March 27, 2013

Bring On the Commons to Your College Campus or Community

Raising awareness of the commons is crucial for our future

Contact us today at to learn how to bring us to your campus or community. We are eager to hear from you.

It has become increasingly clear that “business as usual” is failing us economically, ecologically and socially. Today people yearn for a world that is more collaborative, equitable and enjoyable. This is especially true for young people, and over the past two years On the Commons (OTC) has worked with professors on college campuses to raise student awareness of the opportunities offered by the commons.

“Jay Walljasper [OTC’s senior fellow] gave an inspiring talk to my students at Boston College—he was the perfect antidote to the pessimistic trends they were learning in our units on climate change, ecological overshoot, deforestation, water and agriculture,” says Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College. “Today’s college students are hungry for solutions and optimism, which Jay brings in spades.”

Beyond campus visits, OTC is also available for public talks, conferences, solutions labs, and other engagements focusing on the promise of the commons to create a more equitable, sustainable, and safe world. The commons are everything that rightfully belong to all of us, from water and public lands to knowledge, public places and the Internet. It is fundamentally about we power — people and communities sharing and protecting our commons for future generations.

“Here’s what people are saying about the impact of our campus and community visits.”:

We hope you consider bringing us to your campus or community for one or more of the opportunities listed below.

Campus Visits
On the Commons is regularly invited to college campuses to:

  • Give public addresses on the promise and practice of the commons today.

  • Speak as guest lecturers in classrooms, or to small groups of students and faculty, on how commons-based solutions can help shape a just and hopeful future.

  • Design and carry out campus residencies, exploring the prospects of the commons across many fields and sectors.

  • Meet with students and community members outside the school setting about practical ways to protect and advance the commons.

  • Work one-on-one with students who are deeply interested in the commons.

  • Initiate semester-long consultations with students working on commons-based projects.

  • Partner with college sponsors to create and lead a commons walking tour around campuses or communities.

  • Work with faculty to design commons syllabi. Examples of syllabi other commons leaders have created include:

Community Visits
On the Commons has been invited to communities to:

  • Speak at meetings and events and lead workshops, retreats, and classes on how to apply a commons-based framework to improve your community.

  • Host solutions labs where community leaders gather to learn ways of drawing on the commons to discover solutions to local problems.

  • Give public talks at community forums and conferences on the value of the commons today.

  • Partner with local authorities to create and lead commons walking tours around towns and cities.

  • Meet with neighborhood groups and community members to identify, name, claim, protect, and strengthen local commons.

“Here’s a list of our campus and community visits in 2011 and 2012.”:

Contact us today at for fees and availability. We’re excited to hear from you.

Featured Speaker — OTC Senior Fellow Jay Walljasper
OTC Senior Fellow Jay Walljasper, author of All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons, has been our primary liaison to college campuses. Walljasper’s past campus visits have included Boston College, University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Policy, Grinnell College, University of Iowa, Gustavus Adolphus College, Augsburg College, Truman State University, University of Minnesota College of Design, Winona State University, and Carleton College, Portland State University, and Whitman College.

In addition to being Senior Fellow at On the Commons, Walljasper is a Senior Fellow at Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Education and Citizenship and the former longtime editor of Utne Reader magazine. He is also the author of The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking.