On September 19, 2018, the LSA300 Civic Engagement Team led the LSA300 Class through a day focused on voting, getting engaged, showing up, and doing more. The Civic Engagement Team has participated in, and has encouraged the class to participate in, various monthly activities throughout this year—from voting in the February primaries to “Stuffing the Bus” in August. This day was the culmination of the team’s efforts to encourage class members, not only to vote in the upcoming elections, but also to engage their passion through many different modes to make a positive impact in our community.
The day kicked off at the Doseum, aptly a whole museum dedicated to “doing”, with civic engagement messages from our elected officials…and the Spurs Coyote! After a welcome from Doseum CEO, Daniel Menelly, class members enjoyed a women’s panel on the role of corporate responsibility and philanthropy in civic engagement, featuring Harriet Dominique of USAA, Celina Moreno of MALDEF, and Rebecca Brune of SAAF, and moderated by Senator Leticia Van de Putte. As an LSA300 class legacy, the team also presented a check to Andi Rodriguez, an incoming co-chair of LSA44, for one scholarship to cover the tuition for one class member for next year’s LSA class. The money for the scholarship was raised from the sale of LSA300 medals during Fiesta. The morning at Doseum was rounded out with a tour of the “Dream Tomorrow Today” exhibit, where class members were able to envision the world of tomorrow that their civic engagement efforts today could help to create.
Next stop for the class was the City Council’s Chambers for a workshop on Robert’s Rules of Order. After an introduction by Pete Van de Putte on the importance of “showing up” and why Robert’s Rules of Order are a critical tool when serving on boards and commissions, the class heard from Past President of the National Association of Parliamentarians, Ronald Stinson. Mr. Stinson discussed the most commonly used rules of order and then led the class in a mock meeting. Class members from each council district were selected to sit up on the dais in the seats of their City Council members to participate in the mock meeting, using the rules of order they learned in the workshop.
After leaving the City Council Chambers, the class was welcomed, with much fanfare(!), to the Spurs basketball court at the AT&T Center. The class had a delicious lunch catered by eastside restaurant, Tony G’s Soul Food. Presently, the class settled down as audience to a segment the team dubbed “LSA Live”: a talk show-style interview with former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary, Julián Castro. This segment ended with a photo opportunity with Secretary Castro on the Spurs court.
The last stop of the day was at CAST Tech High School in downtown San Antonio. At CAST Tech, after hearing about the mission of the charter school from Amir Samandi, the class participated in a hands-on, civic, problem-solving session, led by Anna Gutierrez of CivTechSA. For the CivTech Challenge, the class was broken out into the LSA class day teams. Then, using two randomly generated words tied to each team’s focus area, each team discussed a civic problem in its focus area, generated a proposed solution, and gave the class a 60-second pitch about its solution. Class members voted, by text, for their favorite pitch. The winning team was Arts & Culture, with a pitch for creating graffiti walls in public parks. Following a snack break, each class member received a personalized voter education and civic engagement resource guide. The class then heard from Molly Cox, President and CEO of SA2020. Ms. Cox shared with the class SA2020’s vision and goals for San Antonio and challenged class members to help the City achieve those visions and goals by the year 2020 through their civic engagement efforts. Next, Deputy City Clerk, Leticia Saenz, discussed with the class various ways the class can get involved in serving on City boards and commissions. Before leaving CAST Tech, class members had the opportunity to hear from MoveSA and from Summer of Service.
The class returned to the Doseum for happy hour and enjoyed some hilarious, political, musical renditions from “Grid Iron”, a show produced annually by the Society of Professional Journalists, San Antonio Pro Chapter. Happy hour also featured live music, an election run-off to pick the class’s favorite drink from Deco Pizzeria, personalized “call to action” fortune cookies and desserts by thepartywall.com, and a special guest visit by the Spurs Coyote. The team also brought the day’s silent auction to a close at the happy hour. The silent auction raised critical funds to support MoveSA and CAST Tech.
As a token of appreciation, the various speakers throughout the day were presented with original art prints created by artist and activist, Cruz Ortiz, who drew his inspiration from the Civic Engagement Team’s logo—raised hands towering over the city in which we aspire to serve.
The LSA300 Civic Engagement Team thanks everyone who helped to make the day a huge success! The team encourages class members to vote, continue to get involved, and engage their passion!
By Smita Bhakta, Attorney at Kruger Carson, PLLC