Many students are involved in several extra-curriculer activities on campus and in the city’s community. Early this semester, another extracurricular activity was added to Dillard’s campus life. The President’s office of Dillard University, initiated the non-profit organization, Project Pericles, under the direction of Dr. Gary Clark, associate professor of political science.
Project Pericles is a national organization and is founded on liberal arts colleges and universities.
Dr. Clark the director of the organization said that he is excited to take action in this project. Dillard University was added to Project Pericles’ national members list this year. Clark said that students and faculty are mainly involved in the project but others all welcomed.
According to the project’s official world website, Project Pericles encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus and in the community.
This learning experience is intended to provide students with a foundation for social and civic involvement and a conviction that democratic institutions and processes offer each person the best opportunity to improve the condition of society. Project Pericles is constituted to facilitate, inspire and advocate
Many students said that Clark is a qualified individual to serve as director of the project. Because of Clark’s persistence, determination and enthusiasm, the organization will be interesting and exciting.
"The goal of Project Pericles involves civic engagements, learning how to be good citizens, learning the value of political participation and social responsibilities," said Clark. Project Pericles activities have included students working on political campaigns that include door to door canvassing.
The director of Dillard’s Project Pericles said that he encourages his political science students to get more involved in political activities. Clark’s political parties course is a Project Pericles course, which he teaches this semester at Dillard. Most of Clark’s political science students are affiliated with the new project.
African Americans are known for not exercising their rights and not being politically aware, according to some Dillard students.
"With this new organization on campus, maybe more students will participate in political activities and events. It might also motivate certain students to speak their minds," said business management major, Esther Mathews.
A week after the presidential elections, Clark’s Political Parties class conducted a forum regarding political participation and party affiliation. "The forum will examine student’s attitudes and values regarding their political party identification and participation," Clark said.
This activity and other open discussion events will get students involved in public policy regarding local, national and international issues, according to Clark.
"This is a project which is naturally within the social science division in general and the political science department in particular on Dillard’s campus. This also applies on other campuses," said the director of Project Pericles.
According to Clark, the visit of Rev. Al Sharpton reflects what Project Pericles seeks to do and that is to have active political and social engagements.
Dr. Clark has maintained high standards and rapport with students, faculty and staff during his teaching career. With many years of experience and teaching at Spellman College, Xavier University, Southern University A & M, Southern University of New Orleans and Dillard University, the Pre-Alumni Council awarded Clark "professor of the year 2003-2004"for his commitment to student achievement and success.
He is also the Burton Hilton endowed professor in political science. The Burton Hilton allows the professor to travel and do expanded research on issues of his [Clark] research interest.
The professor said that he "sees an active and engaged campus of students who are socially and politically aware. I can not stress this enough. I see incremental growth as a whole in terms of their political and social awareness on the campus that students can experience campus and community debates and forums," said Clark.