The best assets of any community college are their students. Students learn, grow, thrive, and, often, remain in their community to help others do the same. They are vital to the development of their communities. Their voices, unfortunately too often silent to policy makers, can contribute to sustainable futures for the cities and towns in which they dwell. Their experiences and stories can enlighten others about how people live in a place and how those places can be made better for those who live there. How can these voices be heard? Can students at a community college help to generate public participation in government planning? Can they use their roots in the community to help their community find a voice? In this chapter, I discuss the theoretical and conceptual grounding for the “Partnership for Inclusive, Cost-Effective Public Participation” (PICEP2), a model of curriculum for Communication courses at Manchester Community College (MCC) in Manchester, Connecticut, that was designed to amplify citizen voices in government public engagement efforts. This project, which I created through funds from the Federal Transit Administration, is an example of using service-learning with community college students (and their networks) to bring previously silenced voices into efforts to solve/satisfy community/public (transportation) needs. It also indicates: (1) the direct connection between service-learning and participatory action research; (2) the direct role theory can play in project design; and (3) the real and unique contributions community college students, as community members, can make to mandated community-participation processes (as network bridges to additional participants).

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DOIS: 10.5281/zenodo.259436 10.1057/9781137355737_16

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Published on 01/01/2014

Volume 2014, 2014
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.259436
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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