USL is a school that explores elections and the democratic process by keeping up-to-date with current events, hearing from a variety of candidates, learning about different parties, and analyzing issues of governance and civics. These experiences shape our program and are revisited every academic year to develop mindful students who will think for themselves, do their own research about the issues of the day, and ultimately become active citizens who uplift their communities. USL consistently hosts and interviews many of the candidates running for office and teaches about the history of voting rights in America. Our yearly exit polling project, held every Election Day, where we poll voters at precincts across the Lowcountry allows students to see turnout and popular vote first hand. After polling, we return to campus and compile data as a learning activity about mathematics, statistics, and the democratic process. The final calculations enable students to make informed predictions of election results. We repeat this practice every year to help students see societal constructs that shape our election process. We’ve reflected on the fact that although municipal elections most directly affect the lives of citizens, voter turnout is typically 20% or less. Our learning objective is that through this practice of Learning by Doing, our students will feel empowered to be leaders in elevating public discourse in our country to become active participants in the civic arena.
United Way Day Of Caring
University School of the Lowcountry has taken part in the Trident United Way's (TUW) Day of Caring for the past 12 years. This national community service effort powerfully resonates in the Charleston area: the TUW chapter has traditionally had some of the largest number of projects and volunteers among all United Way chapters, twelve years running. For the November 2019 event, University School created teams with over 100 students, faculty, parents, alumni, and alumni parents, for thirteen projects -- for approximately 600 hours of collective service!
In order to be better informed citizens of the community and the world, University School students learn first hand about faiths by going to 4-5 houses of worship each year to explore and talk to adherents of that religion. We end the First Semester each year with our Winter Exploration of Faiths so students can learn about different faiths and specific congregations and communities along with their rich histories. Talking with and making connections to our hosts affords students a first-hand understanding of the people and the religion.