Wanted: First-Time Voters
In her column for Forbes, President Mariko Silver writes about how to channel the concern, energy, and improvements in electoral turnout into lasting civic engagement.
From the Forbes article:
"Historically, we’ve viewed college as a cloistered intellectual undertaking, a preparatory retreat before entering the real world. But this generation is steeped in real-world concerns long before they start filling out college applications. They are already engaged in discussions about sexual consent, college affordability, and racial injustice. College shouldn’t be a departure from those discussions but an extension of them.
In a recent New York Times story, several of the gun reform activists from Parkland, Florida discussed their decision to delay college in order to continue their advocacy. Their comments reflect a broader belief that students have a binary choice between addressing real-world problems now or advancing their academic goals in school. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Many colleges want students just like the Parkland advocates: young people who care deeply about something and arrive on campus with a fire inside of them. Colleges with relevant coursework and channels for engagement can help direct that fire toward material solutions. Those channels can be politically agnostic, issue-blind tools that empower students across the political spectrum. The value of these experiences extends beyond advancing students’ issue-related goals. They can also help develop critical life skills for dealing with complex problems, including collaborating with diverse groups, adapting to challenges, and following through even when the work is arduous and slow. Civic learning can embody the fundamental skills students need to succeed in the world."
Civic learning can embody the fundamental skills students need to succeed in the world.
President Mariko Silver