Updated: Dec 14, 2020
If you don’t know what Public Affairs and Civic Engagement is, it is a non-partisan center where students can acquire information about their community and government. For 21 years, PACE has integrated civic and political engagement into Salisbury University’s curriculum. According to PACE Coordinator Michael Webber, data suggests that students become engaged in politics after taking a class with a civic engagement component. Resources are available so that any student will be actively involved in their community, no matter their political background. PACE provides more than information on the presidential election as it also provides outlets and opportunities for political civic engagement.
Through PACE resources you can become actively involved within governmental institutions and have your opinion heard through these governmental factions. PACE also provides information on upcoming elections at the local and state level; throughout, you have the ability to vote on a variety of issues that affect your daily life or have your opinion represented on legislative action regarding amendments, state representatives and local commissioners. Though, voting can be troublesome for college students who go to an out-of-state university, can’t return home during an election or live in a state where it is difficult to request a ballot. This is why PACE is an excellent resource for students to go to if they need guidance, and it is accessible. “The more convenient you make it for people, the more they end up voting. Election day typically falls around midterms for most people. It’s difficult to keep up with all the things they have to do to vote,” Webber mentioned. Webber also mentioned that PACE is capable of helping more students since the office is centralized. Having a place where all students feel comfortable coming to ask questions is important. For years it has been challenging to get students to participate in politics. It is not because students are uninterested, but they don’t have time to commit to participating in exercising their civic right to participate within local, state and federal elections. “Part of the mission of SU specifically, and higher education generally, is to promote and support informed and engaged democratic citizenship,” Dr. Alexander Pope mentioned. “That happens best when there are resources available, not just programs that students can participate in, though we offer those as well, but spaces where all members of the campus community can think about and work on ideas or problems associated with citizenship.” PACE is the best place to find accurate information about the government and influences others to have a dialogue about community issues. If you or someone else is still suffering from political apathy, it is crucial to remember politics do have an impact on your life. “Young people are really impacted by the outcomes of elections. You’ll be entering the workforce, buying homes [and] maybe starting families in a society that’s shaped by what happens,” Pope added. I believe that political education is necessary to include on-campus since it determines how we manage our country's future, even if you don’t think that every political decision you make for your community impacts your living standards. If you have any questions about how to get involved in your community, you can go to PACE’s homepage for further information: https://wwwnew.salisbury.edu/academic-offices/liberal-arts/pace/
By TAYLOR DAVIS
Photo credit: Salisbury University.