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Project Pericles

Project Pericles is a national organization committed to civic and social engagement based on knowledge of the principles and history of American democracy. As one of the ten founding Colleges, New England College derives an enormous benefit from the association with these institutions and with the founder, Eugene Lang. The other Periclean schools include: Allegheny College , Bethune-Cookman College, Elon University, Hampshire College, Malcalester College, Pace University, Pitzer College, Swarthmore College, and Ursinus College.

NEC’s Periclean program has two essential aspects — a theoretical, knowledge-based aspect, in which students examine the philosophical, historical, political and social underpinnings that foster and sustain the principles of our democratic form of government; and a civic engagement aspect, in which students become personally involved in civically and socially responsible service. Both concepts are evident in the history of NEC and our style of education, as stated in our mission: “ We provide an education that develops responsible academic and social commitments responsiveness to ethical and humane concerns” offering “opportunities to achieve these goals through service learning, internships and international opportunities.”

Encouraging Civic and Social Responsibility through Service

In the fall of 2002, the Project Pericles Center was established and began to fulfill three major goals: 1) to coordinate activities for civic engagement, social responsibility and service learning throughout the College; 2) to develop connections between the College and the local, state, national and international communities to provide opportunities for civic engagement and service learning; 3) to integrate concepts of civic and social responsibility into the curriculum and co-curriculum.

News from the Project Pericles Office

March 2012

New England College students Ilana Jacobs and Kaylee Thrasher will be attending the 2012  Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference on March 22nd and 23rd at The New School in New York City. At the conference, over 60 student leaders from other Periclean colleges and universities will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, discuss pressing social issues with their peers, and spend an afternoon visiting and learning about a non-profit organization.

The conference was highlighted by the “D4D Legislative Hearings.” In early February, six students from NEC submitted letters to participate in the legislative hearing contest.  Kaylee Thrasher and Nathan Manna submitted a letter to Senator Jeanne Shaheen titled “A Letter to Improve Court Outcomes for those with Mental Illness in The State Of New Hampshire.” Ariana Seymourian and Ilana Jacobs also submitted a letter to Senator Jeanne Shaheen titled, “A Letter to Increase Funding Towards the Women and Family Shelters In The State Of New Hampshire.” Christine Westgate and Molly Bond submitted “A Letter for Support for ‘A Right to Dry Law’ In The State Of New Hampshire to State Senator Sylvia Larsen.

The letters from other schools also proposed innovative solutions on a wide variety of issues and were sent to more than 100 elected officials from around the United States. While NEC was not one of the five finalists, their letters were thought provoking, insightful, and engaging.

October 2011

In late October, eight New England College students attended the D4D on the Road all-day workshop at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. This workshop provided the NEC students with several essential skills that they were able to raise awareness to several key issues on campus, as well as in the community. The NEC students learned the power of using stories to motivate people to act, and utilized this strength in several legislative letters sent to New Hampshire State Representatives.