Village Earth

GSLL 1517 – Community-Based Organizing

Start Date

April 12, 2024

End Date

May 17, 2024

Registration Fee


Register Before

April 9, 2024

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In recent years, there has been a growing recognition among scholars and international development institutions of the necessity for approaches to community-development that not only increase capacity for self-help but also fundamentally increase the rights of poor and marginalized people within national and international governing structures. At a practical level, community organizing can be thought of as the process or a set of tools with which communities can accomplish this goal and strategically build the power necessary to influence local, national, or international policy and discourse.

Taking a practical “hands-on” perspective, this course will explore the theories, tools, styles and challenges of community-based organizing. It will discuss practical strategies for developing community leadership and working with marginalized communities, exploring the ideas and examples from Evo Morales, Paulo Freire, Saul Alinsky, Sup-Comandante Marcos, the Bridge Immigrant Rights experiment and Martin Heidegger. By diving into the depths of organizing with intentionality, we will discover the impact that ordinary individuals can and have had on the world.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

• Understand the history and basic principles of community organizing
• Apply basic organizing techniques, such as popular education and direct action
• Support current organizing efforts in the student’s field or situation
• Understand the role of privilege, race, gender and class in struggles for change

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.


Cheryl Distaso

Instructor Bio

Cheryl Distaso, MSW, has more than 25 years experience as a community organizer in Fort Collins. In the community, she works on decriminalization of homelessness, immigrant rights, community empowerment, disability rights and increased public transportation.

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Program Details