Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Joelle Cheatem '15: Democracy Fellow

Follow Joelle Cheatem '15 this summer as he chronicles his experiences as a Democracy Fellow in Boulder, Colorado.  Check out Joelle's blog here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Save the date: Nov. 6

Photo from
Mitt Romney or Barack Obama: come Election Day, who will
you choose?

By Amanda Kelly

Every college student knows what it’s like to have two men vying for their affection.

Granted, these men are roughly the age of our parents, but they are doing all in their power to appeal to the young folk.

One had a great relationship with the youth in 2008 as 66% of 18 to 29-year-olds committed to him for what they hoped would be four years of change and hope for a better future. Four years into the relationship, however, and some young people have become disillusioned – perhaps it’s time for the break up.

A break-up is just what the other is hoping for. Sure, he still lags behind in popularity when it comes to the college aged students, but with a less than stellar economy and an unemployment rate for young Americans at a staggering 17.1%, perhaps it is time to see how a businessman can remedy an economic crisis.

Tougher than choosing between Team Peeta and Team Gale – we are called to choose between Team Barack and Team Mitt.

For the majority of college students, this is the first time we will have the opportunity to make such a choice – the first time we will be able to vote in a presidential election.

It is a right granted to us as citizens of the United States, but it is a right that many young people simply throw away.

When both Obama and Romney ask the American people to commit to a four-year relationship on November 6, 2012 only 56% of registered voters ages 18-29 plan to head to the polls or fill out that absentee ballot compared to 86% of voters over the age of 65, according to a Gallup poll taken this April.

The low turnout amongst young voters is far from new and young people remain one of the nation’s most unreliable voting demographics.

Still, despite the capricious nature of the youth vote, the Obama and Romney campaigns continue their efforts to attract young voters by leveraging their futures – specifically the prospect of finding a job after graduation or subduing the escalating mountain of student loan debt.

The presidential candidates understand the importance of youth voters, but it seems that the youth don’t understand their own importance.

I often hear friends or other students on campus mutter how they ‘don’t care about politics,’ or that they’re not planning to vote because they ‘don’t really know anything about it.’

Well, kids, that’s on you.

It’s not easy to be an informed citizen. You’re not going to wake up one day and possess a fully formed opinion on the merits and demerits of the Romney-Ryan budget plan.

Understanding the issues takes effort, but thanks to the wonders of social media, less effort than perhaps of years past.

Follow news sources on Twitter and Facebook and follow the candidates themselves. Read about or listen to what they have to say about the issues that are most important to you in order to ultimately decide which candidate will best help you (and the country) to achieve success in the future.

Yes, this may be adding a bit of extra work into your busy schedules, but it does legitimize spending hours refreshing your Twitter feed.

Still, Gaels, you’re lucky- lucky to be on a campus with faculty and students who have worked hard to develop initiatives geared specifically toward educating Iona students of the important issues surrounding the election.

From now until Election Day, Gaels can register to vote on campus, learn about the effects of the Affordable Care Act and read blog posts by their peers regarding everything Obama and Romney.

So Gaels, for the next two months, watch some Stewart and Colbert, attend election focused campus events and learn about the candidates.

Come Nov. 6, be prepared to voice your opinion for the man with whom America should choose to spend the next four years of her life.

This post was originally published in the September 6, 2012 issue of The Ionian

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Iona College Election Initiatives

The Iona College Community has launched two important election year initiatives.

The We the People Citizenship Initiative brings together student focused programs to raise awareness surrounding local, national, and global issues exploring them in an atmosphere of collegiality with the intent of encouraging members of the Iona community to practice engaged and responsible citizenship.  This series is geared toward the 2012 election and engaging students, faculty, and staff on issues of citizenship beyond just casting a vote.

Sponsored by: The Department of Political Science and the Office of Student Development with the Student Government Association, Democracy Matters, Model United Nations, Edmund Rice Society, Tara Knights Society, IC Green, Offices of Off-Campus Housing, Campus Ministries, and Mission Integration.

Faithful Citizenship.  Get Informed.  Go Public.

This series invites faculty and administration and students and guest experts to address the complex problems we face as a nation in Election Year 2012, and importantly, to model citizenship as a process of engagement with one another and the political process.  The call-to-action for Faithful Citizenship is to join together in the task of charting a way forward for our society in a manner that upholds public life as everyone's moral responsibility.

We the People

Faithful Citizenship