Bard College hosts a multinational academic exchange program on its Annandale campus each summer. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) offers experiential learning through an intensive academic program, site visits, travel to different U.S. regions, and opportunities to build relationships with U.S. peers and community members.
S.U.S.I. Civic Engagement
In the summer of 2019, Bard College hosted 20 university-level student leaders from five foreign countries for a five-week academic exchange program entitled “Civic Engagement in the 21st Century: Leadership and the Challenge of the Engaged Citizen.” The Study of the U.S. Institute (S.U.S.I.) on Civic Engagement explores America’s great leap into participatory democracy, with the goal of providing participants with the tools and understanding to allow them to become engaged citizens in their own communities. The Institute includes an academic residency at Bard’s upstate New York campus, study tours in New York City, NY, Baltimore, MD, and Washington D.C., and site visits throughout the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Participants have a unique opportunity to work closely with Bard faculty and staff to fine-tune their own civic engagement projects, learn from and volunteer at local community organizations around Bard, and partake in home stays with American families.
S.U.S.I. Civic Engagement
The Institute is conducted in collaboration with a diverse set of partners, including (but not limited to) the FDR Presidential Library, the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Ramapo for Children, Storm King Art Center, Norrie Point Environmental Center, Radio Kingston, La Voz, public officials in Poughkeepsie and Kingston, and many other organizations across the Hudson Valley. The academic residency connects coursework and critical thinking with civic engagement activities. Faculty encourage participants to play active roles in identifying creative approaches to social issues by applying academic practices.
The Institute fosters a better understanding of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups. The theme of leadership in civic engagement is explored through seminars, workshops, community engagement activities, case studies, site visits, and active and lively interaction among participants and staff, as well as with American citizens. Participants explore the American experiment from many perspectives and learn about both the persistent challenges and notable successes in the U.S. system. Together, these activities provide a robust framework for students to develop their own innovative plans to be civically engaged leaders and the skills to become agents of change in their home countries.