Ecosystem for Civic Action

Ecosystem for Civic Action

The Ecosystem for Civic Action depicts three intersecting aspects of civic change-making that, when combined with our core civic values, describes the way in which we understand change-making and social innovation at Grinnell. Highlighting how the three aspects may intersect allows one to identify where in the ecosystem they may wish their role(s) to lie.

A Venn diagram showing the intersections of service, activism, and systems thinking, with social innovation at the center of all three.
  • One builds individual empathy for another through direct service (e.g., volunteering with a food redistribution network).
  • One builds social empathy by working with others to advocate for a cause affecting a community (e.g., organizing a social media campaign that highlights the need for food redistribution in Grinnell).
  • One builds contextual empathy by unpacking the systems that undergird inequity (e.g., taking a community engaged course or doing research with the community on the systemic underpinnings of inequitable food access).
  • When we bring individual, social, and contextual empathy together, we realize an intent to collaboratively care for the long-term, collective wellbeing of ourselves and the world around us: this is social innovation. 

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