Upstander projects: Making a Change


RB sophomore Upstanders of 2017 rise to make a change, raising awareness to current local and global social and environmental issues.

The Upstander Projects are projects assigned by a few sophomore english teachers, encouraging their students to research social issues and then apply their research to making a constructive contribution to their topic.

“[We are] better[ing] the society in our own individual ways,” said sophomore Upstander, Analiz Nunez.

Students brainstormed ways to draw attention to their topics, ranging broadly. Sophomore honors english teacher, Bridget Wilmot, assigned her students to begin by researching their topic, and then figure ways to raise awareness.

“There are a variety of projects: some who are fundraising, some who are holding drives, some are volunteering, some are creating events, some are building websites. That’s most of it at least,” said Wilmot.

Nunez’s group chose a topic RB students themselves could possibly be affected by and relate to.

“[We chose] stigma against homophobia and how parents don’t teach their children about it,” said Nunez.

Similarly to the Upstander projects, John Izaguirre, a sophomore honors english teacher, draws attention to global social and environmental issues through his Fight the Power projects.

“[My students] are “fighting the power” on a topic that no one is talking about and want to shine a light on,” said Izaguirre.

Topics widely range from internet safety to body shaming, homeless veterans to human trafficking.

His students have a week and a half to complete their research, and are assigned to build a presentation for their class. Each group teaches the class about their topic for a full period. Later on, students design creative and artistic works, such as posters, to draw attention to their topics.

“The research, the presentation, and then making something creative are all parts of the project,” said Izaguirre. “There’s bits and pieces for every student, so they can all get involved in some way.”

Students get involved and become passionate about their topics. Izaguirre explained that once students begin researching an issue, the more passionate they become to wanting to resolve it.

“This helps students become socially aware of what’s going on in the [world they are living in and] should really know about,” said Izaguirre.