SOCY 2105 Social Problems in America

This class has been closed and is no longer open.


This class will examine the concept of social problems and many specific social problems that are widely recognized as features of American society. We will analyze the major theoretical explanations of critical social problems, the ideological framework in which those theories are rooted, and the policy implications of these perspectives. We will attempt to assess how and why different actors (e.g. public officials, corporate executives, college professors) define social problems and act on their competing perspectives. Hopefully, the class will assist students in shaping their personal responses to those problems affecting their lives and their communities.

(Traditional - Placement)
SOC 2105: Social Problems in America - M/W 12:45-2:00, (95752)
Fall 2018
42 People | 139 Impacts | 415 Hours | 11,277 Total Economic Impact




I had class so was unable to attend the session with Alex Justice. 2. I attended the Service and Social Justice session with Timothy Kane from the MSSC as a facilitator. The session consisted of students talking about their experiences at their place of service and the things they learned. Students from the Community Engaged Scholarship Course concluded that it is important be conscious of possible power dynamics that one may inadvertently take a part of. Timothy did a good job of making us think more critically about the important juxtaposition of service and political action, with how the two relate and affect one another. I left the session with a more developed critical understanding of this relationship and had a better understanding of the social responsibility one carries when participating in service. I had class at 2:20 and unfortunately was unable to attend any of the showcase sessions.
Course Credit for Symposium: Please post answers to your class wall. Thank you!

What one question or comment did you want to share with Alex Justice today from DCCK that we did not get to address in our session?

Which concurrent session did you attend? How did the students from the Community Engaged Scholarship Couse take up the idea of service and scholarship? What did you learn from them?

Showcase Sessions please answer for each room:

In room 301 which showcase laptop session did you find most compelling from the medical school and why?

In room 302- What did you learn about community engaged research by looking at these ongoing projects? Which method did

you find most effective for community engaged research?

In room 308- In the Human Service and Social Justice showcase which presentation best addressed a Social Justice issue that you were unaware of? Were you compelled to act/learn more about the issue because of what you saw if so what will you do?
1. I was not able to attend the talk with Alex Justice from DCCK as I had class. 2. I attended the Service and Social Justice session. The other students in community engaged scholarship courses concluded that power was an important dimension in community service activities. I learned that it's extremely important to recognize one's own power in a community service environment and utilize it to enact political change. 3. In room 301, I found the presentation about EMS personnel and mental health extremely interesting. I admire the presenter's efforts to try and break the stigma of mental health in order to decrease the suicide rate among EMS personnel. 4. In room 302, I found the letters to black women to be a wonderful way to engage people of all backgrounds to create a supportive environment. I think that their plans to create an exhibition for Black History Month will be very successful and supportive of others on campus. 5. In room 308, I found the presentation about GW Listens to be very interesting because I was unaware of the program. I had seen some of the flyers they've put up, but I enjoyed listening to the details of the program. I was compelled to learn more about the issue and hope that I see more flyers around campus to raise awareness about this issue. — Megan Schremp Megan Schremp on December 9, 2019
1) n/a , class went til 1:30 and could not attend 2) I attended the Service and Social Justice concurrent session. The students all shared their experiences in their service learning classes. We discussed the implications of power and reflected in a group about our individual service. 3) I found the the presentation about addressing the health disparities of foster youth was very compelling because it talked about the importance of creating a support network for foster children with special health issues. 4) I went to the one about Love Drive and how theatre performances can relate to social justice. I think that is very important to explore how these communities intersect. 5) I listened to the the presentation on GW listens which is free anon peer support about mental health. I felt compelled to tell more people about this useful and effective service. — Katherine DeGeorge Katherine DeGeorge on December 9, 2019
I attended the GW Partnership with DC Public Schools session. The highlight of the topic covered at this session was about how GW can rich DC public students differently in an effective way. Some of the comment given was creating programs that connect elementary and high school students to their dream fields. STEM was one of the areas suggested to apply this concept. Finally, we discussed some of the deterrents, local students, from coming to GW such as the unmeeting student financial needs and others. — Ebrahim Bonger Ebrahim Bonger on December 9, 2019
1. I was unfortunately unable to attend due to a class conflict. 2. I also attended the Service and Social Justice session. Learning about others' service opportunities was extremely humbling and informative, and in gathering information about the work others put in, I was able to share experiences at the juncture of service and learning. Moreover, the mediator posed philosophical questions throughout the session (about power, policy and service learning, as aforementioned in previous comments) that provided thought-provoking internalization about our own service. 3. The mental health awareness session was very enlightening, in part due to the fact that I was unaware of the high rates of suicide among Emergency Medical Services. The presenter highlighted the discrepancies between the realities of EMS and what the general public perceives to be true, something that I believe can be applied even in our service. 4. The Love Drive was a fascinating take on how expression and performance can be an outlet for social change; it can act as a force for social justice and action and as the inspiration for service and the application of knowledge to institute positive social change. 5. I was interested to see how the GW Listens program incorporated social justice as a means of human service. It is a service that I was previously unaware of, but I will definitely utilize this resource in the future and refer it to friends who struggle with their mental health. — Courtney Coghill Courtney Coghill on December 9, 2019
Showcase Sessions please answer for each room: In room 301 which showcase laptop session did you find most compelling from the medical school and why? I listened to a project about the rights of children in foster care. Although it was something I was previously aware of, I enjoyed learning more about the specifics as well as the plan to provide consistent, long-term healthcare to children in the foster care system. In room 302- What did you learn about community engaged research by looking at these ongoing projects? Which method did you find most effective for community engaged research? I learned about a project called What to stand up. The project is based on a play that is designed to bring awareness to the daily emotional struggles african-american people face while living in US Society. In room 308- In the Human Service and Social Justice showcase which presentation best addressed a Social Justice issue that you were unaware of? Were you compelled to act/learn more about the issue because of what you saw if so what will you do? In this room, I listened to a presentation highlighting the importance of college and career preparedness when it comes to highschool students. This project was designed to provide low-income students with greater access to information about career preparedness as well as scholarships. — Elizabeth Landrum Elizabeth Landrum on December 9, 2019
I was not able to attend the session with Alex Justice. 2. I attended the Service and Social Justice session. 3. The students from the community Engaged Scholarship course discussed their service learning experience and how they related it to social justice and how their experience brought a social justice to light. I learned that while it is important to participate in just cause as an individual it is equally important to address in what others ways it could be helpful to work towards solving the social problem. 4. I attended the Human Service and Social Justice showcase session in room 308. During this session, it talked about how important it is to prepare highschool students for college and career. It discusses how it aims to design programs for low-income student to be given the opportunity to better access to information in regards to scholarships available, career and college preparedness. I think this topic is very important and overlooked. Not all highschool students are provided the same opportunities to be aware of scholarships they could qualify for and therefore not be encouraged to go to college under the impression that they can’t because of money. — Samantha Santini Samantha Santini on December 9, 2019
1. I was unable to attend the session with Alex Justice. 2. I attended the session about service and social justice. We took up the idea of service and scholarship by looking at power relations that can exist when doing service and by also examining reasons why or why not an organization might want to take part in advocacy work as well as direct service. I learned that it's important to think about different power dynamics when doing service. 3. I found the laptop session about mental health of EMS providers to be the most compelling because it is a topic I had not really thought much about, but now see the need for increased mental health awareness among EMS personnel. 4. I learned that community engaged research can take all forms, such as creating an exhibition to showcase issues with racism and discrimination. 5. The presentation about Life Pieces to Masterpieces addressed a social justice issue that I was unaware of. The organization uses art to help develop character and leadership skills in African American boys. I was compelled to learn more about the program because it sounds like it could be making a differences in the lives of African American youth and I would like to look more into the specifics of the program design and how effective it is. — Rebecca Smith Rebecca Smith on December 9, 2019
I was unable to attend the session with Alex Justice because I had class. 2. I attended the service and social justice session which I thought was very interesting. 3. I learned about other people’s experiences at Miriam’s Kitchen and how they differed from mine. I thought that was important because there are several different volunteer positions at Miriam’s Kitchen and people that worked in the Kitchen had a vastly different experience than I did. A lot of others worked at food pantries and it was engaging to see how much power those serving the food felt when serving at their organizations. I felt the same way when I distributed clothing to the residents at Miriam’s Kitchen. I had so much power even though I am just an undergraduate at George Washington University. I attended the human service and social justice showcase on the oral history of national service where these individuals learned about community and non-profit organization. They interviewed people on the policy level and talked about the progression of community service, and how they help people with housing and income issues. They plan to make a website with their information that has video and audio recordings as well. I thought that this class that they partook in was very interesting and think that service is an integral part of learning and am so glad that GW offers so many service learning courses to further implement what they’ve learned inside the classroom in a real setting. Additionally, I attended a laptop presentation that fights against mental health stigma. I think that this is important because there is a huge stigma against mental health and it is crucial to bring awareness to this issue. This program is called GW listens and these individuals created a university blurb that they sent to professors who were all very welcoming and understanding. I was unaware of this service prior to attending this meeting and think that it’s a great resource. They also handed out flyers and palm cards to address this issue. It is great to see GW students so involved and advocating for what they believe in not just in our own community but on the policy level as well. — Lauren Metviner Lauren Metviner on December 9, 2019
I was unable to attend the session with Alex Justice of DCCK because I was in class. I attended the session on titled “ Service and Social Justice: How do We Make the Connection?” Mr. Timothy Kane led the discussion. First, we went around and introduced ourselves and basically why we were there. I was familiar with most of the people in the session, being that they were from my course. Throughout the course, Professor Squires really emphasized the point of community engaged scholarship. Although most of the people were in my class, there were three people who were not and able to offer a different perspective. I was one of the three people who volunteered at Miriam’s Kitchen, but we all worked in different departments. Because we all brought an unique perspective to our service experiences, I learned not only about different organizations, but how to get involved. One of the participants brought a very unique experience of working with immigrant women via a local sect of a national organization - the Tahirih Justice Center. She was from a graduate program at GW and was working on a dissertation. A lot of what she emphasized was the inequality in resources for non-English speakers, which re-framed my thinking about how social justice functions. How can we better provide assistance to people who either are not from the United States or who English is not their first language? Further, she discussed having a platform for people to have access to those resources, which I think would be effective. — Caroline Carlton Caroline Carlton on December 10, 2019
I was unable to attend other sessions besides “Service and Social Justice: How do We Make the Connection?” because I was in class. In room 311, the discussion was led by Mr. Timothy Kane and it was a very interactive discussion. Mr. Kane had us go around and introduce ourselves and explain what service we did and our experience with it. He asked us many questions about our service and had us discuss how or why we thought our service related to or could be considered social justice. At first it was difficult trying to come up with an answer for why I thought my service, which was volunteering at Little Friends for Peace, could have anything to do with social justice. But Mr. Kane, along with other students, made me realize that even very small impacts or service where it doesn’t seem like you are doing much, in some way relates to the bigger issue of social justice. — Cassandra Keenan Cassandra Keenan on December 10, 2019
Add a comment
Hello SOCY 2105 students!

Professor Squires mentioned that you could get extra credit by attending the symposium which is helpful if you'd like extra credit-or need it because you've missed a class. The link to RSVP is here just click and register-we'll have a check in for you to do when you arrive and Dr. Squires will be able to see it on the course page so you'll get the credit awarded. Note that the symposium begins during your last class so please click "no" that you won't be attending the lunch and "no" you won't be presenting. You'll click "yes" that you are attending for class credit and then list the course SOCY 2105 and then type in Prof. Squires name.

When you arrive we can link your registration with your attendance-just walk over when class is complete on the 9th. There are 5 afternoon sessions to choose from and you can attend any that you would like. They start at 2:30 and end at 3:30. Hope to see many of you there.

Also a reminder-if you haven't logged your service hours yet you need to do so-don't wait until the end of the semester. Also check out the "affiliates" tiles on your course page here if you still need a place to serve there are great organizations listed there with lots of opportunities to get involved. Let me know if you need any help!
Hi SOCY 2105 it was great to meet you a few weeks ago-now that the semester is underway you should be serving and reporting your hours. Here's supports to do just that. Please remember to submit your hours by clicking on your organization first then click the box for your class!

1. Before you serve-be sure to fill out the service waiver here so far only 10 people in the class have completed this. Takes only a few seconds but it’s important to be safe while serving! The link is here

Second if you Have questions about how to find a service site and how to start working with a community partner? Check out the 2019-2020 student guide to Community Engaged Scholarship in your documents folder on your class site just click the documents tab. The guide covers how to call an organization about serving, a checklist before and during service and how to tie service to class assignments. Still looking for a community partner? Two places to look. First look on your class page here scroll down and you'll see the "affiliates" for your course-all places that Dr. Squires has approved and where students served last year. Click on their tiles to learn more about them and get contact information. Don't like those sites or they don't work with your schedule? More opportunities for service on GWServes at this link
Before you start serving be sure to fill out the service waiver online here:

Have questions about getting ready to serve or how to start? Check out the student guide to service here: