ETHS Civics Fair aims to encourage student engagement outside the classroom

Sophia Siddiqui, Staff Writer

ETHS’s Hub was closed off on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Jan. 25, to make room for the yearly Civics Fair. Hundreds of Evanston sophomores took part to learn about and interact with civic engagement organizations throughout the community. 

This was the event’s sixth year, with over 50 not-for-profit organizations attending to share their experiences and educate civics students. Attendees were instructed to find a group that interested them, then discuss the organization’s mission, volunteer opportunities, and goals for seven minutes. After the time was up, host, emcee, and ETHS civics teacher Andrew Ginsberg announced it was time to switch groups. Students moved between the Indo American Center, local government organizations, the League of Women Voters and more. 

One such group was Rainbows for All Children, a nonprofit organization based in Evanston that aims to help children and teens aged three through 18 through grief after any type of loss. Representing Rainbows at the fair was development manager Blair Findlay. 

“We attended the Civics Fair to spread the word about our mission and get ETHS students involved, whether they are interested in joining a Rainbows group or volunteering with us,” Findlay said. “We came to the fair to give students an opportunity to take their civics experience out of the classroom and into the real world.”

As a part of their required civics course, students attended the fair to find that real world experience. 

“I learned quite a bit about the organizations that I could help in,” said sophomore Mira Hasiba. “It was a great learning opportunity.”

Learning about civics outside of the classroom is the goal of the fair, Ginsberg agreed. 

“I think that the Civics Fair can make a lot of the concepts from civics class seem more real for the students. One of my critiques of our educational system is that we do too much desk work and don’t have enough experiential learning.”

Despite the overall success of the event, there were some suggestions for improvement submitted by students. 

“I would make it so that students would not be rushed to find a new station to sit at and to just take our own time and switch when we finish,” Hasiba said. 

Ginsberg hopes to be able to update the fair based on student input.

“My students made some very interesting suggestions, which we will need to consider as we plan the Civics Fair next year,” said Ginsberg.