For service clubs: Nine Month Focus

Nine Month Focus for Extra Curricular Clubs based on the film Nobelity

It is often difficult for service clubs to tap into the compassionate spirit of our students.  This Nine Month Focus activity will help students overcome feelings of helplessness by showing them how small steps will impact the globe and empower them to make decisions that move others to action.

  • Purpose:

    • To raise awareness of global problems and to underscore how small steps make a difference in students’ attitudes and the world in which we live.
  • Project:

    • The film Nobelity allows us to sit in on intimate conversations with nine Nobel Laureates. Why not take advantage of this and build a project that integrates the DVD into your service clubs? Most clubs meet at least once a month. Begin the meeting by showing one chapter of the DVD. Follow this with a discussion about the points raised and invite students to come up with service activities that will parallel the spirit of the chapter. The following month, view the next chapter, discuss and come up with activities to respond to the problem addressed. Continue this process throughout the DVD ending with Desmond Tutu’s call to love.

Possible Month by Month Activities

  • September – “Decisions”

    • (Steven Weinberg – Physics, 1979)
      • Students consider how their decisions have ramifications beyond themselves. Invite students to focus on making only positive decisions for one month. These decisions may be collaborative or individual. Create a blog that allows students to share their experiences as they struggle with the “positive only” process.
  • October – “Challenges”

    • (Richard Smalley – Chemistry, 1996)
      • Have students collaborate on a campus wide challenge. They may choose activities such as recycling, keeping the campus clean, carpooling to school, a campus wide fitness plan, etc.
  • November – “Disparities”

    • (Dr. Harold E. Varmus, Medicine, 1989)
      • Consider inequalities within the community. Students may choose to adopt a shelter, provide groceries to a food pantry, provide diapers to a women’s shelter, adopt a nursing home, etc.
  • December – “Change”

    • (Jody Williams – Peace, 1997)
      • Ask students to consider an area that needs change. Encourage them to take steps to raise awareness of this need and/or begin the process of dialogue that might lead to change. Students may lobby for healthier food in the cafeteria, begin an e-mail campaign to political leaders about a cause, work on integrating social groups at school, etc.
  • January – “Knowledge”

    • (Ahmed Zewail – Chemistry, 1999)
      • Explore the importance of knowledge from culture to culture. Consider the value knowledge has in your community. Begin a campaign focusing on an aspect of knowledge that is meaningful to students. Students may begin a local book drive for schools in need, create an awareness campaign built around a cause close to them such as eating disorders or drug abuse or large causes such as global warming, pollution, human rights around the world. Often a simple series of posters that begin with “Did You Know (fill in the blank with facts)?” are quite effective.
  • February – “Persistence”

    • (Wangari Maathai – Peace, 2004)
      • Discuss the power of persistence and the benefits of sustained efforts on our world. Students may plant trees, implement a recycling program, give up plastic water bottles, commit to a litter free campus, etc.
  • March – “Peace”

    • (Sir Joseph Rotblat – Peace, 1995)
      • Discuss the power of peaceful actions and the consequences of violence. Students may choose to hold a forum on bullying or sexual harassment, consider the effects of violence in the media, commit to a month of nonviolent language ( no gossiping, swearing, or cursing), etc.
  • April – “Reason”

    • (Amartya Sen – Economics, 1998)
      • Ask students to consider how they know what they know. Do they rely on logic, emotion, facts to make decisions? Discuss the importance of reason and how the lack of reason may lead to dangerous stereotypes, violence, and have long range consequences. Create a month long display in which students post articles that indicate a problem solved by reasonable means.
  • May – “Love”

    • (Desmond Tutu – Peace, 1984)
      • Consider the power of love and celebrate the learning and successes of the events of the past months. Students may create a video of the past year, plan a party in which they share stories of what was gained from these past months, publish a celebratory newspaper covering all these activities, distribute it campus wide and challenge next year’s class to take on this year long effort.