Graduate Project

The Impact of NGO Classes on Students Being Change Agents

This research examines two courses, “NGOs and Social Service Outreach” and “International NGO Fieldwork in Vancouver,” offered at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and their impact on higher education students being change agents. An in-depth summary and overview of “NGOs and Social Service Outreach” is provided as this course was the foundation for students’ technical training about NGO’s. Participant observation was used to provide a summary of lectures and excursions in Vancouver and Victoria for the course, “International NGO Fieldwork in Vancouver.” This project analyzes qualitative data from secondary research to identify the impact each class has on student involvement and to determine students’ motivation to get involved in NGO work. The project concisely integrates theoretical literature on change agents, leadership, motivation, and study abroad. Results indicate that students felt empowered, developed personal and professional skills, increased awareness, and wanted to make a difference after taking the “NGOs and Social Service Outreach” course at Cal Poly Pomona. Students who participated in the “International NGO Fieldwork in Vancouver” program expressed increased awareness, inspiration, empowerment and motivation after this study abroad experience. Students were motivated to get involved in NGO work because they want to help others, increase equality, make a difference in their communities, solve problems and because they feel like NGO work is rewarding. The results from this research can guide faculty members and students about how acquiring technical skills and exposure to NGOs during study abroad courses can impact students on being change agents. Future programs should integrate and intensify experiential learning by including a service-learning component in the fieldwork course.