Research 2 (Replacement) Feed Fredericksburg; Making our Community Better; Caroline Cerand; Section 1

Caroline Cerand

Research 2

Section 1

Throughout my life I have always wanted to help people by making things better for the community; eventually, I hope to run a non-profit organization that will benefit those communities in need. Based on this interest and life goal, I decided to run for a position within University of Mary Washington’s Athletic Department for doing community service— the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Service Coordinator. Throughout the academic year, I have been organizing, planning, and implementing the community service opportunities for the department to do. Our first service opportunity was completed this fall: the canned food drive, where the Athletic Department partnered with Residence Life and Dining Services to collect nonperishable food for the Fredericksburg Food Bank. This experience not only benefitted the Fredericksburg community, but also showed me how people see their own power and how power has to be shared among different people.

In the past, each of the three different departments would have their individual food drives, which, in turn, led to minimal donations from the overall UMW community. For example, with the Athletic Department’s drive, there was a competition among the athletic teams to see who could get the most food (by weight), so many teams would buy giant containers of foods that the Food Bank could not use and had to throw out; also, the Residence Life and Dining Service food drives were very small because they were only a week long and were not promoted well to students. Seeing as these were unsuccessful in raising the food needed for the Food Bank, we combined our efforts to get as much food as possible from the various parts of the school. Next, the food drive is typically held at most ten days before Thanksgiving break, which does not give students a lot of time to make a donation. This year, we found the top most needed items for the Food Bank and for each of the seven weeks leading up to the week before Thanksgiving break, we had a different item for people to buy and donate to the drive. Although it was difficult to manage and promote the different canned goods that needed to be donated to the drive, it was beneficial that we mostly donated what the Food Bank wanted. Overall, this was a very successful canned food drive because the Food Bank was able to get their top most needed foods and the entire UMW community was able to beat our goal weight and raised over half of what was raised last year.

Since the canned food drive was being run by three departments within the University, power had to be distributed in a way that each person from the different departments had a part of running the drive. The driving forces behind the service mostly came from the Athletic Department and Dining Services, which each had multiple people involved in the process. Sitting in on meetings, I was able to see who from the departments would take the lead with the project, who thought they had the power, and who actually held the power. The distribution of power flowed as such: Food Bank – Dining Services – Athletic Department – Student Coordinators (me) – SAAC – the Student Body. The Food Bank would tell UMW Dining Services what needed to happen; then Dining Services would make most of the decisions as to how we were going to contribute and told Athletics what we could and could not do, even though there was a supposed shared power from these two departments. Athletics would then have the Coordinators initiate who would do what task from the SAAC board, who would get the rest of the student body involved. However, some of the people with more power disagreed with each other as to how we should actually do the service. For example, one of the heads in Athletics did not want to have the drive to be seven weeks because it exceeded the limited days we were supposed to have the drive in another competition just for Athletics; we discussed that even if the seven weeks exceeds some regulation in an exclusive competition, the overarching goal was to feed Fredericksburg and raise as much food to help out our community. Although there were many opinions as to what we should do for the food drive, at the end of the day, it was a community service for the entire UMW community to participate in for the Fredericksburg Food Bank.

This experience further helped my knowledge of what community power is by showing me that even if there is some event or service for the community, people who are used to being in charge will want to keep their power and do things the way that they want them done. Some of the power I had was minimal since I still am a student and had to do what the people in the departments wanted for the drive; however, I had a little more power than the rest of the student body, since I would initiate some of what the students had to do for the service. The power had to be delegated to the people running the service, but some of the people who were delegating the power kept most for themselves, since they did not want to give it up for a service to the community. Even if the overarching goal is to help the community and do a service to better the community, people who have power do not want to lose it and will have their own means to reaching the overarching goal.

Routine turns Non-Routine at UMW; Caroline Cerand; Reaction Paper 3; Section 1

The 2014-2015 academic school year for University of Mary Washington students was pretty tough, with the tensions between the administration and the student body at an all-time high. Certain student run organizations felt as if the administration was not taking them seriously and not listening to their concerns about the school. The student’s frustrations peaked in the spring, which lead to the student body voicing their opinions in some unconventional ways. With all of these forms of protest that occurred within the UMW student body, I will use one protest, the Divest UMW sit-in, to explain who holds the power on a college campus and the theory of organizational protest that can be applied to the UMW sit-in.

To sum up the sit-in, a student organization, Divest UMW, wants the school to break away from using fossil fuels that are killing the environment. The students requested to have a sub-committee to look at other options to divest from the fossil fuels, and President Hurley stood behind them at first, until the Board of Visitors decided to decline their request. Then, the students protested this decision by sitting in George Washington Hall. Even though this was a peaceful protest, the school sent police in to clear the hallway and arrest the students who did not leave.

In the article, Breakdown Theories of Collective Action, Bert Useem explains the different theories of organizational protest. One theory is “routine collective action,” which is a more organized protest that is built on solidarity, and includes peaceful protests and rallies; the other theory is “non-routine collective action,” which is when rules break down and the protests end up being more unorganized and break away from solidarity, which can turn into rebellions and riots. Each of these kinds of protests is very different, but effective in the fact that if the people protest in either of these forms, then their concerns would be heard and then there could be a change in the norm.

Useem also tries to argue that young people are the ones who are more active in participating in protests and commit crimes from these protests; however, anyone can participate in any kind of protest if the issue at hand is affecting them. For example, with the Divest UMW sit-in, students were not the only participants, people from the community who are passionate about divest came and sat in with the student organization, such as “…Fredericksburg resident Yanina “Nina” Angelini, 26, who all were arrested by state police for refusing to leave a sit-in in support of divesting the school’s endowment from fossil fuel corporations” (Free Lance Star).

The Divest UMW sit-in can be considered a “routine collective action” protest. The sit-in was peaceful and no one was being harmed during the time that the students were sitting in the building. Although the protest grew from people in the Divest organization to anyone passionate about having the students voices heard, the students were under a form of solidarity and organized the protest. However, once the building became overfilled with students, the school decided that it was a health hazard to have that many students in the protest. Instead of talking it out with the students, the school sent an arrest warning to the protesters and ended up arresting two students and the Fredericksburg resident. Once the police became involved, the “routine collective action” protest turned into a somewhat “non-routine collective action” protest because once the police became involved things got a little hectic and disorganized because as some people were leaving, they were arrested anyway. Even though the school gave warning to the protesters, arresting students for peacefully protesting the schools decision seems a bit over the top because no one was rioting and ruining the school. One of the protesters, Noah Goodwin, sums up the event by claiming “’This is a public university and it is not acceptable to treat students this way,’” Goodwin said. “’The cornerstone of the university is its students’” (Free Lance Star). All in all, the students protested in a non-violent, “routine collective action” way and the school took it as a “non-routine collective action” protest and arrested the students who remained in the building after the arrest warning.

Overall, this situation goes to show how even at a college campus, where most, if not all, students are adults, there are limits on what students can and cannot do. Most of these limitations schools put on the student’s voices is because the schools do not want negative things being said about the school in the media. In order for the school to keep everything in order and to seem more appealing to the incoming students, measures have to be taken to keep any kind of protest or negative thing said by the school under the radar, but this is a double-edged sword in the fact that when the school puts a stop to student-run organizations or protests, then it shows how the school degrades the students by not letting them voice their opinions.   demonstrate/article_346a1eba-e48b-11e4-8ed8-7bfbaa323f70.html

Police abuse of power leads to loss of power

The past couple of years have been tough with the conflicting interests between people living in urban areas and the police enforcement of the certain city. The protests throughout New York, Ferguson, and Baltimore describe how people have been feeling about police brutality in the cities. Since the people were so unhappy with the way that police were treating citizens, and they were not able to do much  about it because officers hold more power from the government, rioting seemed like one of the only way to prove to the government and the police force how abused they felt by the force. Coming from the riots, the local governments decided to do something about the issue—make police officers wear cameras when on duty. This has been done in only a couple of cities, but the results have been effective. Also, the fact that people were able to make a change with the police enforcement shows that people do hold a certain power over the branch of government, and can change the norm if they feel like the officials are abusing their power.

CommPow Research Paper 1

Letter to the elected officials; Section 1; Reaction 2

To the elected officials of Paz, GA:

As you know, Paz has always been described as just your cliché, average small town. Everyone who lives here has lived here their whole life; everybody knows everyone one way or another. The actual area of Paz is not that large either; everything is local and we only have a couple of commercial shops. Remember when we got our first Wal-Mart? Other than that, not much has changed in the past couple of decades.

Our small suburb of Atlanta, GA has always been a quiet, non-commercial section of Georgia. Atlanta, however, has been growing and more young people keep moving into the city. Since they are all moving in, young families from the city are beginning to move out of Atlanta and into our little suburb. This expansion has been great for businesses and the community! These new families are keeping their jobs in the city, which is not bad, but you, as our newly elected officials, think that something needs to change.

There is really only one route to get to the city from Paz, and that is the main highway, and without traffic, it usually takes about 35 minutes to get there. However, we can always count on having traffic because of commuters and just the daily hustle and bustle of city life. To the knowledge of the townspeople, you have a partnership with a large transportation corporation. In order to help with our new traffic problem, there is a proposal to partner with this large corporation to put a subway or train station in Paz.

There are both benefits and consequences to having this built in our community, so let us start with some of the pros to having this built. First, it will allow for temporary jobs to get the station actually built (and who knows how long that will take); it also opens up the opportunity for people to have permanent jobs working in the station. Also, building this will allow for easy access to the city and commuters will not have to deal with as much traffic going to and from work. With that, our little town will be able to expand into different communities and we will not just be in our own little world anymore.  Overall, it will be able to help Paz expand and grow to thrive in this new and changing world.

However, there are some downsides to having a train station built here. The first, and most obvious, is that there is no room in Paz for a train station. That means that our already super small town will have to downsize and some houses and neighborhoods will have to be eliminated for space. These families who will have to move will either be moving away from their lifelong homes or their new homes. Also, the construction of the station will turn potential residents of Paz away from the community. As I have mentioned before, the construction of this station will create some temporary jobs—key word being temporary. Who knows where these unemployed residents will end up after working on building the station? Also, the corporation will need employees to operate the station, but we don’t know if there are already people with experience and training within the corporation who have a job; it will take the opportunity away for the people of Paz to get a job if they need one. Further, the project is expensive! We will have to pay for the project with additional taxes, and will probably be in debt to the corporation long after the station has been built and used.

Although I agree that we probably need an expansion of transportation for Paz, I do not think that having a train station is the best option. Another option that I think will be beneficial to Paz is the addition of a second highway that will connect Paz to Atlanta. I also propose that we do not jump the gun with building the train station, let’s have a town hall meeting with the residents of Paz to discuss the best option for us as a community.

Let’s try to keep the small town charm that we have, but also expand the community beyond the borders of Paz.


Caroline Cerand

A lifelong resident of Paz, GA


*Note: Paz, GA is not a real community

Caroline Cerand; Reaction 1; Section 1

Critical Synthesis with the continual use of the three dimensions of power.

For the first part of our class, we discussed the distribution of power and who actually holds power in a community. To understand power and where power comes from, we had to understand three dimensions of power, as discussed in Sadan’s “Empowerment Spreads/Theories of Community,” and how each of these dimensions influence how decisions are made by the people who hold power. These dimensions of power create relationships between those in power and those who do not have power. After understanding this relationship, we learned how power is divided among the elite and how they divid power among themselves, from Kweit & Kweit “Political Machines: 176-186;” and afterwards, how minorities react to these people in power compared to when a minority gets power, which is presented in Marschall & Shah’s “Attitudinal Effects of Minority Incorporation.” As time passes on, even in today’s day and age, the relationship between those in power and those out of power has been strained.

In order to understand the transitions of power and how power is shifted, we must first know the three dimensions of power Sadan proposes in “Theories of Power.” The first dimension of power is overt power, which is when someone has the power to tell the powerless what to do. The second dimension of power is covert power, which is when the powerful sets the agenda for discussions to only talk about what they want to have said and avoids conflict, so they can ultimately keep their power. The third dimension of power is used by the person with power to manipulate others with a basic belief understanding to have similar views as them. Sadan focuses on how each of these dimensions of power creates a relationship between those in power and those who do not have power. Sadan also talks about how the powerful group can be overpowered by those without power, only if there is conflict and full participation in the overturn of power. These dimensions of power show the constant straining relationship between those in power and those without power.

Political machines are those in power, who are also able to keep their power. They make executive decisions so they can keep their power and focus on their own needs, by keeping their voters happy because they give them what they want and need in return for votes. These political machines used the three dimensions of power by actually having the power and controlling what the powerless do by keeping their votes (overt power). They also set the agenda for what is talked about in community meetings (covert power) by marketing themselves to their audience: the powerless (shaping beliefs). Kweit & Kweit discuss in “Political Machines: 176-186;” how the political machines were able to gain and keep their power because they had the money to do so, and the powerless kept giving these machines their votes because the power group knew how to appeal to the powerless. Eventually, the political machines lost their power because the government stepped in to help the underprivileged and/or powerless get their voices and votes back from the machines, but this lead to another form of power from the government.

After the government took over the political machines, they gave those without power the power to vote and create more districts for voices within the communities which are still in effect today. However, not all of the districts and communities are the same— some have more resources and money than others. The district politicians have taken over as the powerful group and use the dimensions of power to hold their power over the powerless by seeming more appealing than the political machines. Also, there is a new minority group that formed from the decline of the political machines and the rise of these electoral reforms. Throughout most of our history, it has been that privileged, white males held power; and, only in recent history, has it been that minorities have gained some of the power. The minority class, however, still feels as if they have little power or control in the government and still have a distrust of their local government, according to “Attitudinal Effects of Minority Incorporation.” The results go on to show that there is only a psychological or symbolic benefit for minorities (powerless) since their environment does not change too much over time, even when there is a minority with power. The dimensions of power are in the hands of the minority leader, but the powerless still do not have a voice in decision making because the privileged/powerful group influences the leaders with decisions since they also hold some power from their money and network.

The transition from political machines to electoral reforms give the minority class a little more voting power, but the political power still stays within an elite group, which changes over time. Each of the groups with power uses the three dimensions of power to maintain their power and it will be a continual cycle of who holds the actual power and how they maintain it. Those in power will be able to tell the powerless what to do (dimension 1) by setting their own agenda (dimension 2) and making their views more appealing to the powerless (dimension 3). Each of the articles show how the dimensions of power are used by the powerful to maintain their power over the powerless, but the powerful group can change.

Section 1: Friday’s Reading

Hey y’all, I’m leading discussion on Friday and wanted to let you know about the readings. Both are important to what we will be talking about, but it is a-okay to skim over the parts (in the Marschall & Shah article) where they discuss the police enforcement and the community’s trust with the police. I also found this article that maybe a little easier to grasp this idea/discussion: link.

I will also look for some other articles that may help if you need it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

See ya Friday!