Staff Editorial: IGC: It's generally confusing

By The Mac Weekly Staff

Have you ever googled the acronym “IGC?” Even just for fun?
It’s silly, of course. The “answers” – Imperial Gun Company, Intergovernmental Conference and In Good Condition among them – don’t provide any actual answers. But neither have Macalester’s leaders regarding our IGC, the Institute for Global Citizenship.

Today, members of the national advisory committee to the two-year-old Institute will come together for their first on-campus meeting. The meeting has been billed in part as a way of familiarizing committee members with the Institute.

Perhaps while they’re at it, the deans of the Institute could likewise familiarize students with the organization and the building that will house it.

There are lots of good unanswered questions about the Institute. There can be little doubt, however, about the first among them: What the hell is it?
Yes, we have a great deal of information about the organization’s structure – its near-immediate identification as a priority upon the arrival of President Brian Rosenberg, the oft expressed desire to combine many existing Macalester institutions under one roof, the addition of a Student Advisory committee to the Institute this past spring.

We know the total cost of the proposed new building for the Institute is currently estimated at $7.5 million.

We’ve heard that the Institute is a way-or as Rosenberg argued in his 2005 “World Class” document on Macalester’s future, the way-for Macalester to “embody, advance, and publicize its distinctive mission.”

We’ve seen the Institute as an ideological, academic and professional platform for faculty or administrators, as suggested by the prominence of Dean Professor Andrew Latham’s White Paper on civic engagement as a framing document on the Institute’s web site.

We’ve wondered whether the Institute is simply a means of enhancing the opportunities for students within college institutions that are now “part” of the Institute, such as International Studies Department or the Civic Engagement Center.

But how will the Institute for Global Citizenship benefit all students in a concrete, inclusive and critical way? Saying it will make us “global citizens” without saying how and without defining the term isn’t enough.
We take it as a matter of course that such an institution will have to be relevant to students of various interests in order to succeed. But first, it will have to make itself known to them.