ZSR was invited to present to the AmeriCorps VISTA and Summer Associates on Friday, July 14. The WFU Office of Civic and Community Engagement is home to the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) project where students partner with community organizations and make commitments as civil servants and change agents in Winston-Salem. Friday’s group included 20 students from the 12-month VISTA and the nine-week Summer Associate programs. Students from both programs are concluding their work with the Shalom Project, Piedmont Environmental Alliance (PEA), Second Harvest of NWNC, Parenting Path, and Crosby Scholars to name a few.

Pseudoscience in the Wild

This interactive session included instruction defining Mis-, Dis-, and Malinformation as functions of Pseudoscience and the many examples presenting themselves through social media and news organizations. An overview of the history of misinformation was included as well as a rendition of “Which One is It?!,” a knowledge check via Poll Everywhere where students were asked to view real headlines from 1980 to today and determine if it was Mis-, Dis-, or Malinformation. Human vulnerabilities to information evaluation were addressed. Although we could not possibly cover them all in 75 minutes, examples of our fears and skepticisms, influencers, communities, and stories were discussed to exemplify just how easy it may be to fall victim to inaccurate information. The session concluded with next steps for combatting forms of pseudoscience and a social media activity which reinforced hands-on lateral reading practices.

Big thanks to Amanda Alston, Assistant Director of Community Partnerships, for inviting ZSR to be a part of this great program. We’re looking forward to more opportunities to interact with VISTA students!