The lack of Respect for Somalians Living In Minnesota

Last week while riding the metro to Downtown Minneapolis I saw a Somalian woman enter the train pushing a stroller with her young infant. While walking to a seat the wheel of her stroller hit against the shoe of another passenger followed by a loud shout, “Hey woman watch your damn wretched shit”. The lady whispered several apologizes before embarrassingly sitting down opposite the woman who continued to holler expletives under her breath.

I watched in shocked as an elderly Somalian man walked towards the lady and covered the roof of the stroller with a blanket. I came off the next stop and walked towards The Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.

In the DMV office Somalians scurried back and fort from the counters to the lobby area speaking in their native language while filling out tax and permit forms. My attention was drawn by a very rude clerk that broke the silence of the beeping monitor requesting number C15. “lady you failed the test you only got twenty three right, move out of the line”. The woman seemed both embarrassed and confused as all eyes were fixed on her from the outcome of her permit test. She collected her identification card and walked slowly towards the exit.

As she neared the door someone called out to her, ” isku day inaad mar mar soo socda walaashay”. She smiled and walked towards the stairway.

The Somalian community faces many inequalities and remains an isolated group throughout the capital and its outskirts. Howard Waitzkin highlights C Wright Mill’s quote that the troubles a person experiences arise in the context of broader social problems. 

“By portraying immigrants as different, the public tends to fear them, and as a result, immigrants live in fear that they will be deported because they are too different”

Hacker et al  in “The impact of immigration and customs enforcement on immigrant health: perceptions of immigrants in Everett, Massachusetts, USA.”  found that immigration policies, and enforcement, has increased immigrants’ fear of profiling and deportation. This increase of fear has had a negative impact on immigrants’ health. The article reveals that “immigrants’ experience of stigmatization translates to stress, isolation, and marginalization which leads to depression, and anxiety, lack of personal empowerment, and many other health problems.

Threatening to deport billions of these documented immigrants has highlighted multiple dimensions of racism, specifically the relationship between individually mediated racism and health. Racism reliably produces and reproduces social and economic inequities along racial and ethnic lines in the United States. There is a link between race and the treatment of immigrants. These fears breeds disparities as there is a relationship between deportation and emotional wellbeing.

Disparities in Health Care

In Sontag, D. (2008). “Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals.” The quote that resonated with me the most was in Sontag, D. Immigrants facing deportation by U.S.. hospitals, where the mother of Luis said, “Every time, he loses a little more of himself”. US hospitals are repatriating seriously injured or ill immigrants due to high medical expenses since many of them are without insurance. Since Medicaid does not cover long-term care for illegal immigrants nor for recent legal immigrants. As such, hospitals are under obligation by federal regulation to arrange post-hospital care for patients who need it. As such they have to find the means to provide them with care.

According to Dr Steven Larson, “Repatriation is pretty much a death sentence in some of these cases, I’ve seen patients bundled onto the plane and out of the country, and once that person is out of sight, he’s out of mind.”

In Viruell-Fuentes et al. More than culture: structural racism, intersectionality theory, and immigrant health we see how the use of invariable definitions of culture in public health research risks accommodates racial/ethnic stereotypes. Disparities in health care in forms of oppression and marginalization influences the health of many immigrants. Scholars highlight how everyday experiences of racism or unfair treatment impact health . For Latino, Asian, and Black immigrant groups, “becoming American” involves contending with ideologies that render them racial “minorities” and the stigmatized meanings that the racialized society ascribes to their specific group. Some groups assume a racial formation to be perceived as white.

The article further stated that U.S. born minority group members, compared to immigrants, experience higher levels of perceived discrimination and a stronger association between discrimination and health. As such, Latino, Asian, and Black immigrant groups, “becoming American” involves contending with ideologies that render them racial “minorities” and the stigmatized meanings that the radicalized society ascribes to their specific group. They are branded by their race even though they are “by the books” Americans. This is referred to as “therapeutic panacea,” where immigrants are seen as equally threatening as their legal counterparts due to their socioeconomic status and race.



Golden Balloons in the sky

The Day We Met


From the moment we met,
I knew you were the one
With whom my life would be spent
I knew it was you
Who would be my lifelong partner
And my best friend;
You could call it intuition,
A gut feeling, a sixth sense

I remember clearly
The day that we met
The words that were spoken
The emotions left unsaid
The excitement that was felt
The way you made me smile
The way my heart would melt
The wonder, the anticipation
The way I was alive
With joy and pure elation
All the ways you made me feel
As if it were yesterday

From the moment we met
I knew you were the one
With whom my dreams would be shared
I knew it was you
I never thought I’d find someone
Who would stand by my side
Through all my up’s and downs
Someone who would give me
The benefit of the doubt
Even when I was wrong

Falling In Love


Falling in love with you was easy
Everything about you
Your smile, your kindness
Your caring heart
Eased any doubts I had, not about you
But about love and giving my heart away

I found comfort in the way
You embraced who I am
For all of my qualities and all of my faults
You allowed me the freedom to be myself
To express my emotions, to show my fear

Falling in love with you was easy
Letting you love me in return
Awakened my fears that one day
You would not be there for me to love

I found a strength
In the reassurance you offered
Which allowed me to accept your love
Although, I may still feel scared
From time to time
It’s only because in you I’ve discovered
A lifetime of love
A world full of dreams come true
A partner, a soulmate, a friend
All of which I never want to lose

Embracing Happiness


Happiness is waking up to you every morning;
seeing you smile and knowing what makes you happy.

Happiness is sharing intimate moments throughout the day;
a glance, a phone call, a private text.

Happiness is lying down next to you at night;
knowing that next to me is every dream I’ve ever had.

Happiness Is Ours

Choosing Love


I knew that when I met you
I’d found a special soul
But all you got from me were struggles
A path of ups and downs
And you patiently waited
As I tried to figure it out

I tried so many times
To give you the perfect me
But somewhere deep inside
I was lost internally

You were such a perfect love
And an even better friend
Everything I could ever want
But I would never let you in

I tried so hard to overcome my fear
Of what allowing you in would do
And all I ever gave
Was the most imperfect me

I never knew that I could find anyone who could love me for who I am
And look past my mistakes
I never knew I had it in me
to give myself away like this

I never knew that I could love anyone
As much as I love you
I never believed I’d find someone
Who could love me
As much as you do

Happy Anniversary Cole!


Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, makes a huge touchdown by raising $1,060,005 for the Strong Against Cancer initiative at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. His efforts were supported by co-host and NASCAR driver  Kasey Kahne who helped to make The DRIVE fundraising event a success.

The check was presented at the Seattle Seahawks game against the cowboys on August 25.


Russell Wilson was backed by  CEO of Seattle Children’s Hospital Dr. Jeff Sperring,  Sara Osborne, Director of Safeway Foundation and Albertsons Companies Foundation, Kelly Kahne a resident of Enumclaw, and  Dr. Gary Kaplan is Chairman & CEO of Virginia Mason Health System.

Wilson and Washington native Kahne have been apart of The DRIVE for three years.

The event was held at Suncadia Resort and Tumble Creek Golf Course inclusive of a golf tournament, concert and auction. Safeway running also collaborated with the two philanthropists by keeping an in-store promotion for customer donors during the month of July.  


The Drive two day exclusive event also accommodated more than 600 patrons. There was a jam concert with a medley of musicians and artists. The bidding was sponsored by Virginia Mason where Russell Wilson auctioned football passes to the patrons and Kasey Kahne signed autograph NASCAR diecast cars.

Russell Wilson’s drive to help those who are victims of cancer was inspired by his father Harrison Wilson III who battled with cancer and survived for three additional years after doctors predicted he had three hours to live.

kasey fund raising

“I believe in miracles, I’ve seen it happen,” Wilson said

Strong Against Cancer is a communal initiative inspired by the immunotherapy research at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. The drug works as an ally with the immune system to locate abnormal mutating cancer cells and destroy them.

Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer at Seattle Children’s expressed gratitude for Russell Wilson’s and Kayne’s efforts to support the campaign.


Russel remains a significant part of the Seattle Children’s Hospital and a inspiration for the families who visit. He is hope to all the children that they are strong fighters! #STRONGAGAINSTCANCER

The Media Richness Theory is Wrong – Undergraduate student vs Daft and Lengel

Application of Media Richness Theory

Most companies for improved productivity increasingly turns to members who work in remote locations. Worker performance improves when managers use richer media for equivocal tasks and leaner media for non equivocal tasks (Daft and Lengel 1986, Daft et al. 1987 as cited in Dennis, 1998). Many interns communicate only via email with their employers. Dennis in his journal highlights that people sometimes choose a medium specifically to avoid faster feedback. A employer may deliberately choose a text-based medium for emotionally laden information to allow the receiver time and privacy to respond appropriately to the information. An employer may have chosen this route because this allows he intern a significant amount of deadline flexibility in completing each task. According to Dennis, Face-to-face communication has higher feedback compared to computer-mediated communication when both parties are co-located and easily accessible. A company in close proximity arguably would allow for media rich communication  to occur, the effectiveness of a media is based on the equivocality of the message. 

Channel Equivalence”

Employers usually have the upper hand on what channels they use to communicate with their employees.  Several studies have found empirical support for this to account for differences in the way individuals choose between traditional and new media for communicating. Some employers may have chosen email as the central means of communicating not because they want to avoid having to give immediate feedback, but because email allows users to access their own personal messages through their own desktop device. (Shinnawy, 1997). Email systems grants the composing and editing of messages and affords a number of documentation storage, search and retrieval capabilities, that is not possible for richer medium. In a 1997 study done by Shinnawy, he found that users believed that the vocal cues in richer media also introduced both noise and distortion into a message. Email was believed to convey the true meaning of a message more accurately because it eliminated these distracting and misleading cues. Having the tasks in email allows interns to go back and review the task if necessary. Perhaps some employers prefer accessibility over communication equivocality.


Asynchronous Channel

Another formidable argument surrounds the availability of the employer and intern to use richer media. Some internships run throughout the spring semester and may create conflicting schedules. Email would prove ideal because it allows employer to be productive during times of conflicting availability. With this choice of communication both parties are allowed to plan, contemplate, make comments more mindfully and  deliberately than what would’ve been allowed with richer media. (Griffin, Ledbetter, Sparks, 2016). Email is also more convenient when sharing and saving word documents and spreadsheets for work assignments.

Communication Skills (Giving Feedback)

Some remote writing internships do not offer supervisory feedback from employers. Many interns are treated like professional editors, with no one to seek for advice on the quality of the work produced; “Just get the work done”. For typed media, the lack of verbal and nonverbal cues have a large latitude of effect on feedback. It imposes significant transmission delays because it takes longer to type a message than to speak it. Interns end up having to constantly refresh their email to see if they have received a response from their employer. The ability of emails to transmit multiple cues can affect the message and as such something as complex as writing and editing content for another individual can result in problems.


The elimination of verbal and nonverbal cues by typing imposed delays and reduced the immediacy of sequential feedback from employers. Feedback is important for clarifying information and allowing convergence on the decision, and as such multiple media forms are required to ensure mutual understanding on the given task.(cf. Markus 1994 as cited in Dennis, 1998). Sometimes direct communication is required to clarify information. If wrong assumptions are made and the writing redrafted incorrectly, then the company could be put on blast for falsifying information. A 1999 study done by Suh revealed that the video medium was much closer to the face-to-face medium than the audio medium in terms of decision time and task satisfaction, regardless of tasks. As a communication studies student, I have concluded that Media switching is the best choice in effective communication.

Equivocal messages and Ambiguity

Sometimes writing tasks given by email may not be the best choice of communication. Tasks of uncertainty lack sufficient information and could be executed by obtaining and sharing the needed information. Equivocal tasks, on the other hand, were those which had multiple and possibly conflicting interpretations of the available information, presenting a challenge for individuals to arrive at one shared meaning of the information (Dennis, 1998). Misinterpretation of tasks can result in time wasted. If a task is equivocal then the intern will fail to yield what the employer wants. Richer media in this case would allow direct communicate and instant feedback to eliminate misconceptions. However, a simple task can be easily given via email (leanest media) and still be effective.

Communication Skills (Receiving Feedback)

Feedback is important when acknowledging the speed and effectiveness of communication because it enables the sender to recognize the extent to which the receiver understands the message and to adjust the message presentation accordingly. Research suggests that the elimination of simultaneous feedback increases the number of words senders use to communicate messages. As the delay between  email feedback increased so did the time required to complete a task. (Kraus and Bricker 1966, Kraus and Weinheimer 1966 as cited in Dennis, 1998). If a richer media was used, the employer can easily recognize that the task is misunderstood and attempt to clarify or paraphrase it. This rapid feedback would enable the use of certain communication patterns that would minimize the time required to achieve understanding (Kraut et al. 1982, Leavitt and Mueller 195, as cited in Dennis, 1998).

Media Synchronicity

Equivocality exists when there are multiple interpretations for the information or the framework with which to interpret it. It requires adequate conversation to converge to arrive at a consensus on one interpretation and as such media providing higher richness are preferred. Media synchronicity is the extent to which individuals working on a common goal have a shared focus. In general, high synchronicity is preferred for convergence to occur and the  immediacy of feedback is important in improving understanding because it enables mid-course corrections in message transmission and discourages misinterpretations. (Dennis & Valacich, 1999)

Daft and Lengel declare that forms of media such as face to face are the richest because it reduces ambiguity, however I disagree with this theory and conclude that all forms of media are rich; it’s effectiveness is only dependent on the equivocality of the task and the complexity of the message wanted to be conveyed.

Don’t forget to leave your comments and thoughts on my argument! 


Dennis R, Alan, Kinney, T Susan. (1998) Testing Media Richness Theory in the New Media: The Effects of Cues, Feedback, and Task Equivocality. Information Systems Research 9(3):256-274. Retrieved from:

Dennis, A.R and Valacich J. S, (1999) Rethinking media richness: towards a theory of media synchronicity, 1-10. Retrieved from:

Griffin, E.,Ledbetter, A. Sparks, G. (2016). Social Judgement Theory. A First Look at Communication Theory (205-215). McGraw Hill Education

Shinnawy, Maha, Markus, M, Lynne. 1997, The poverty of media richness theory: explaining people’s choice of electronic mail vs. voice mail. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 46(4). Retrieved from:

Suh, Kil Soo, 1999, Impact of communication medium on task performance and satisfaction: an examination of media-richness theory, 35(5), 295–312. Retrieved from:



Rosalina- the Spanish tale of choosing happiness

In the dark cabin, an effervescent dim blue shade lit the aisles. Glancing about the passengers, I saw nothing but infinite black in the ovular windows. Eventually, the sun would rise over the clouds; the Canary Islands will begin dawn rituals. In the airliner’s commercial seating, I kept the least uncomfortable pose in the inhospitable frame. In the dark I daydreamed about the cobblestone streets, rich cuisine, how the Spanish air will singe with heat and melody. The excitement slowly fell into the low, steady hum of the whirring turbines. I swallowed a sugar coated pill to slow the jet lag as my thoughts drifted to my last conversation with Rosalina. The race against time was a stick in the spokes of our circadian rhythms, we were losing more minutes than we were used to.

I slumped in my lettered seat, willing myself to sleep in the hollow bead above the ocean. All the life of Spain, every pristine moment, was to be captured given a week’s deadline. Rosalina greeted me at the airport Carasol. Her last journey abroad has glorified her love for novel cultural livelihood. It’s infectious, as the taxi cab rides along Iberian styled city streets of Madrid. Rosalina plays formalities and platitude while I observe my new life as a Spaniard, a typical tourista. The streets were painted white and yellow; every building, corner, and alley ran in city orientation, except that the ancient city had to adapt, making a web of streets that spiraled towards the large clay obelisk in the town center . The day became entrancing as we came to our destination, from settling into our third floor apartment to our first meal in a street shop.


We roamed the streets for my first hours on the European continent. “Why didn’t you call me” I whispered…silence...I took small pictures, engraining the details of the grouted streets or a hardy tree. The city was ours to inhabit, all of the marvels of architecture and foreign blends of life.

“I was busy with my dad’s shop-”

“Shop! so busy that you couldn’t call me once”

“I’m engaged”- silence

We walked slowly towards Museo del Prado, paraded along paths in the central park, before dining with the locals. The bus to Toledo took us through a valley of brick walled stores, seemingly endless, lined along the shoulder for miles. The castellan city sat on a hill in the middle of rolling bougainvillea plains along a river valley. Inside were mosques, and the narrow cobble stone streets I imagined, packed tightly in the narrow causeways, built specifically to deter any intruders. Modern living struggled into the cracks of the stone citadels, shops and restaurants were as abundant as the street vendors and bus lines. The humble, earthiness of Toledo and its people were remarkable.


Rosalinda pointed to the church on the corner, half under ground with opaque windows and glossy pews. Her padre was a man named Felix who spoke brusque Spanish, and his wife, who prepared platters of dried cheeses and meat shavings. Acquainting myself to authentic Spanish home life, I wondered why the toilets here have buttons, and about the story behind the perro’s missing leg.

Our dinner had the basics: meat, bread, and butter. The tough, dried meat shavings were marbled with greasy fats. Felix spoke a thick flood of native Spanish, greasy, almost incomprehensible.

“Mi Rosalina Esta comprometida!” engaged 

Struggling to find the terse Spanish I knew I mumbled, “Estoy Feliz for Ella señor” , Rosalina looked away and continued playing with her plaits. We both knew I was lying.

Art is at the center of all life in Spain. Broad and imposing buildings with oil paintings and city parks with exotic green planters. That night in Toledo we climbed the university bell tower to watch the sunset over the city. Unhinging the wooden shutters, soft gusts of dry piney wind came from the surrounding country. The sun, low behind mossy gray and white lichen stone, silhouetted the wavy baked clay roofs and the granite cathedral.

Rosalina sighed before taking my hand “Why must you lie to my father?”

“I knew I shouldn’t have come”

“-but you did why?”


I turned towards her, peering into her piercing brown eyes. “You”

We rode exhausted to Madrid In the early morning hour, la madrugada to the train station, where a bullet train, a gliding avé, was set to drain miles in high speed pursuit of Catalán and the coastal city of Barcelona. Soft fluorescent lights in the cars, seemingly ubiquitous, jolted us awake along with our waxy cups of roasted coffee.

We stopped in a large underground station with a vaulting concrete ceiling. Above us, people strolled on Las Ramblas and only a few stores were open for breakfast; Barcelona was a dream city of what we’d seen previously and where I met Rosalina in a restaurant.

The curving buildings defied cubism. The great architect Antoni Gaudí brought dreamscapes to reality in his apartments, parks, and the massive La Sagrada Familia cathedral, all found in different corners of the coastal city. The apartments along a copper toned honeycomb sidewalk bulged with bright pinks, and greens, somehow spiritually geometric. The cathedral, a skeletal bejeweled marble fortress with sun bleached stone towers, is still being built. Down the street, we ended up along a beach alongside a small harbor. The sounds of the waves and the wet sand beneath my feet were bliss, and I thought about the dry frozen flatlands of the Midwest, but it didn’t seem real anymore. Spain was so beautiful and full of rhythm yet it haunted me that I would never have Rosalina.

My last dinner in Spain we shared with smiles and passing tapas. That night Rosalina insisted that she slept alone. The avé took us to the airport the next morning in silence. I looked over the photos I took, journaling them in order while we raced against the sunrise. The red sun burns over yellow, miles and miles of orange as the train pulled up to the station platform.

“Goodbye Emilio”


Thank you Peter for allowing me to use your template for the story line for part 1 of the Book! 

Benefits of Virtual versus Traditional Internships

College students are increasingly seeing the internship less as a vehicle for augmenting their education, and more as a means of gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace for new jobs. They approach internships with an open mind to build relations and network with future potential employers, however many fail to understand the key role that effective communication plays in ensuring a smooth internship. Most companies for improved productivity increasingly turns to members who work in remote locations.

  Problems with non traditional Internships

Online Based internships are usually termed by critics as unorthodox and unsuitable for college course credits. These internships experience a lot of scrutiny even though are quite common among journalism and English majors. One study argues that programs that do not require monitoring and evaluating do not reveal discrepancies in internships. With no standard pattern noted for visiting the intern or keeping contact with the intern during the internship by the supervisor, the wide discrepancies between the activities the intern performs and how important these activities are cannot be documented. As such, not having a final evaluation highlights the lack of consensus in evaluating the internship experience and generates many problems within it. (Little, 1993) The lack of consensus or standardization leads scholars to claim that experiential learning programs lack respectability.


Sherry Little (1993) in her journal presents the disadvantages of non traditional internships and how the lack of monitoring that exists does not allow a basis for discrepancy. Her arguments contradict the contemporary idea of remote internships and further declares that they only lead to disinterest and tardiness based on the lack of engagement that they offer. She argues that, because the internships are not carefully controlled and monitored and because students are not evaluated in ways that can be measured in a traditional, academic manner, the program is vocational training and not education. Therefore students should not receive the units of academic credit that universities ward them with. (Little, 1993). Traditional internship experiences benefit students by reinforcing their academic learning (Hughes and Moore, 1999 as cited in Franks and Gillian, 2012), increasing their self-confidence, and providing an opportunity to establish professional contacts (van Dorp, 2008, p. 23 as cited in Franks and Gillian, 2012).

  Pedagogical Benefits of Remote Internships

There are many benefits associated with remote internships. Bruce Herzberg calls one advantage “critical consciousness”. This is to what degree students should come to understand the social nature of problems they encounter  and how and to what end they should reflect on those problems ( Adler-Kassner; Cushman; Herzberg; Peck, Flower, and Higgins; Schutz and Gere as cited in McEachern, 2016). During my internship when faced with difficulties I had to discern the next best step in solving each problem creating an entire learning process cycle.

Institutions of higher education are beginning to recognize the value of virtual internships as valid experiential learning opportunities to acquire professional skills and competencies. But these experiences pose challenges as well. Students living in rural areas are at a disadvantage, as most large archives, libraries, and other cultural heritage centers are located in urban areas. Work and family responsibilities may prevent students from relocating to take advantage of an internship opportunity. Place-based internship positions require the intern to work during normal operating hours. Students who work part- or full-time may not be able to adjust their schedules to be available during those hours.

Virtual internships offer the same benefits as place-based internships, but they offer additional benefits as well. In fact, virtual internships add particular value to traditional education, as well as to distance education (van Dorp, 2008, as cited in Franks and Gillian). Virtual interns learn to employ current information and communication technology to conduct their work and collaborate with their site supervisor and co-workers. Virtual interns are required to exhibit a high level of independent and critical thinking, because they receive fewer and/or more infrequent directions.

The Bridge between Academia and the Virtual Workforce

Communication during an internship is important for ensuring the success of both the company and the student involved. A study by Deborah Bosley highlights the importance of writing internships and how it serves as a bridge between traditional academia and the virtual workforce. Many critiques surround the lack of a definitive and bureaucratic system and Bosley outlines the application of skills and knowledge attained during remote internships to that acquired in other onsite traditional ones. She explains how online writing internships can serve just as effective as classroom learning. Her research supports the position that remote internships are beneficial to productive learning even though a structural system does not exist. Virtual internships can serve as a bridge between academia and the world of work; a world becoming increasingly virtual. Virtual internships provide the opportunity for students to apply their subject matter expertise to the workplace to create new knowledge and skills through social negotiation with both the faculty internship supervisor and the site supervisor (Bosley, 2016).                

During my internship I had to rely heavily on the Power of Perspective; Is the glass half empty or half full. I encountered many frustrations that made me question my role within the workplace as well as in that career field. However, writing internships are a valuable addition to today’s diverse English curriculum. My internship provided the on the job experience that can give my liberal-arts major an edge in today’s job market despite the skeptics that question how I will find a Job. This virtual workforce is a reality and is also expected to increase in numbers according to a 2010 study, three out of every four companies surveyed employ virtual workers in some form and the numbers of virtual workers employed in those companies were expected to double in 2011 (The Skills Portal, 2011 as cited in Franks and Gillian, 2012). I would recommend that for virtual internships employers should make available various means of communication. One cannot simply employ only email-based communication for equivocal task nor face to face meeting for unambiguous ones. By having a standard system and complete understanding on what tasks may require more dialogue, virtual internships can be a very influential learning experience.


Bosley, Deborah. (2016). Writing Internships: Building Bridges Between Academia and Business. Journal of Business and Technical Communication 2(1).103 – 113. Retrieved from:

Franks C Patricia, Gillian C. Oliver, (2012) Experiential learning and international collaboration opportunities: virtual internships, Library Review, 61(4). 272-285 Retrieved from:

Little, Sherry Burgus. (1993). Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 7(4). 423-451. Retrieved from:

McEachern W, Robert (2009)  Problems in Service Learning and Technical/Professional Writing: Incorporating the Perspective of Nonprofit Management. 10(2). 211-224. Retrieved from:

Ending Polarization on College campuses

Whether you are conservative or liberal, student or professor, Muslim or Christian there is a problem on many campuses that cannot be ignored any longer. The polarization of groups, opinions, and ideas is an issue that is not only important to address, it is also essential to block its growth and instead advocate for conversation. A group of students, who hold all political leanings, were determined to take on an issue that could no longer be ignored. They began their journey as seven students looking to close the divide amongst different opinions and create a conversation as to why every opinion should be valued.


They met with as many people as possible; students and faculty of the University of Minnesota, of all political inclinations to learn how polarization affects them. One professor they spoke to who focuses his teaching on exploring the power of deliberation and its ability to lead to more informed people, did not seem to be practicing these ideas. Initially, he agreed that the number of liberal students on campus was far greater than the number of conservative students; however, he then proceeded to say that conservative students sometimes walk into class, “expecting there to be bias against them.” Inaddition, he believed that conservatives tend to take a “few instances” because their conservative opinions are being attacked and try to make it appear as something that is occurring on every campus. He feels this unfair for conservatives to do. As the meeting concluded, they requested advice on what the next steps should be moving forward.

He simply replied, “you could pick a new project.”

Now this could be viewed differently by different people as a sarcastic comment or satire, but to respond like that was extremely disrespectful because it de- legitimizes the efforts being made by the group to solve the issue of polarization.


They met with another professor at the University of Minnesota who held a different opinion. When asked about the issue of polarization on campus, he immediately acknowledged its existence. He has witnessed antagonism towards conservatives both on campus and locally that has not been experienced before.

He believes that classrooms with multiple opinions function better and allows students to learn more. He also acknowledged that often professors who are on extreme sides of the political spectrum motivate their students to become more bias in their stances as well. He does not believe that this zone of ambiguity is necessarily a bad thing, but thinks that this should also be allowed for professors who hold opinions of the right. Before leaving the professor offered one piece of advice, which was in direct correlation with our mantra addressing this issue.

” Allow for yourself to be challenged by opposing ideas and beliefs while maintaining respect for the person who you are conversing with and for their opinions”

While researching the central root of the division, they encountered “Manichean (good versus evil) mindset”. Harry Boyte, founder of the Center of Democracy and Citizenship (now Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College), says Manichaeism has “shaped America and the millennial generation.” Manichaeism is rooted in door-to-door canvassing invented in the 1970s, which depended on demonization for success. When one canvasses for an issue the canvass paints a black and white picture of bad vs. good, labels the opponents the enemy and moves on from there. This radically oversimplified frame has spread across society, used by talk news shows, social media, and political campaigns. It leads to tremendous polarization and the idea that we have nothing in common with the other side. This polarizing approach has increasingly left its mark on nearly every campaign, furthered by new technology, as a recent NBC news report has found.

After spending the Spring 2017 semester talking with those who would had opposite views, they came to learn that most of us have much more in common than what we would think.

“We encourage everyone to try a small challenge. Find someone you disagree with, it can be on any issue, big or small. Sit down with them, ask tough questions, answer their questions honestly, and most importantly learn their story. Challenge other people and challenge yourself, we promise you will learn a lot not just about them but about yourself as well”

About contributors

Charlie Carlson, Zach Maron, Campbell Fisher, Kat Gehl, Katherine Xu, Spencer Wilken, and Dupree McBrayer are all students in PA 1401 Organizing for the Common Good at the University of Minnesota who decided to work on the issue of polarization on college campuses.