DEMOCRATIC IMPLICATIONS OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH GRADUATES WHO WENT ON TO NONPROFIT WORK
Kiesa, Abigail I
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Three trends have been evident in civil society for at least the past two decades: a gap in civic participation between young people with college experience and those without; increasing investment in college student civic participation by higher education institutions; and a narrowing of opportunities for all Americans to participate in civic life. This last point, some believe, is leading to a smaller, more homogenous and privileged group directing civic life, particularly nonprofit organizations, jeopardizing their democratic role. No research has attempted to bring all of these dynamics into conversation. This exploratory research begins to fill this void. By interviewing participants in one multi-year collegiate civic engagement program, we learned the skills, values and identity as "active citizens" graduates took into nonprofit work. Results suggest that lessons from trainings and civic activities within the program impacted the career choices that graduates made and how they conceive of their work.