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Democracy in Action

Democracy in Action

Democracy in Action is modeled after the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) in the Sustainable Cities Initiative at University of Oregon and is part of a larger consortium of universities and colleges that participate in the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N)

Whereas the Sustainable City Year Program focuses primarily on sustainability, Democracy in Action emphasizes civic learning and democratic engagement. 

In this community engagement practice, the university contracts with the city in the capacity of consultant. 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; 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.

Our inaugural Democracy in Action project is in partnership with the City of San Marcos. 

We launched the pilot in Spring 2017.


Launch Event

On February 28, 2017, the Democracy in Action Launch brought participating CSUSM students, faculty, and staff together with San Marcos City Council and staff at San Marcos City Hall to celebrate the inaugural semester of the program. The reception-style event featured remarks from the Honorable Jim Desmond, Mayor of San Marcos and Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, Vice President for Community Engagement at CSUSM.  Students also toured City Hall and learned about the functions of city government in small-group conversations with city representatives.