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About the Civic Stories Project

St. Olaf students in the American Conversations 102 and Intermediate Photography classes worked in partnership with the League of Women Voters to create these photo essays about Northfield-area community leaders. The fourteen leaders profiled in these essays are involved in a range of political, civic, and humanitarian endeavors in the local community and beyond.

American Conversations students have tended carefully to the question “What does Citizenship mean?” This is a question the class has examined in readings and class discussions, but also by crossing the barrier between “The College” and “The Community”.

The League of Women Voters (Northfield – Cannon Falls chapter) engages in “non-partisan political education and advocacy.” The League encourages people to be informed about both public policy and government and stresses the need for all to engage actively in civic life. “Democracy cannot afford bystanders.”

This Academic Civic Engagement Project began during the first semester of 2011-12, when students engaged with local community members, interviewing and pondering what an active citizen does on behalf of their locale. This enabled students to see how people participate in a local community and, through their actions, better define citizenship. During the second semester, the American Conversations and Photography students teamed up, combining sight and sound to craft these photo essays with the intent of providing profiles of community leaders and examples of engaged citizenship.

We would like to thank the local chapter of the League of Women Voters (especially Bonnie Jean Flom and Mary Carlsen), as well of the following community participants who so generously gave of their time and shared their experiences of action and leadership: Beth Berry, David Bly, Ray Cox, Father Denny Dempsey, Bonnie Jean Flom, Sandi Gerdes, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Erin Mayberry, Kari Nelson, Rhonda Pownell, Susan Sanderson, Jessica Peterson White, Griff Wigley, and Erica Zweifel.

Finally, we would like to thank Laura Romeyn (’12) and Ben Golden (’12), two AmCon alums who helped to develop the ideas and plans for this project.

Raymond Dickson and Christian Johnson
American Conversations students

Eric Fure-Slocum and Megan Feeney
American Conversations 102 teachers

Meg Ojala
Intermediate Photography teacher