Short Term Practicum: Social Change Organizing and Advocacy



Lead Instructor: Craig Saddlemire ’05; Co-Instructors: Sarah Standiford ’97 and Aditi Vaidya ’00

(see biographies for instructors at end of page)

Picture1Overview: This course will offer training in the concepts, strategies, and skills frequently employed in the professional careers of organizers and advocates for social change. For the purpose of this course, social change will be defined as the act of changing power structures in society and/or the outcomes of those power structures in order to reduce and eliminate exploitation, human suffering, and denial of human rights. Through this frame, students will explore in-depth case studies of social change efforts, co-instructed by Bates alumni who have held leadership roles in those efforts.

This course taught me that you can start out as a Bates student and end up an experienced organizer, working passionately on social justice and political issues in Maine and across the country. I became so invested in these case studies and their potential outcomes that I ended up staying in Lewiston-Auburn after graduation. 

~2014 Social Change PTC student, Class of 2014

The course will be facilitated by the lead instructor, Craig Saddlemire, and will consist of case studies taught by alumni practitioners who specialize in social change work. The co-instructors will lead 3-day in-depth case studies, provide input on the curriculum for the course as a whole, and also participate in the evaluation of students’ final projects. Guest speakers will provide one-day case studies, with the lead instructor connecting these briefer visits to the broader frame of concepts, strategies and skills highlighted in the course. The lead instructor, co-instructors and guest speakers have held positions in social change organizations and initiatives at the local, state and national level addressing poverty, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, immigration, urban redevelopment, housing, racial justice, labor, gender equity, women’s health, solidarity economics, and environmental justice. Specific case studies are organized under broader weekly topics listed in the preliminary schedule later in this overview.

Aditi Vaidya '00

Aditi Vaidya ’00

Across these conceptually-clustered case studies, strategies and skills to be discussed include:

  • organizational development and governance
  • strategic planning (at organizational level or at specific issue/campaign level)
  • grassroots organizing; volunteer recruitment and training
  • fundraising
  • research and data collection
  • lobbying and legislative/policy advocacy
  • media and communications
  • direct action

All of these strategies and skills will be considered in the context of social change advocacy and organizing careers, but will also be explored in relation to informed civic action as a practice relevant to Bates graduates regardless of the specific fields in which they are employed.

Concentrations and Major Information:

  • Major credit for Sociology
  • GEC credit: Class Inequity, Poverty and Justice (C008), Racisms (C041)

Class Meetings: M-Th 9-12, T 2-4

Biography of Lead Practitioner:

Saddlemire-Headshot 250

Craig Saddlemire ’05

Craig Saddlemire (’05) is the Cooperative Organizer for the Raise-Op Housing Cooperative, volunteer for the The Visible Community, and former Lewiston City Councilor for Ward 5. Since 2004, he has been deeply involved in community organizing and municipal politics in Lewiston, with a focus on housing, transportation, and urban redevelopment. In addition to his participation as an organizer and policymaker, Craig has also documented grassroots activism across the State of Maine through many paid and volunteer video projects. These videos have covered such issues as citizen lobbying in Augusta, federal healthcare reform, racial justice on college campuses, urban renewal, immigration, anti-war activism, homelessness, and LGBTQ rights. Craig has not only documented community organizing efforts with his video camera, he also regularly applies the principles of organizing to the way in which he produces community-based cinema. He graduated from Bates College with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Film Studies and from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an M.F.A. in Visual Art.

Biographies of Co-Instructors:

Sarah Standiford (’97) is Regional Field Manager with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where she assists the organizing, communications, policy, and political programs of Planned Parenthood affiliates and advocacy organizations throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic. She also lends tactical support and management to national and statewide electoral campaigns and legislative initiatives. From 2003-2011, Standiford served as Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby and the Maine Women’s Policy Center, organizations that promote policies to improve the lives of women and girls. She served on several commissions and held legislative and gubernatorial appointments in the areas of workforce development, economic security, and opportunity for women. Previously, she was Community Organizing Manager for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. A graduate of Bates College, Sarah lives in South Portland, Maine with husband, Jeff Fetterer.

Aditi Vaidya (’00) is a Program Officer with the Solidago Foundation and See Forward Fund, a national progressive social justice foundation and social justice fund respectively, where she manages the Economic Justice Program and related portfolios. She brings a wide range of experiences to her work including public policy management, public health, grassroots organizing, workforce and worker rights campaign advocacy, and coalition building around economic and environmental justice issues. Prior to her position at Solidago, Aditi worked with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) and Change to Win labor federation, where she served as Campaign and Coalition Director for the Oakland Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, a coalition of over 80 public health, environmental justice, labor, faith and community organizations promoting sustainable community economic development at the Port of Oakland.

Aditi has previously worked at the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, the Jenifer Altman Foundation, the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Her current non-profit and philanthropic Board and leadership experiences include being a Board member of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Worksafe, Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action, and a member of the Advisory Boards of CorpWatch and the Story of Stuff. She currently serves on the Coordinating Committee of the Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships of Neighborhood Funders Group. Aditi has a master’s in public health from Emory University and bachelor of science degree from Bates College.