When Max Weber coined the term bureaucracy, he certainly had in mind a system that was to be cohesive and consistent. How can the bureaucrats and nonprofit agencies take even fuller advantage of college students to assist them in their administration efforts?
For one thing, many college students have work study grants since most governmental and nonprofit agencies are strapped for cash. The social work program at Weber State is very good in getting their students to volunteer at nonprofit agencies.
"Our curriculum has a system built in to send interns to various agencies so that they get the proper training as social workers," said Dr. Mark Bigler, Social Work Chair at Weber. "Our Community Involvement Center is also really geared toward reaching out to the community," Bigler continues.
The nature causes such as breast cancer (Three-Day Walk), cancer (Relay for Life), and birth defects (March of Dimes walk) are coordinated in getting support from students and community members alike. Nurture causes such as domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, child abuse, animal cruelty, drunk driving, and homelessness are less geared in getting advertising support.
College students can be used more appropriately in these instances. When the awareness months for those nurture causes come around, why not reach out to the college students in a big way to help put the perpetrators on notice with well-coordinated activities to bring attention to these serious causes?
Today's college students have brilliant ideas that can help these causes get noticed. One social work professor, Sean Pressey, took his classes to the Capitol for Democracy Day. These students were so excited to see how bills get passed, and how they can contribute to the political process. Lavarr McBride, a victomology professor, has victims and offenders of violent crimes speak to his classes. Weber State just finished its student elections with the candidates hot on the campaign trail. The energy that the young-young have is just short of amazing.
Erik Erickson, a renowned psychologist, shows that the seventh stage of psycho-social development is critical for the young-old to share knowledge with the young-young. In this seventh stage of generativity versus stagnation, paraphrasing Erickson on his meaning: if you have a strong sense of creativity, success, and of having "made a mark" you develop generativity, and are concerned with the next generation; the virtue is called care, and represents connection to generations to come, and a love given without expectations of a specific return.
Since we cannot read the hearts and intentions of others, it would be totally unfair to judge them about their actions or inactions. They are the ones who have to ask themselves; do I put into practice all the social sciences principles I learned while I was in college? Can these college students help my nonprofit organization run more smoothly without the extra cost?
Let's take Child Protective Services agencies in many states as an example. How many times have we heard of a child that was given back to abusive biological parents due to case overload only to be killed later on? Sometimes victim advocates are not always able to notify victims about pertinent information that the victims need to know before a trial starts. Could the college students help out in these cases by answering telephones or making phone calls on behalf of the extremely busy victim advocates to ensure proper communications to victims' families? In the psycho-social development stage seven, do we have enough "care" to invest the time to train college volunteers to assist in these serious nurture issues? In most cases, they are other family members acting as perpetrators? Can we drum up enough urgency to get more "hands on deck" to put an indentation into some of these pressing social issues?
While it was nice visiting the Capitol on Democracy Day, can the legislators think about visiting campus classes more often when not in session? Social workers, victim advocates, law enforcement officials could all come and sit with the students in class and share what Erickson calls generativity instead of stagnation. Most students, be they Weber State, Utah State, or Utah, would love that camaraderie.
Johnson is a Weber State University student who lives on campus. He is with the campus group, Men of Weber.