Lecturer Calvin Welch's Class Uses Local Issues as Political Science Lab

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Photo of Calvin Welch
Calvin Welch

KQED NEWS -- “I was a little naive” back in 2008, she says. “I was just very, very enthusiastic and optimistic, and probably a little bit unrealistic.”

But Gibson says she has not given up on politics as a means of change. After 2008, she went on to become a Political Science major at San Francisco State. Now she says she’s more engaged with local campaigns, where she feels like she can make a bigger impact. That led her to take Calvin Welch’s course on San Francisco politics and history. Welch, a longtime housing activist in the city, has been teaching the course for 16 years.

“Kids are really hungry for history of redevelopment, of urban renewal,” Welch says. “But no one has ever explained it to them.” He says many students are like Gibson: excited by Obama, let down by national politics and now interested in local issues — which, he says, young people really get into once they learn about them.