Welcome to The EnAct Lab!
Engaging Action in Young People (EnAct): The EnAct lab focuses on promoting and supporting civic engagement in various forms (e.g., digitally, volunteering, activism, political) in different contexts (e.g., institutions, political, communities), led by faculty at CSUSB and in partnership with CSUSB students and institutions within the community. In our lab, we do our work with the goal of improving intergroup relations with attention to diversity, social identities, intersectionality, and equity. Some of our lab values include mentorship, community action, critical consciousness, accessibility, and collaboration.
What is Civic Engagement?
Actions aimed at making positive changes in your community or society more broadly. This can include things like:
- political engagement (e.g. voting, campaigning for a political candidate whose policies align with your values)
- social activism (e.g. attending or leading protests)
- volunteering (e.g. community service in an organization that you care about)
- digital engagement (e.g. sharing information online about important issues).
Why is Civic Engagement important?
Civic engagement benefits our communities. When people are civically engaged, they are involved in making their environments better places for themselves and others. It is especially important to have change happening from within a community, because those changes will hopefully reflect community values, goals, and priorities.
Civic engagement supports individual development. Those who engage in their communities often experience a range of benefits. They report feeling more purpose in life, more hope, and are more likely to say that their futures are going to be positive. They also tend to find and develop strong community connections. When young people are engaged, they are more likely to be involved well into adulthood, further promoting these benefits.
How can we support Civic Engagement in young people?
Adults (e.g. teachers, mentors, parents, etc…) can be great supports for creating space for young people to participate in civic engagement. There are many specific ways adults can support the development of civic engagement actions, along with supporting young people valuing or viewing civic engagement as a priority. For example, one way to support engagement is through creating an open climate (e.g. in the classroom) where young people feel they can safely and bravely discuss their ideas and try out new ideas. Generally, it is important to lift up youth voices, concerns, and priorities – advocating with them, actively listening to them and learning from them, and reducing any barriers to their meaningful participation (e.g. transportation issues, other adults or systems silencing youth involvement).