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INDS 374.2 S1: “L.A. Stories: Exploring Neighborhoods”: Home

Welcome to INDS 374.2 S1 “L.A. Stories: Exploring Neighborhoods”

Welcome to INDS 374.2 S1 “L.A. Stories: Exploring Neighborhoods” 

Woodbury has established four pillars that drive our academic mission, and one of those pillars is civic engagement.  L.A. Stories is the perfect class to explore what non-profits there are in our neighborhoods to inspire you personally to become an engaged citizen of your community and to provide an easily accessible resource for Woodbury instructors for finding non-profits that their students can engage with.  For example, Elisabeth Sandberg is currently working with Taking the Reins, an organization in Atwater Village that empowers girls from twelve to eighteen through horsepower and their “seed to skillet” farming program. In the meantime, Jeanine Centuori’s architecture students are building four lathe structures for preparing seed, cooking, and selling the farm products.  Elisabeth’s students are interviewing a girl at Taking the Reins and an architecture student to make connections outside and within Woodbury.  

Information from Encyclopedia of Associations

From the Foreword of Encyclopedia of Associations (43rd edition):

The Value of Associations to American Society:

In a nation that always has encouraged individualism, Americans always have felt the need to belong. Driven by the knowledge that they can achieve more through group efforts than they can individually, Americans have made associations one of the most powerful forces in the United States today.

The enormous impact associations have on the life of each American every day cannot be overestimated. Reflecting the fact that nine out of ten Americans belong to at least one association, the activities undertaken by associations in the U.S. impart numerous social and economic benefits, including:

  • Educating their members and the public
  • Setting professional standards of conduct
  • Setting and enforcing product safety and quality standards
  • Stimulating and organizing volunteerism
  • Informing the public on key issues
  • Developing and disseminating information
  • Establishing forums for the exchange of information and ideas
  • Ensuring representation for private interests
  • Exercising and supporting political choice
  • Employing millions of Americans

Recent research conducted on behalf of the American Society of Association Executives reveals:

  • Nine of out ten Americans belong to an association; one out of four belongs to four or more associations.
  • 95% of associations offer education courses on technical and scientific matters, business practices, etc. to their members and the public.
  • Associations spend only about 10% of their revenues on political activities, with primary expenditures being professional development, printing and publishing and developing codes of ethics and professional and safety standards that govern a host of professions and disciplines tin this country.
  • Associations promote volunteerism, logging nearly 200 million volunteer hours in community service per year.


Despite the myriad ways associations advance America, they remain largely misunderstood and invisible. The work of associations is often done quietly and behind the scenes; public perceptions, therefore, vary widely about what associations are and the contributions they make. The examples that follow provide some general insight into the range and diversity of association contributions.


Educating Workers and the Public

Associations play a leading role in the education of the American workforce, making education perhaps their most important activity. By creating effective forums for the exchange of information and ideas within all industries and professions, associations often are in the forefront of significant technological discoveries and advancements that enrich the lives of all Americans.

Advancing Safety, Health, and Quality

Associations voluntarily set various standards that play a key role in protecting consumer safety and health and in helping ensure products meet measurable requirements for performance, quality, and even compatibility and interchangeability.

Aiding Professional Competence and Exemplary Conduct

Associations strengthen virtually every profession by establishing and enforcing professional standards and codes of ethics, augmenting the public's trust that professionals with identical titles deliver competent and similar services. While the seed of professional expertise is sown in undergraduate and graduate training and state licensing procedures, associations advance and nurture the professions by encouraging the peer review process, by offering courses that meet legal requirements, and by assuring standards that often form the basis for disciplinary action.

Unearthing New Data

Many institutions, including the federal government, depend heavily on associations for the statistical information they research, gather, and analyze. These research-related activities enable businesses and professions to function more efficiently and help identify important new directions for social improvements.

Reaching Out to Others

Mobilizing volunteers in areas of expertise tied closely to the trade, profession, or cause they represent, associations have united their members' talents to meet many pressing social or economic needs. In recent years, for example, associations have united their members' talents to promote literacy, find missing children, improve the condition of health care facilities, provide eye care to the poor, offer fire safety education, aid victims of natural disasters, administer medical care to the homeless, help the elderly file their tax returns, and help reduce a state budgetary deficit.

Since the infancy of the United States of America, the American reliance on associations to perform work for the benefit of all has increased rather than decreased and with it the scope, sophistication, and significance of association activities. All of us are the beneficiaries.

Subject Guide