Making Change: Creating a Planet-Positive Communications Campaign

You and other Gen Z “zoomers” stand out for your climate change activism. This course aims to help you take your ideas further, developing new ways of being a force for good in the world.

You’ll gain tools and strategies for making change, starting with an overview of communications campaign planning, from defining objectives and identifying audiences through crafting effective messages to measuring results. You’ll also deepen your knowledge of ideas in the climate-change conversation.

Each student will end the course with a creative brief and strategic outline for a communications initiative. It could be a plan to put to work immediately in your school or town—or featured in a college application portfolio. No special competencies or prerequisite knowledge are required.

Because climate change is vast and our time limited, we focus on one key component of sustainability: the circular economy. In this updated economic model, goods are made with greater attention to what happens when products no longer serve their initial purpose, manufacturers waste less and do more to salvage post-consumer material for re-use, while consumers buy (and throw away) with greater care.

How far can you shift long-held views about consumption? How can you inspire new more environmentally sound habits? This course will start to answer those questions. How far you take it is up to you.

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Writing the Future

Why do dystopian stories keep getting told? Why do we love to read and write these stories? What techniques do writers use to create new worlds? How do these texts allow us to reconsider our own realities?

This course investigates how writers use dystopia and science fiction to not only explore possibilities for the future but to comment on our own present society. Assigned texts will include classic dystopian works like 1984 in addition to more recent contributions to the genre from around the globe. We’ll explore how novels, short stories, and even some films and podcasts comment on topics like the ethics of artificial intelligence, the threat of technological advancement, and the relationship between history and science fiction. We’ll consider where this genre will go in the future and investigate why it appeals to such a vast audience.

Participants will develop their writing skills through essay assignments and short responses. Students will analyze complex texts and practice rhetorical analysis through writing and group activities. Class meetings will focus on collaboration between peers through discussion of both our course texts and student writing. By the end of the course, students will have grown as writers, thinkers, and public speakers.

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Grappling with Infinity

In this course, students will explore the mysteries of a familiar concept: Infinity! Is Infinity even a number? Who thought of it first? What can we do with it, and why is it useful? We will look at Infinity from the perspective of Logic, Set Theory, Algebra, and Geometry, leading us into the study of Limits and basic Calculus. Plus, we answer a truly interesting question: are there different kinds of infinity? If you've ever wondered about the infinite, this is the course for you!

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Understanding Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

This course provides an overview of the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. We open the hood and look inside blockchain to see what it is, how it has evolved, and where it is headed, including Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and Decentralized Finance (DeFi). We examine how these technologies will impact the future of work. Students are encouraged to think about the impact of these technologies on society and how they might become leaders and shapers in these fields.

Students will acquire an understanding and appreciation of these technologies so they can explore further on their own. The course is a mix of instruction, discussion, and guest speakers.

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