Advocating for a Sustainable Future: Weaving Stories and Statistics

Winter 2018
Spring 2018
Evening and Weekend
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

creative writing, sustainability, public policy

8 credit students:

Connect passion and practice. Join an action-oriented program on advocacy and change-agency, designed to welcome students to new spring work. We will emphasize skill building for effective advocacy work, including strategies for advancing environmental and social justice.  Our focus will be issues that deeply impact our individual and collective lives.

Students will choose to concentrate on issues they are passionate about while planning, practicing, and executing advocacy strategies.

Particularly important in this complex time of polarization, we will practice ways to “break through gridlock” on community, and interpersonal levels.  (Support text: Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World )

The work of developing resilience and self-care for advocates is critical during times of complexity and polarization. We will learn and practice methods to do both. (Support text: Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities).

Connecting passion to practice, we will invite local advocates to discuss their educational backgrounds, tools, strategies, and work. We’ll visit advocates in community so they can connect their background to current issues of ecological and social justice.

Throughout, we will develop an array of writing, speaking, quantitative, qualitative, and public presentation skills targeted to key audiences.  We will also invite public officials to discuss with us what strategies are most persuasive.

This program will offer the chance to “weave stories and statistics,” combining these and other skillsets to be the strongest possible change agents.

We’ll develop quantitative and statistical literacy by reviewing public documents related to sustainability and the public good. Students will make use of state and local policy reports to understand statistical research methods. By the end of the quarter, we will be using statistical software and design principles to create accessible tables and graphics for a general audience. No previous experience with statistics or software is expected.

Join us as we “spring” into understanding and practice to be skilled advocates and change agents!

Credit may be awarded in statistics, sustainability studies, public policy, and community studies.


4 credit students:

We will use statistical tools to better understand issues and phenomena in various communities: our classroom, the campus, Thurston County, the United States, and (possibly) beyond. The emphasis will be on the practice of statistics. Theory will be referenced as needed to facilitate the work. Class time will be centered around student questions and collaborative workshops. Students will present a final project/case study that relates to social or environmental justice.

The text will be open-source online and there will be an online homework/tutorial component to the class – both are free. Excel will be used throughout.

No previous software or statistics experience is required or expected.

Topics will include:

  • Graphical representations of quantitative data
  • Measures of center, variation, and position
  • Probability
  • The normal distribution
  • Confidence intervals
  • Contingency tables
  • Correlation and regression

Four credits will be awarded in descriptive and inferential statistics.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$50 winter quarter for field trips and special projects materials.

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule:

8 credit students: Wednesdays from 6 to 9:30p, plus 5 Saturdays from 9:30a to 5p per quarter. Winter Saturdays: Jan. 20, Feb. 10, Feb. 24, March 10, and March 24. Spring Saturdays: April 7, April 21, May 5, May 19, and June 2.

4 credit students:  Wednesdays from 6 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays: April 7, April 21, May 5, May 19, and June 2, from 9 am to 1 pm

Located in: Olympia

2018-03-234-credit Statistics only component added
2018-03-01Program description updated
2017-12-06Program now open to all levels.