On Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, Project Pericles hosted the Debating for Democracy (D4D) “On the Road” workshop on Elon’s campus.
Christopher Kush, CEO of Soapbox Consulting taught students, faculty and community members how to have their voices heard by politicians. Students explored their roles as activist citizens and discussed how their generation could participate in a democratic society.
A major focus of the workshop was to teach attendees how to get politicians and others to see things their way. One attendee said the workshop, “Ignited a more activist attitude in me,” while another stated, “We practiced skills that are doable and also meaningful. We learned how to do things that are easy but can also make an impact.”
Students learned how to write political letters, what to say at a town meeting, how to analyze a legislative bill, and how to persuade the media to cover an issue satisfactorily. “You can tell me all day long to write to my senators, but if I don’t know how to write a letter, I never will” one student wrote on their evaluation form.
Aaron Peeks, coordinator for Elon’s D4D program, appreciated the opportunity to bring together like-minded people who are interested in becoming more involved citizens. “It was great for students to interact with other passionate students and share their ideas with one another,” Aaron stated.
Students who did not have the opportunity to attend the conference are encouraged to submit legislative proposals for the opportunity to win $500 for their organization on campus. If you would like more information on this event, the legislative proposal competition, or future events hosted by Debating for Democracy please contact Jennifer Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the workshop provided attendees with specific skills that they can use now, the hope is that the skills learned will last a lifetime. “I think it is important to learn how to approach those who represent you in government in order to express your needs and to realize that that these skills are something that every student will use in their lifetime” stated Daniel Jaber, a conference attendee.