For most college students, this November represents their first opportunity to cast a vote for President of the United States. This is a notable moment in history where Millennials comprise the same one-fifth of eligible voters as Baby Boomers. And yet young people nationally appear substantially less engaged in this presidential election than in previous cycles. Certainly the deeply divisive discourse of this campaign, though far from unprecedented in our history, has repelled young people who tend to have weak partisan affiliations. But if this election increases political incivility and diminishes efficacy, our capacity to govern effectively and solve public problems will be diminished.
The School of Public Service takes citizenship, civic engagement, and civility seriously. This semester we have brought a series of events to the Boise State Campus to encourage students in a lifetime of citizenship. Patriotic Choices, presented by the Center for Idaho History and Politics, explores ways to solve real problems together. The films, lectures, debate watches and discussions are examining political courage and civil discourse and how they enhance the common good.
Our students are learning to put citizenship into practice. Some, as you’ll see below, are even serving our country overseas.
We invite you to read this month’s Public Interest to see just a few of the incredible things happening in the School of Public Service. We also hope you will consider making a donation to our efforts preparing students for careers serving our common good.
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University
Democracy a la mode. School of Public service Students volunteer (and eat pie)
On September 27, student volunteers from the School of Public Service joined volunteers from The Associated Students of Boise State University (the official student government at Boise State) for a National Voter Registration Day Event.
National Voter Registration Day is an effort to educate voters on how to register or re-register as well as an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate democracy and the rights that unite us as Americans.
One Team, One Fight
Cadet Grace Matlock of Boise State’s Army ROTC writes about her time Romania with the ROTC’s Cultural Understanding & Language Proficiency (CULP) Program. CULP’s immersion into foreign cultures exposes Cadets to the realities that other countries have vastly different lifestyles, economic standing and world perspective. CULP slots are awarded on a competitive basis and take into account several factors, such as GPA, physical fitness, language ability, and other pertinent selection criteria.
During my trip to Romania for CULP 2016, I was able to take away many valuable cultural competencies for my future leadership endeavors. Three main experiences that have helped shape my view of Romanian culture were the classes we shared with the navel cadets discussing our personal lives and our futures in the military, a dinner we shared with various teachers and directors at serval different maritime schools across Eastern Europe, and having the opportunity to be on board the training ship of the Romanian Naval Academy…
Through all of these different opportunities I was able to build my confidence in working with not only a different branch of the military, but also a different culture. During the entire mission, one main saying that kept coming to mind was “One team, One fight.” This is due to me realizing that even though the United States Army is a functional unit of the military, it is only one unit. We have to have multiple units working as a cohesive team to complete any joint operation. This experience helped shed light on that fact and showed in many different ways how one’s culture can influence one’s work. I am very thankful for this opportunity and hope to return to Romania in the future!
The 2016 Frank Church Conference
On Oct. 28, Boise State University’s Frank Church Institute will host its 33rd annual Frank Church Conference on public affairs. The conference will run from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Student Union Building’s Simplot Ballroom and will focus on the upcoming November elections with the theme “Politics and Prose: America Votes.” The conference is free and open to all students and the public. Keynote speakers will include former U.S. Representatives Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Tom Davis (R-Virginia), chairmen of the Democratic and Republican campaign committees, respectively. The congressmen, who co-authored the book “The Partisan Divide,” will speak on a panel moderated by former U.S. Rep. Larry LaRocco (D-Idaho).