STOak is a yearlong course that begins in the spring semester with a deep-dive into understanding Oakland’s past and present, with an emphasis on social movements. STOak is hands-on, with a mix of structured course work, field trips, group discussions, and independent research. Topics include social change through community-based research, systems thinking, leadership strategies, non-profit organizational structures, and local government. Students research the social, political, and economic landscape of their focus topic while learning the professional conduct they will practice in their summer internships at community-based organizations.
The core of the program is a six-week, full-time summer internship in the wider Oakland community within organizations working towards social or environmental justice. Students are paired with mentors to learn about how the organization operates and to support their mission. The program concludes in the fall when students share their experiences with one another and prepare a formal presentation for the wider College Prep community.
Past STOak research topics and community partners include:
- Acta Non Verba A youth-oriented urban farm and education organization addressing food deserts in East Oakland
- Alameda County Supervisor Working alongside the Supervisor, focusing on issues of illegal dumping and racial justice
- Assemblymember Office Supporting community engagement and meetings
- Bay Area Regional Health Inequalities Initiative Working with Bay Area public health departments to understand and take action on health disparities
- California Youth Connection Supporting work with California foster youth and organizing a major annual meetup
- Destiny Arts An arts education non-profit whose mission is violence prevention and community building
- East Bay Sanctuary Covenant Supporting asylum seekers and refugees in their application process to the US
- Everyone Home A nonprofit focusing on ending homelessness through research and funding of community organizations
- Oakland City Administrators’ Office Working alongside City officials, primarily on issues of homelessness
- Oakland Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement Working to support community initiatives
- Urban Strategies Council Research and advocacy, especially in criminal justice reform
- REAP Center Focuses on climate science, including permaculture and regenerative soil practices
- Save the Bay Working with public programs to protect and restore the Bay for people and wildlife