Sociology class on social change leads to amendment to Illinois law

I noted this story last year but here is an update: Illinois passed a bill last year that originated in a sociology class at Northern Illinois University.

Sophomore students at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora were given an opportunity Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, to hear firsthand how doing their homework could lead to state-wide social change.

State Representative Kay Hatcher, NIU Sociology instructor Jack King and NIU student Gayle Deja-Schultz shared the story of how a class project at NIU’s Naperville campus led to a 2011 amendment to House Bill 180, The Let Them Rest in Peace Act, which further restricts protesting during funeral and memorial services.

However, the impact of the course taught by King, Sociology 392: Organizing for Social Change, extends beyond state legislature.

The NIU project was the inspiration for EnACT, a new IMSA program that teaches students how to address legislative issues and how to advocate change in a hands-on learning approach.

I would guess this is an educational experience these sociology students won’t forget.

Read more details about how the bill was signed into law on August 14, 2011 here. The key part of the process seems to be that one of the students had interned for an Illinois House member and this started the ball rolling beyond the class. The power of social networks…

Are there other sociology classes that have led to similar change?

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