Challenge Journal: Coming in for a landing

So I’ve (well really we’ve) been at this all semester. I’ve written a lot of content, done research, thought about my project in new ways, done some reflection, and now it’s time to come in for a landing. I’m currently struggling with this: how do I wrap up my project in a way that feels satisfying, motivating, and NOT cliche? In my project, I’m dissecting the issue of homelessness, why people don’t help and how people often think negatively about those who hold homeless stereotypes. In exploring this topic, I’ve looked at social psychology, religion, and even broken down the different definitions of homelessness. How do I bring it all together? Do I bring up all of those different topics in my “conclusion?”

One thought is to have a call to action, which is also the way I set up my gateway project. In my gateway e-portfolio I wrote,

“Get involved in organizations or clubs on your college campus. Write. Discover what you truly care about. Volunteer. Get involved in you local community. Fundraise. Do not simply complain about America, politics, inequality. Take the first step. I’m right behind you.”

While most of this sounds very cliche, the main message that I think I may be able to use in my capstone project is “Take the first step. I’m right behind you.” For my capstone project, I want to ask people to take the first step in fighting the realities and stereotypes of homelessness, but I also want people to keep going. I want them to see that homelessness is not just an issue for the homeless, but for everyone AND it is connected to everything in our lives. How we choose to spend our money, whether we take public transportation or an Uber, whether we send our kids to private or public school, whether we volunteer in our free time or go to an amusement park, whether we choose to live in an urban area or the suburbs—it’s all connected; it all has an effect in how we think about homelessness, how much exposure we get to homelessness, and ultimately how we act towards homeless people.

My call to action may be to recognize this IN OUR OWN LIVES and then ask readers to make smaller changes in to benefit the homeless community/broader society. One reservation is that it is a lot to ask and that it also may be a big jump from talking about homelessness to then asking people to change their lives. I’d of course mention that this is something we’d be doing together. I am pledging to take this on and so should you. Does this sound unique? Does this sound compelling? Does it feel like I’m trying to put a bow on my project?


2 thoughts to “Challenge Journal: Coming in for a landing”

  1. Hi Josh!

    As I’m sitting here in the coffeeshop trying to crank out some work, I’m watching a man in a yellow vest try to sell newspapers to any passerby for Groundcover, an organization working to fight poverty and homelessness in Ann Arbor. I would guess you’ve seen them out/heard of them? I know it’s a bit late in the process, but maybe it would be helpful to speak with one of them. Or even write about what it’s like to watch people pass these people by. Because there’s something morally difficult (in my opinion) to watch the phenomena I’m experiencing at the moment.

    That being said, yes. I definitely think your call to action sounds compelling and unique. Not every paper can provide concrete actions for readers to take. Also, I would say most papers imply that the writer is behind the cause (because they’re writing about it), but I like the approach where you just name it, saying “I’m right behind you.” This is also a better alternative to listing all the things you’ve done, as that could easily be seen as “holier than thou.” So I would definitely proceed with what you’re thinking. I think getting people to change how they lives their lives is incredibly difficult, but leaving readers with the task of having to decide how to best address the issue on their own just adds another barrier.

  2. Hey Josh,

    Honestly man, I think you might have your solution in this blog post.

    You said you’re hesitant to ask people to change their lives. But if you’re trying to present an audience with the harsh realities of homelessness around them, then you’ve already got one foot in the door. I think you might as well bust that door down.

    So yeah, the choice a parent has between public and private school might be a tough subject for you to weigh in on. But I think there’s plenty of room for you to suggest smaller, relatable action. (Totally spitballing, but let’s say someone always buys coffee on the way to work. I think that’s something we take for granted. They could make it at their apartment instead, save up that money, then donate it to help people.)

    I think you could even suggest that they do it gradually. (So at first, maybe they don’t buy that coffee on a Monday. The next week Monday and Tuesday, and so on.)

    And my last word: I think you should tell your audience what you’re doing. That way it shows them you’re doing it together rather than just telling them.

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