences are empty of specific information (e.g., “I met the objectives in the class on global perspectives.”). Many sentences begin with “I” but lack any form of definition in the writing.  The student cannot elaborate on the material.

13 – 12                       Passing.  Evidence of understanding, needs more work in thinking through and articulating ideas; grammatical errors need to be corrected.  In this category, it is difficult to understand the writing and difficult to see the connection with the issues and meeting of the objectives.  Sentences are elementary, many begin with “I,” and/or there is a lack of in-depth thinking regarding the readings.  The student cannot elaborate or make connections to the readings.

11 –                           Unacceptable:  Needs more work to be brought up to acceptable college-level standards; must be redone.

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