First-Year Scholar Civic Engagement Curriculum

Welcome first-year and other participating Puksta Scholars!

Part One – Civic Engagement Foundations

First day of classes – September 27th


  • Scholars identify a starting place for their Puksta endeavors
  • Scholars describe the core facets of critical service learning
  • Scholars differentiate between charity and solidarity
  • Scholars understand the Puksta Foundation’s approach to Civic Engagement

Part Two – Power, Privilege & Oppression

September 29th – October 28th


  • Scholars develop a shared vocabulary for their engagement throughout the Puksta program
  • Scholars explore how privilege and oppression occur on the individual, cultural, and systemic levels in their own lives and in broader social contexts
  • Scholars understand and apply an intersectional lens to their engagement with eco-social justice efforts
  • Scholars differentiate between “diversity & inclusion” and “equity & justice”
  • Scholars develop a critical self-awareness of their identities
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Part Three – Visionary Organizing: Case Studies

November 2nd – January 20th


  • Scholars explore and interpret the following community organizing philosophies and skills:
    1. Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown: Methods for change work that embrace complexity, interdependence, and transformation.
    2. Mutual aid by Dean Spade: Solidarity-based support in which people work cooperatively to meet the needs of everyone in the community .
    3. Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samasinha: Radically reimagining the ways our society is structured, uplifting visions and models for care webs that create collective access from the lens of disability justice
    4. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: Recognizing the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world.
    5. The Nap Ministry social media from Tricia Hersey: Rest is resistance.
  • Scholars develop a personal community organizing philosophy that will guide their endeavors throughout the Puksta program
  • Scholars begin to analyze the root causes of social injustice

For the duration of Part 3 – To broaden and deepen your knowledge of community organizing philosophies and skill sets, please follow the following organizers on social media, as well as one additional community organizer of your choice:

  • adrienne maree brown: Instagram = @adriennemareebrown, Facebook = Adrienne Maree Brown
  • Dean Spade: Instagram = @spade.dean, Facebook = Dean Spade
  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samasinha: Instagram = @leahlakshmiwrites, Facebook = Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samasinha
  • Robin Wall Kimmerer: Facebook = Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Tricia Hersey’s organization The Nap Ministry: Instagram = @thenapministry , Facebook = The Nap Ministry
  • Community Organizer of your choice. Here is a list of great community organizers that the Puksta Foundation recommends.


During the month of November….

During the month of December…

During the month of January…




INTEGRATION ASSIGNMENTS – Questions/Prompts for Retreat Discussion

Part Four – Visionary Organizing: Building Relationships

January 22nd – February 28th


  • Scholars recognize relationship building as an integral facet of community organizing 
  • Scholars study and apply techniques for engaging in relationship development

Part Five – Visionary Organizing in Action

March 2nd – April 24th


  • Scholars observe visionary organizing in action and make connections to civic engagement principles and visionary organizing principles and case studies 
  • Scholars articulate the “Story of Self” component of their public narrative 
  • Scholars brainstorm next steps for their second year in the Puksta program